The Futility of Heroism

herc

The idea of the Hero is a misunderstood notion occluded with a hidden deception – a power and revenge fantasy that requires one to hope and wait for the arrival of a savior to solve one’s problems. Thus the arrival of a hero implies and reinforces the enslavement and powerlessness of the saved – instead of one requiring to take self-directed action to assist and support one’s self.

Have you noticed Hollywood’s endless dedication to the superhero blockbuster movie over the past 20 years? Time for another Avengers movie. Soon, Star Wars and a Superman – Batman film coming down the pike. It seems the continuous recycling of cinematic renditions of  extraordinary beings is perhaps the safest bet for making a huge profit in the movie industry today, in so much that it has successfully tapped into the mass psychology of the American public, who generally feel more disempowered, alienated  and disconnected from having to exist within a world of constant existential anxiety. The meaning of the superhero offers much cathartic relief, if for a moment.

I voraciously consumed comic book and their stories of superheroes as a child, although as I became older, I found myself more fascinated by the various artists like Neal Adams, Gil Kane and Jim Aparo who drew the comics than being fascinated by the exploits of the superheroes themselves. Being a comic book artist at one time seemed like a fun and interesting way to make a living, so I thought at the time. When the first superhero movies began to appear in major Hollywood blockbuster fashion such as the Superman, Batman and Spider-Man movies of the past 20 years or so, I saw that there existed definite problems in translating the genre into film. The ideas of grown men donning these costumes and using violence against others to solve problems were… it must be said, kinda silly.

However, all people have an ancient, built-in tuner for a good story. Especially if it features a good hero-figure. From Gilgamesh to Krishna to Hercules to Jesus Christ, the tale of the hero always seems to satisfy that emptiness inside us that we desperately want to fill in with the hope that things will turn out okay for us. Or at least that someone, something or somehow or someway – things will work out. The hero is the anthropomorphic stand-in for our hopes and dreams being fulfilled by something that must always exist outside of us. But this embodied figure of hope – as typified as the “hero,” is based on the cruelest of self-delusions, because to give into such a fantasy, one has to abandon the center of power within one’s self. One has to become enslaved to the idea of being saved by a savior.

The Hero can be described as a figure who swoops in unexpectedly armed with the ability to solve another’s problem. Some believe that the Hero is a figure that possesses supernal qualities or gifts that normal people don’t possess. In ancient Greece, ancestral worship may have given rise to the phenomenon of the hero cult. The Athenian legislator Draco (c. 600 BCE) introduced a written code of laws to replace the tradition of oral law to be used in court. Due to the severe and harsh nature of the laws he authored, for instance, the theft of a single head of cabbage could result in death penalty for the thief) the term “draconian” has been passed down to us to describe such unforgiving and extremely punitive legal qualities. However, one of Draco’s strictures was the official establishment of hero-cult worship in Athens. The most important thing about the hero was not so much of how he or she lived, but rather in the hero’s death. Thus ancient hero shrines were erected that were venerated and thought to provide supernatural protection to the local community of worshippers. There is a reason why this fascination of the hero exists: people have no faith within themselves to face life and overcome challenges that confront them.  They would rather wait and hope for deliverance from another.

Not all challenges are created equal, however. Most people in the world believe that all they have to hold onto is a belief and a hope for something better will come along, or that somehow “things will work out” on their own, or someone or some God will deliver them out of their problems. It is certainly understandable. And it is certainly understandable that most people in the world have suffer at such an unbearable level of pain, despair and anxiety that even all hope for something better is driven out of them. But for those who are stable enough to carry on, the lure of the arrival of the hero is an intoxicating delusion that only fuels self-suppression and fantasies of revenge.

This fantasy of revenge is seen very clearly in religious dramas and doctrine. I had a hard time understanding why it was so easy for modern-day African Americans to continue to follow the Christian religion, which according to my sensibilities is the official religion of the legacy of White European slave trade. The answer came to me while reading Flannery O’Connor’s novella Wise Blood, where the protagonist Hazel Motes in public preaching display of defiance in his utter rejection of his traumatic Christian upbringing , repeatedly spits out this scornful declaration: “Jesus is just a trick on niggers.” It is an extremely cultural loaded throwaway line that at first glance sounds like racist nihilism, but reveals the genius of O’Connor’s understanding of the demented religious ethos of the Southern gothic, for within it there exists the key in understanding the religious methodology of one race subjugating another via Christian mind control by instilling a hopeless revenge fantasy of divine proportions, endless versions which I heard repeatedly as a child through endless Sunday sermons –  how “the first will be the last” and how God’s Justice will descend on the evil-doers (code for the White man generally) and reward His faithful followers (and servants). It is telling that despite the precipitous decline of religious affiliation in America (as reported by the latest Pew study), Christianity still enjoys a strong and consistent support among African-Americans. It isn’t surprising. Historically, preaching the Gospel was one of a few occupations African-American men were allowed to have.

In this reading, God is the Ultimate “Hero.” But in order to accept the savior, first you have to accept your suffering, enslavement, powerlessness and repression indefinitely in this life before you can attain cosmic, Heavenly peace in the after-life. You have to die first before you can be redeemed. One must always await the arrival of the Hero (Christians have been waiting in vain for over 2000 years) – which is to say – one must always seek first the Kingdom of Righteousness and Glory in one’s powerlessness,  suppression and death. Jesus is considered a hero because as a God, he sacrificed himself and became a martyr, which is a form of senseless suicide.

Of course, it is difficult to attain the realization that such a self-delusion that can only exist within the deceptions and meaninglessness of one’s imagination – because no real solution to anyone’s problem can be “fixed” by another – and certainly no solution can exist where there is no self-realization, or self-responsibility, or self-honesty, or self-movement, or self-direction or self-acceptance inside one’s self. One has to be an active participant within all that or give in to further enslavement, abuse and deception. 

Can it be that one’s successful triumph over one’s own self-limitations is the only heroic act possible? Attempting to place one’s self in a mental flowery bed that “feels good” or the seeking of “happiness” leads down the path of self-deception, separation and enslavement.

Handle with care anyone who presents themselves to you as a hero. They don’t really want to save you. What they really want is to take you for a ride.

Law of Attraction, Part 19: Conclusion – Attraction or Stimulation?

stimulation or attraction

We come to the conclusion of our survey of the history of the spirituality – based idea called, the Law of Attraction. It has taken us many centuries to observe and follow its stages of development and form within the various eras, cultures and perspectives from many important figures from ancient times to the present day. We have learned how the Law of Attraction is explained as a magnetic force where ‘like attracts like’ is theorized  as a metaphysical law. The idea behind the Law of Attraction is to mentally draw to yourself prosperity and wealth, since that is what God apparently wants you to do. Prosperity and good health is considered a sign of one’s self-realization and spiritual growth (an idea promoted within the New Thought movement beginning in the late 1880s) . Manifesting a positive outcome for yourself through using the power of your mind, feelings and emotions is the secret to make all your dreams come true.

Prosperity Consciousness, is particularly as it has been marketed in America, has long been an interest of people looking for tangible ways to succeed in their lives. Books by Napoleon Hill, especially, “Think and Grow Rich” and Wallace Wattle’sThe Science of Getting Rich” has sold millions of copies. These books promote the power of Positive Thinking, faith and affirmations as key components for becoming a success in life, and are still amazingly popular. “The Science of Getting Rich” was first published in 1910, and has remained in print to this day. Positive thinking techniques, will power, creative visualization and the mental science approach to health was applied by Wattle to give readers the key into attracting wealth.

William Walker Anderson was a prolific New Thought author and editor and is credited with coining the term the “Law of Attraction.’ He writes in his book, Thought Vibration or the Law of Attraction in the Thought World“:

“We speak learnedly of the Law of Gravitation, but ignore that equally wonderful manifestation, THE LAW OF ATTRACTION IN THE THOUGHT WORLD. We are familiar with that wonderful manifestation of Law which draws and holds together the atoms of which matter is composed – we recognize the power of the law that attracts bodies to the earth, that holds the circling worlds in their places, but we close our eyes to the mighty law that draws to us the things we desire or fear, that makes or mars our lives.

The primary equation that the Law of Attraction rests upon is the metaphysical claim that thought equals energy. This is an ancient philosophical and spiritual formula based on the assertion that the manifested universe has been created through an ineffable cosmic consciousness or “divine mind.” In his book, Atkinson lays it out this way:

When we come to see that Thought is a force – a manifestation of energy – having a magnet-like power of attraction, we will begin to understand the why and wherefore of many things that have heretofore seemed dark to us. There is no study that will so well repay the student for his time and trouble as the study of the workings of this mighty law of the world of Thought – the Law of Attraction.

Could this be true? On what verifiable foundation is this claim by Atkinson resting upon? Are there any other possible explanations why the Law of Attraction should be considered more than a pseudoscientific theory?

For Bernard Poolman, there is another explanation that seems far more plausible. Poolman was a noted businessman, author and spiritual practitioner who said he had worked with his own spirit guides and mentors before questioning the entire framework and effectiveness of the spiritual activities he once engaged in. After decades of investigation, he offered this conclusion which I share here:

So, existence exists as One Word. This is the Revelation that will be proven that existence exists. Within common sense you can work it out now – that existence exists as One Word: Stimulation.

Energy is never real, because Energy only exists when there is stimulation and the stimulation is always external and I mean if you or another person Stimulate the point and you Simulate it – that means you’re accepting it – you’re gonna have an experience, an elation in that relationship that elation is your Joy, your Love, everything. Love by itself doesn’t exist! It requires stimulation – that’s why no-one can actually stand for Life, because you want Life to be ‘unconditional’. Why do you want it unconditional? So that you can have Choice. So that you can have the choice? to be stimulated the way you want to. Bugger everyone else! It doesn’t matter what’s happening to them, they have the same power. They have Choice! They have Chosen to be Here – the fact that they’re in a country where there is no food – has got nothing to do with me! I mean, they can, they must plant something, I mean, they must not starve. I’m quite happy this side, I’m Stimulated! I know they’re not stimulated, but that’s not my problem! While I’m stimulated, I am not even aware of their existence – which is so wonderful! Please, stimulate me, then I don’t have to worry about anyone else! Just keep me stimulated!

But what about the all of these religious, philosophical and spiritual masters who claim that the Law of Attraction is a real, objective, magnetizing force operating in existence?

 They will not explain to you how reality practically works or why it doesn’t work. They will stimulate you to have an experience and tell you to not worry about reality. Christianity is doing that, the Muslims are doing that, the Hindus, every Religion are doing one thing: that is stimulating you not to care about what is going on in Reality, and it’s Stimulating you to worry about what happens to you AFTER you are DEAD. 

The Masters did the same. Did they really Master anything? There is not a Master in existence that’s mastered anything. The Masters mastered the way to stimulate their followers effectively to become mentally incapable of realising what is Here. Incapable of making any movement to actually care for Earth. That’s why we’ve created a Consumerism System.

In Spite of all the Great Masters that’s ever been on Earth – what have we done? We have not moved, we have not evolved. What is evolution at this stage? Evolution depends on Stimulation. Stimulated on how to become ‘more’. “I’m evolving! I am more Intelligent!’

Have a look – take your stimulation away, what happens to you? You’ll find you go into a depression, you go into a boredom, and you’re unable to get out unless you stimulate yourself – which is what? You’re experiencing the system dying because it’s not being stimulated. That’s what you’re experiencing when you’re in a depression and when you’re in a form of boredom – you’re experiencing the absence of stimulation!

And then you start searching and suddenly the next moment you “meet someone.” The ONE that can stimulate you. And immediately your whole body is on fire = “I’m stimulated. Please stimulate me – I don’t mind! I’ll exist as long I’m being stimulated.

That is the whole point where everyone is existing. Because what do you want? You want to be stimulated. “Give me enough stimulation and I will exist, I’m satisfied. As long as that stimulation is to my approval, the way I like it,  I’ll be Happy.

Let it not be the way I like it, and I want to discard it – I’m not Stimulated by this.” I mean, this is just not acceptable. “I want to be stimulated like THIS! I have CHOICE! I can CHOOSE how I want to be stimulated. This is the way I want to be stimulated. And that’s all I’ll accept.”

You will not move unless you’re stimulated. Which means stimulation is your God. Whosoever stimulates you, controls you.[1]

Money is what? Stimulation.

Without stimulation you will not move. Motivation is really just a nice word for stimulation.

So what is the Law of Attraction, really? 

It’s the Law of Stimulation. Everybody now gets together and stimulate each other to Focus on the Positive! So now, the positive cannot exist without the negative, you automatically stimulate the negative. Which is perfectly fitting into the End Times – which is the perfection of the whole point of being stimulated according to a particular book and a particular prophecy so that it can become true. Why was it written? To make sure you create it!

Therefore you are Stimulating the End of Existence through what? Stimulating the Law of Attraction. How do you do it? By creating the Absolute Positive Polarity and holding it in place – no matter what! So that the Absolute Negative Polarity can Manifest, because you are Stimulating both! They cannot exist Separate from each other.

Light and Darkness exists together.

Positive and Negative exist together. Because the very moment something moves through stimulation, both Positive and Negative exist. Positive and Negative requires Stimulation to exist. Without Stimulation neither positive or negative exist. Now within the Law of Attraction, we are stimulating the Positive and the Negative, and we say “Law of Attraction.” “Let’s think Positive!” –   which is, “Let’s Stimulate the Positive.”

So now we Stimulate Positive, Stimulate Positive, Stimulate Positive – I mean, you have to do it, and do it, and do it, and that it takes all of your attention, all your stimulation. stimulating it, stimulating it, stimulating – but what are you actually creating? You’re creating the stimulation which you use up  – while in waiting is the negative, waiting to be activated once the stimulation crashes, once the stimulation can no longer stand. And what manifests the negative? BAM! In one singular moment – we call it = ‘an Act of God!’ – because in a single moment, God wiped out existence. But you’ve stimulated it to be a single moment. While positive stimulation took you a long time – it was not instantaneous – it took a long time – you built up the negative to manifest itself in a single moment.

So, existence in a single moment will change through the negative, because that’s how it has been created. Which is why a market crash for instance, is something that happens fast, while a positive market is something that builds very slow. The positive is always very slow, because no one understands the Principle of Stimulation.

If this sounds like a hard teaching, it is. Bernard Poolman liked to say he was not a “guru,” but “here to bring Uhuru!” What should those of us who bought into the whole program of believing in the Law of Attraction do? How do we move beyond past our present understanding that the law of stimulation is in fact the operating princile within human consciousness under the guise of “attraction.”

Forgive all the stimulations, because the stimulations are your addictions. They are based in geometrical patterns. The Sacred Geometry! I mean, isn’t it beautiful? If we can paint a beautiful picture about Sacred Geometry so that we can justify our stimulations which is our addictions to specific stimulations that makes us “special.”

Test the shit out for yourself and stimulate it yourself to see how it works. Then find out whether you’re justified in stimulating something for your pleasure without making sure that this part of Existence that is there as you as another being – who is actually understanding what the fuck they’re doing, and what they get themselves in for and that it is possible to exist without stimulation.

We’ve existed only through stimulation.

We have not existed as Life in fact.

Life is Here. Life does not require stimulation, Life doesn’t have a Beginning or an End. Life has been stimulated into illusions and being abused as these illusion called ‘Man’ and  ‘Nature’. Everything that exists as a system is an illusion! Because the system is not aware of itself and how it functions. It is not aware how it is stimulated to get a result. You are not aware of all the points that stimulate you – have a look. You are living according to those points of Stimulation in your life that you like.

Everything in your Life exists as One Word. Who you are, is who you are right now because of how you’ve been stimulated to be. Everything you believe, every religion and every book you read is a point of stimulation. Every philosophy that exists is a point of simulation. The totality of Science is an observation of stimulation. Science is nothing extraordinary! It is people that are stimulated to watch stimulation – and according to that, they write down within their own observation of stimulation. That we call, Science! Isn’t it wonderful? It’s Profound! We’ve worked out Reality!

I mean, it’s One Word: Stimulation.

Note

[1] One of the books housed at the famous Nag Hammadi Library, “On the Origin of the World,” there is given a curious Gnostic creation myth where Adam, the primordial man, has been created by “seven rulers” (the “Archons”) without a soul. They are not pleased with their creation because the creature is devoid of life and is unable to move itself, so they abandon the man. Yet it is through the divine intervention of the spiritual feminine principle symbolized by Sophia-Zoe (Gk. “Wisdom-Life”) animates Adam by “sending her breath to him,” after which Adam is able to attain consciousness and speak. The Archons are surprised to discover that Adam has been animated and are even more displeased. They decide to place Adam in Eden, content with the fact that the man is still unable to move… until Sophia’s daughter, Eve is dispatched by her mother to rescue Adam, who can only writhe helplessly along the ground. Eve speaks and commands Adam, “Adam come to life. Rise from the ground!” Adam immediately obeys and stands up and exclaims, “You shall be called the mother of the living. For you have given me life!” Here is a clue of a half-understood principle of the Law of Stimulation, where Adam is stimulated into action.

Special thanks to Maya Harel, Bella Bargilly and Anna Brix Thomsen for their assistance.

Law of Attraction, Part 18: The Laws of Manu in the 21st Century

yogananda
“I could show you that whatever your powerful mind believes very intensely would instantly come to pass.”
Yogananda 
Manu Smriti Agniveer
“If a woman should happen to merely to overhear recitations of Vedic mantras by chance, hot molten glass should be poured into her ears.”
– The Laws of Manu
It’s been a long ride in the history of the Law of Attraction, and we have noticed an interesting thing: namely, Hinduism’s role of providing the background and content of this New Age spirituality belief system. While the sacred knowledge of the ancient Vedic civilization furnished the dominating Brahmin priesthood with rules and prayers for sacrifice, magical incantations and the elaborate ritualism for the nature gods such as Agni and Indra of the old Vedic religion, it was the emergence of the Upanishads, the Shramanas and the Vedanta that gave us the doctrine of the divine cosmic principles of karma, dharma and moksha along with the powerful new gods Brahman, Vishnu, and Shiva.These religious tenets were further developed and articulated by spiritual leaders such as Sankara, Ramakrishna, Vivekananda, Aurobindo and many others who claimed that knowledge, yoga or devotion to the gods – were the paths to escape the illusion of the world and cycles of reincarnation.
With the Vedantic notions of the unity of the soul or Atman, being of the same substance – and thus equal to – the Supreme Brahman – is it not strange to see the obvious institutions of separation and inequality within modern Indian society? Does not Hinduism assure us of the cosmic unity of all things in existence? Then how do we explain this seeming disconnect occurring between Hinduism’s metaphysical unity and the institutionalized separation and inequality between the thousands of castes that is the reality of Indian culture?It might be instructive to turn to one of the principle Hindu sacred texts we have yet to talk about – the Manava Dharmasastra; or the Laws of Manu.
 

The Laws of Manu is claimed by orthodox Brahmins to be of divine origin that descended from Manu, the archetypal first man of Hindu mythology and like Noah, a survivor of the great flood. Manu as the father of the human race is later made Earth’s First King by Brahman. Essentially a compendium of ancient domestic, religious social customs and rites, the Laws of Manu was written and compiled by the Brahmin elite sometime around the first or second century BCE, though no doubt containing many traditions that are much, much  older, perhaps dating back to the period of the Vedic civilization 1500 years earlier. The Laws of Manu is a crucial link to ancient India’s past in the respect that it contains the legal template of the legitimization of the Varna/Caste social system as well as rules and regulations concerning various civil and criminal laws, rites, daily conduct, and basically all forms of right action that Manu laid down for humanity.Within the division of the Varna social classes, the Brahmins placed themselves at the top, the warriors and merchants classes underneath and at the bottom, the Shudras, the lowest caste of workers and beneath them, the Outcastes like the Untouchables and ‘Chandalas.’ They are to be content with “serving meekly” the higher castes without complaint, according to the Laws of Manu. Thus the Brahmins were able to institutionalize the acceptance of separation, inequality, servitude, domination and a metaphysical fear of “pollution” – which has defined the cultural traditions of India and Hinduism ever since. This fear of pollution is taken to the extreme, where a “twice-born” of the upper castes must avoid the shadow or even the appearance of an Untouchable. This preoccupation with pollution and it’s association with Hindu identity has locked in separation and unbelievable poverty and abuse which hundreds of millions of Indians are powerless to escape.For over 1500 years, the Shudras and the Outcastes (basically anyone not born a Hindu) have been considered less than human – and have been forced to exist for centuries within endless cycles of illiteracy, poverty and cruelty. As Hinduism failed to provide a sense of brotherhood and equality for all of India’s peoples, it took the Indian government to adopt the Prevention of Atrocities Act enacted in 1989 to specifically outlaw the parading of the Untouchables or “Dalits”, naked through the streets, or forcing them to eat feces, or to take away their land, or to pollute their water, or to interfere with their right to vote, or to having their homes burnt down.For the Shudras and the Outcastes, the Law of Attraction appears to be inoperable within their worldly life. According to the Laws of Manu, their only hope is to meekly accept their unforgiving fate, for they may move up to the next varna in their next life. Maybe.

 

The Dalits

20 percent of India’s population is composed of the Untouchables or Dalits. Anyone who is not born a Hindu is considered an Untouchable. Since no provision is made for the Shudra or Dalits to collect wealth thru their own efforts within the Laws of Manu, the Law of Attraction is only operable for the Brahmins and upper castes – with the Shudra’s acceptance of the enslavement and control by their masters.

Within the Laws of Manu, the Law of Attraction appears within the dynamic of a polarity, where one’s fulfilled desires must be connected to another’s unfulfilled desires. Indeed, this polarity can be seen within the Laws of Manu which justifies the removal of free will and economic security from the Shudra because “a Shudra who has acquired wealth gives pain to Brahmins.” Hinduism has comfortably conceived a unified principle of reality where everything exists on a cosmic level as “One,” but this oneness rings a bit hollow given the current reality of the Indian people today.

The World Bank estimates that 456 million Indians, nearly half of the total Indian population, now live under the global poverty line of $1.25 per day. Another study claimed that 77% of Indians, or 836 million people, lived on less than 50 cents per day. In other words, one out every third person stricken by poverty in the world, is an Indian, their innate divinity denied and ignored. Their fates and fortunes on earth determined by the Laws of Manu, based solely by their birth into a world which is considered to be an illusion. It is a convenient truth for the elites and upper varnas in India to consider the suffering of millions to be an illusion as well.

Perhaps it seems strange that Hinduism should be the birthplace of both the Laws of Manu and the Law of Attraction. As we have seen, the history of the Law of Attraction descended directly from the interplay of the Vedantic principles of the divinity and supremacy of consciousness and which were cross-pollinated by the occultism and spiritualism of the West, by the New Thought Movement, the Theosophists and the prosperity consciousness authors like Napoleon Hill, W.W. Atkinson and modern New Age figures like Wayne Dyer and Rhonda Byrne to explicitly form the Law of Attraction as we know it today.

However, what we have learned is that the Law of Attraction is inoperable for those not “free” enough to acquire what they desire. A person’s birth within the caste system fully determines their potential in one’s life. In fact, by exploiting the despised and neglected Shudra and Untouchables who have been used historically as the vehicles to fill the desires of the higher castes, the Laws of Manu and the Law of Attraction work together through the religious and cultural institutions of inequality and the suffering of hundreds of millions of Indians for the benefit of the Higher Castes. Thus the Law of Attraction operates ‘as the dynamic trajectory’ through the polarity between the ‘wealth and dominance’ of one and the ‘accepted enslavement and control’ of another, producing both the wealth and pollution the Hindu accepts as Maya.

What’s up with that?

 

Next: The Conclusion

 

Sources:

A Source Book in Indian Philosophy, edited by Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan and Charles A. Moore, Princeton University Press, 1957

The Autobiography of a Yogi by Paramahansa Yogananda

The Philosophy of Hinduism, Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar Writings and Speeches, vol. 3″, Government of Mahararasshtra, Bombay, 1987

India’s “Untouchables” Face Violence, Discrimination by Hillary Mayell, National Geographic News, June 2, 2003

Poverty in India.” Wikipedia contributors. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 9 Apr. 2010. Web. 9 Apr. 2010.

Caste: In India and Africa, by A. K. Ingutia © 1965 W.E.B. Du Bois Institute.

Law of Attraction, Part 12: Shiva, the Master Yogi

 

Lord Shiva Wallpaper

The next largest Hindu denomination after the Vaishnava sect is Shaivism, the sectaries who worship Shiva as the Supreme God. While the Vaishnava is Hinduism’s largest denomination, Shaivism claims to be the oldest, with archeological evidence suggesting a proto-Shiva worship in some form in prehistoric India.

The origins of Shiva worship is clouded in mystery. The name, “Shiva” refers to his “Auspicious” nature, but only appears in the Vedas as a title for a minor Vedic storm god, the ferocious and howling Rudra.

Rudra was a malevolent god, feared by the people for his terrible death-dealing wrath. However, Rudra also possessed aspects of a healer. There is an alternate theory which places the emergence of Shiva from an ancient non-Vedic phallic-worship background.

The Upanishads are Brahmin mystical and sacred texts written in Sanskrit that are commentaries on the Vedas assembled over a period from 800 BCE to 200 CE. During the time when the final Upanishads were being circulated, between the 2nd century BCE and the 2nd century CE, the figures of Rudra and Shiva were amalgamated by the various Shaiva cults emerging during this time, like the Pashupata

The ascetic Pashupata sect distinguished themselves by wearing their hair in knots, their penchant for magical ritualism and for chanting the holy syllable,”AUM.” These wandering ascetic monks renounced the world and desires by taking to carrying human skulls as begging bowls, living in the graveyards, And smearing ashes over their bodies three times a day.

The reputed founder was Lakulisha, a sage who lived approximately 200 CE in western India and later was considered by the sect as the 28th and last avatar of Shiva. The Pashupata also claimed that Lakulisha the creator of yoga. The Yoga Masters appeared at the end of the Fourth century and Bhakti, the devotional worship focused on a God considered the Supreme Deity, became popular, and the cults that were devotees of Shiva began to grow. Over time, Shaivism claimed adherents throughout the subcontinent, spread by the singers and composers of the Puranas, the sacred Sanskrit texts of legends and folklore.

As the centuries passed, Shiva grew in stature while his attributes and worship evolved. In the end, Shiva had been transformed from obscure non-Vedic origins, to a minor Vedic storm god, and finally, to becoming the Supreme Being of creation.

There are several sects within Shaivism but they all tend to believe that Shiva will save those who are devoted to him. Shiva is the creator, creation and the Divine Judge who will mercilessly destroy the wicked. Meditation on the properties of Shiva produces “yoga” a state of mental bliss and heightened awareness. Liberation of the soul is achieved thru fervent adoration of Shiva, and if successful, one’s soul becomes equal to Shiva. Shaivites consider the suffering existing in the world is caused by ignorance, thus knowledge is the only thing that can remove it. Purity of the mind is much more commendable than purity of the body.

The legends of Shiva are endless. It is said that he skulks around battlefields and crossroads, and is always surrounded by devas and demons. In devotional art, Shiva is generally depicted as a half-naked ascetic, or as the symbol called the Linga, or as the Nataraja, the Lord of the Dance.

Portraits of Shiva: the Ash-covered Yogi

The devotional art of Shaivism is heavy on the symbolism, and depicts this aspect of Shiva as the ascetic yoga master, covered in ash and dressed in a tiger skin which echoes the Lord of Creatures and the protector of life, Prajapati. Shiva sits in the lotus position for he is the Master of Yoga. His staff is a trident, which symbolizes Will, Action and Knowledge and the power to destroy evil and nescience. Serpents cover Shiva all over his body; he wears one around his neck, chest, arms and his hair, representing the endless cycles of time. Shiva’s matted hair is also dressed with the symbol of the crescent moon and the mighty Ganges River. Centered on Shiva’s brow is his Third Eye, symbolic of the power of knowledge. His right and left eyes appear half-open, because when Shiva opens his eyes completely, the universe comes into being. When Shiva’s eyes are closed, the universe is dissolved. Thus Shiva is the Creator, Preserver and Destroyer, who uncovers and conceals.

The worship of Shiva is done with the anticipation of attaining a place alongside him after escaping from the terrifying world of rebirth and suffering. According to the Law of Attraction – what you believe is what you receive. It is the state of one’s consciousness and the power of belief that determines one’s place in a consciousness-based existence.

Shiva as the Master Yogi, offers escape and salvation through the ascension of the mind. Renunciation, meditation, self-absorption and leading a morally pure life are among the tools of the yogi to counteract karma and achieve liberation.

 
2shivalinga

Shiva: the Linga

The image of Shiva that is most widely worshipped, is that of the Linga: the cultic veneration of the abstract symbol of Shiva’s generative power and of Shiva himself. The linga is a rounded cylindrical pillar usually made of stone or some other material, its origins shrouded in the mist of history. Excavations of the Indus-Sarasvati Civilization has yielded what appears to be lingas made of stone standing two feet high or taller, indicating that some form of pillar-worship existed in pre-Vedic India. There is a long tradition of placing offerings of water, milk or clarified butter upon the linga. Shaivite devotees will have in their homes linga-shaped stones to which they perform ablution, flower-worship and offerings of food.

We do not know how Shiva became directly connected to the linga, but there are various legends of how Shiva-Linga worship was instituted. An interesting tale concerns Brahma and Vishnu busily arguing over who was the mightier god – when all of a sudden, an unknown enormous column of light appeared before them. The gods agreed whoever discovered the meaning of this mystery would be recognized as the Supreme Being. Vishnu shape-shifted into a boar and began to dig to find the bottom of the shaft, while Brahma changed into a goose to fly to the top. No matter how far the gods traveled to reach the end of the shaft of light, still farther the shaft extended. Eventually the two gods returned to the point where they began, and out of the endless shaft of light, Shiva walked out to meet them and both gods were forced to recognize that Shiva was the Supreme God.

 

shiva najahara

Shiva: the Nataraja

The Nataraja symbolizes Shiva’s role as Lord of the Dance. This is cosmic dance of sublime and graceful energy which sustains existence. Shiva is shown standing atop a vanquished demon who symbolizes ignorance. In his upper right hand, Shiva holds a drum which symbolizes of the sound of creation. His upper left hand holds a flame, which is the destruction of the universe. Thus, the Nataraja reveals that existence as a rhythmic manifestation of cosmic cycles : time as a cyclic, endless procession of creation, preservation and the termination of existence. When existence becomes too damaging and unbalanced to the beings within it, Shiva’s Dance is the saving liberation for those suffering, trapped beings – and here again, the role of religious adoration and devotion provides a hope of compensation for living in a world of suffering.

Within the Law of Attraction, Shiva represents the Divine Plan, an active, cosmic force that rewards those who focus their devotion, hopes, desires and dreams, upon him. According to the Shaivites, without the foundation of cosmic consciousness, which stands as Shiva to reflect knowledge and morality back to the mind of the human being, one’s chance for escaping this world of sorrows would be non-existent.

 

Next: Śaṅkara’s Advaita: The Pure Brahman of Consciousness

 

Sources

Shaivism.” Encyclopedia Britannica. 2010. Encyclopedia Britannica Online. 15 Jan. 2010 <http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/518556/Shaivism&gt;.

Pashupata.” Encyclopedia Britannica. 2010. Encyclopedia Britannica Online. 16 Jan. 2010<http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/446153/Pashupata&gt;.

A history of Indian Philosophy,” by Surendranath Dasgupta, Motilal Banarsidass Publ. 1991

The Myths and Gods of India: The Classic Work on Hindu Polytheism,” by Alain Daniélou, Inner Traditions International, 1991.

Perceptions of Shiva in Ancient India,” by Rohitha Easwer, What is India News Service, March 8, 2005

Lord Shiva“by Bansi Pandit,

Linga.” New World Encyclopedia. 7 Jul 2008, 01:15 UTC. 17 Jan 2010, 16:03

Hindu Philosophy,” by Shyam Ranganathan, Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy,

Encyclopaedia of Historiography, by M.M. Rahman, Anmol Publ. 2006

Law of Attraction, Part 10: Tantric Yoga

durga

“Shakti is the creator of the Universe,
And the Universe is her fascinating body;
Shakti is the basis of the entire world;
She is the intimate substance of any body.”
– Shaktisangama Tantra

Tantra pertains to a group of religious and magical texts concerned with various techniques of attaining enlightenment in Hindu and Buddhist philosophy, dating from the 6th to the 13th centuries. Tantra is largely concerned with the mantras, meditation, yoga, and rituals dedicated to the worship of the feminine principle of divine energy called, “Shakti.” We have previously shown that the Vedic gods were largely male personifications of nature and human virtues. We have also seen in that the objects of worship of the feminine goes back earlier than the Indus-Sarasvati Civilization into prehistoric times by Vedic and non-Vedic cultures. Some historians postulate that there were parallel currents of religious veneration of the male and female representations in different regions of India. Indeed, many apparent “Goddess” figurines have been located at the Harappan site causing some historians to believe that a pre-Vedic Mother Goddess cult may have existed in Neolithic India.

In any case, the Vedas do mention Aditi, the mother of the Gods, and goddess of the sky and earth, quite remarkable and unique for an ancient culture.

The name Shakti translates into ‘power’ or ‘energy,’ and is the personification of this feminine principle; worshipped as the Supreme Deity in Shaktism, one of the three primary denominations of Hinduism with the other two main denominations focusing on Shiva and Vishnu as their respective Head Deities. Tantra explains that the universe is the result of the “dance” of erotic energetic interaction between Shakti (divine creative power) and Shiva (divine consciousness). According to Shaktism, existence was created by Shakti and she is the energy that animates creation.

Kali, Durga and Parvati are three principle aspects of Shakti. Kali is often depicted as black, intimidating and aggressive, depicted as wearing a necklace of skulls while standing on the body of her husband, the god, Shiva. The Indian city of Calcutta derives its name from Kali, and in the temple dedicated to her, a continuous flow of blood is kept at the altars in appeasement to the goddess, or else it is feared that Kali will take her revenge on the people with pestilence, floods or natural disasters.

Durga is a more restrained aspect of the destroyer Kali, often depicted as a beautiful demon-slaying warrior with eight or ten arms, but still a terrifying symbol of feminine wrath, fearsomeness and unstoppable power, casually destroying demons the other gods feared.

Pavarti is the most benevolent and motherly aspect of Shakti. Pavarti, like the Vedic Aditi, is the mother of all the Gods and Goddesses. Her husband Shiva derives all his power from her.

Tantra is said to have been founded by Shiva during Kaliyuga, which in Hindu cosmology is the current, dark and lawless age -the age of vice and darkness – the last of four vast repeating ages, or “yugas.” The Vedas are regarded by the Tantrics as useless and no longer apply in this age of Kaliyuga, the Age of Kali. Thus, the Tantrics of the “Left Hand Path” say that their job is to make religion attractive to men, so liquor, meat, corn, fish and sex are permitted in certain mysterious rites. The “Right Hand Path” Tantrics prefer to perform their rituals symbolically.

Shakti cosmology relates that after Shakti created the human physical form, seven latent energetic-consciousness points were deposited within. These are termed the “chakras.” The tantric yoga masters discovered that the Kundalini, the latent energy that is believed to lie coiled at the base of the spine, contains vast, cosmic power within all human beings, and can be awakened and activated through various techniques, resulting in blissful unification with the divine, often depicted symbolically as the “awakened” and dancing Shiva; the Nataraja.

Activating the Kundalini is said to be the key in ultimately transcending the physical and uniting with the Divine. Rituals and meditative techniques based on sexuality were developed in service of attaining mystical experiences and enlightenment by identifying with the spiritual union between Shakti and Shiva. This is an interesting reversal of the renunciation of desire and sexual activity by the Vedic and post-Vedic sages. The historical and psychological conflict between human desire and reverence for spirituality is seen in sharp contrast in the competing philosophies between Shaktism and Vedism, between the annihilation of sexual desire and embracing sexuality in service to attaining the same goals: enlightenment and freedom from the wheel of rebirth.

However, tantra’s controversial tradition of using the energy generated through sexual ritualism as a short-cut to enlightenment, is considered by Hindu orthodoxy as reckless and dangerous. Kundalini is also carries a controversial history as well, with its creation of an energy flow through the chakras being seen by some as beneficial for breaking the bonds of the ego, and by others, as a waste of time.

In modern times, the Tantic ritual of orgasmic intercourse was appropriated by Western Occultists like Aleister Crowley, who appropriated the Left Hand Path tantric rituals to generate orgasmic sexual energy for magical purposes to achieve higher consciousness and power. Tantric traditionalists insist that non-orgasmic sexual continence was practiced by the yogi masters, claiming that control of ejaculation was prescribed by the tantric texts themselves. Otherwise, the goal of uniting with the divine is destroyed through orgasm.

Today, the use of Tantra has been transformed by the New Age and occultists in the West in lurid and sensational ways as “sacred” or “spiritual” sexuality. The goal isn’t so much achieving divine consciousness as it is achieving a mind-blowing orgasm. The fulfillment of “Sacred Sex” is marketed and sold as a commodity. The traditional tantrics deplore this appropriation, claiming that tantra has been distorted and polluted by Westerners who don’t understand nor appreciate their native religion.

So how does tantra relate to the Law of Attraction? Well, Napoleon Hill remarked in his book, “Think and Grow Rich,” that

“Sex desire is the most powerful of human desires. When driven by this desire, men develop keenness of imagination, courage, willpower, persistence, and creative ability unknown to them at other times … which may be used as powerful creative forces in literature, art, or in any other profession or calling.”

As we have said before, the Law of Attraction has a secret history of undergoing many transformations in different cultures and eras. The tantric aspect of the Law of Attraction appears again in Think and Grow Rich, where Napoleon Hill claims that sexual desire is the most powerful catalyst for human evolution in the arts, sciences and culture. There isn’t much literature regarding sex and the Law of Attraction specifically, only promises that one will attract a person within that “like attracts like” principle; if one uses intense, passionate focus, one receives their desires. The drive for self-empowerment through human sexuality, whether it is spiritual awakening through tantra, or achieving the ultimate “sacred” sexual pleasure, is ever with us.

 

Next: Vishnu the Preserver

 

Sources
Encyclopedia of Occultism & Parapsychology, Leslie A. Shepard, Vol. 2

The Hindu-Yogi Science of Breath, by Yogi Ramacharaka

Tantra: sex, secrecy politics, and power in the study of religions, by Hugh B. Urban, University of California Press

Kama Kapla, The Hindu Ritual of Love, by P. Thomas, Taraporevala Sons & Co. LTD, 1960

Kama Shilpa, by Francis Leeson, Taraporevala Sonss & Co. LTD, 1962

Aditi.” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. 23 Dec 2009, 07:42 UTC. 9 Jan 2010 .