The following article by Yogini Shambhavi was first published in Tathaastu Magazine.
The Divine Feminine
The most effective way to create and sustain universal harmony is to develop an environment of clarity, compassion, tolerance and acceptance, where we allow the field of our innate pure consciousness to manifest with reverence for all life. Envisioning the deeper light of awareness around us, we embrace our own inner divinity along with the sacred essence of Mother Nature, not merely the dictates of any particular religion, doctrine or theory.
Celebrating Nature we revere the earth, atmosphere, Sun, Moon, planets and stars as the cosmic powers that sustain our every breath. Projecting an ingenuous consistent platform for creative intelligence, we allow each person to embrace their own particular wishes and goals, opening up to the abundance, beauty and happiness that the universe offers to all beings alike.
Our prayers and efforts for a peaceful and caring world must arise as a collective mandate not specific to any country, region, gender, religion or guru. The moment we assign consciousness a particular label, we take away from its authenticity and sincerity, turning it into another cult, fad or sect. Transparency, harmony and joyousness unfold the field of pure consciousness which is the inherent outpouring of every aspiring soul. Our higher Self is not circumscribed by any social or worldly boundaries; it is reached by the simple path of every dedicated seeker who is willing to move beyond the vagaries of our illusory world and its artificial divisions.
It must remain our dream to propel the wave of pure consciousness into our surrounding existence and not leave our world in the shadows of power mongers who wield a negative Asuric control and hypnosis over our outer lives. Working on an individual level to bring about a higher consciousness will allow us to experience the Cosmic Reality, unraveling a divine mysticism through our daily experiences. Entering into the free spirit of sacred reverence through every moment of our lives will lead us into a conscientious existence that can resolve all the problems and crises that face us today.
Life should unfold as a celebration for every being, allowing the Soma ‘nectar of grace’ to flow through all times and all seasons. Seeking and experiencing our own inner divinity bestows us with universal power, gracing us with a profound conviction and empowered inspiration to fulfill our inner destiny. Each birth is a unique universal gift with a definite purpose that must be followed with conviction, supported with reasoning, clarity, love and compassion.
My own spiritual journey drew me to the auspicious circumstance of being able to lure the Mother Goddess’s gentle grace that can take one beyond all suffering. Her very glance annihilates all negativity and turbulence, dissolving the ultimate fear surrounding death itself. Her vision steers us through the mayhem of personal, psychological and physical samsara paving the way for our soul’s liberation into timeless realms.
The mysterious power of the Dark Goddess Kali became my guiding force. The Divine Feminine does not wield the forces of destruction and death against us, to chasten or correct us like a harsh teacher. Instead Kali is the benevolent saviouress at the very moment of misfortune providing both compassion for our suffering and granting us the courage to overcome it. In surrendering to her benign support, she softens all pain, eventually melting it into bliss.
The Goddess’s force releases the Soma, the eternal nectar of immortality. She prepares our sacred vessel to receive Shiva’s beatitude as the healing balm of meditative stillness. Shakti initiates an inner inebriation, a subtle intoxication beyond the limitations of our dualistic thoughts and emotions. Her overwhelming state is one of passion, enthusiasm, peace, sheer delight and rejuvenation, beyond any body or personhood. The Goddess replaces the intoxication of samsara, our absorption in transient worldly pleasures, with the greater intoxicated state of nirvana, a complete immersion in eternal bliss.
The Yogic Soma
The Yoga Shakti does not carry the ordinary Soma or the beauty of a full Moon, but rather the mystic Soma of the dark Moon, which our hearts absorb, granting us a mysterious inner light. Her Soma is the secret light of darkness which reveals a deeper truth, the inner Sun that disperses the outer world of duality and opens us up to the inner world of unity, contentment and happiness.
This yogic Soma possesses the flow of a powerful waterfall. Its rapidly cascading energy washes away all the debris within our minds and hearts that alienate us from our Shiva Self. The water’s flow in its rush carries the awareness of Shiva into its mountain-lake of stillness symbolizing the transcendental, formless and limitless nature of our deepest being. The flow of the inner waterfall is calleddhara in Sanskrit, which also means the power to hold or to fix as in dharana, the yogic state of concentration. Shakti’s flow like the waterfall has the power to hold the energy of Shiva in the mind in a fixed, centered and tranquil state.
The Yogini holds the perfect dharana or concentration on Shiva Consciousness through her sacred practices. Her dharana or ‘intense concentration’ carries the essence of energy, letting go of all form. True dharana is the flow of inspiration captivating Shakti in the mind. When this flow becomes steadfast, it manifests as dhyana, the state of meditative bliss.
Resting in this beatific state, the Yogini’s mind beckons Shiva to come to her. The power and passion of her call draws Shiva into her life – how can He not hearken to the cry of a Tantrika’s heart? That she may not always see him or sense his presence is another samsaric saga. Being caught up in the whirlpool of mundane existence revolving in our creaturely consciousness, we fail to see the divine that is ever around us. But Shiva will continue to play with the heart of the Yogini, enticing her into his cosmic play in his own time.
Understanding the principle of Shiva and Shakti on the highest level reveals the masculine and feminine cosmic energies of the Sun and Moon, the mountain and valley, fire and water, spirit and matter that are entwined around us. Life is all about unraveling the duality of cosmic forces. Yogic spirituality doesn’t entail blind worship propped up by emotions and dogmas; one must actually perceive the deeper meaning that unfolds our individual existence into the Cosmic Reality.
Shiva represents the supreme Yogi, holding the secret keys to every aspect of a deeper Yoga practice. Shiva is the presence of awareness that illumines everything in the realm of time, the eye of wisdom that perceives the essence beyond the form. Shakti’s fire ripens us to receive the grace of Soma, not just her sacred blessing, but the ultimate Soma of Shiva’s transcendence flowing beyond all limits of comprehension.
An inner yogic perception reveals the eternal presence and beauty of consciousness everywhere. Seeing the secret play of divinity throughout the world of nature reveals gentle hues of immortality nourished by the waters of life which carry the waves of delight. Searching out our inner deity, we surrender our desires, fears and suffering into the universe’s gentle care. Mother Nature absorbs our offering, transforming its anguish into the sweet rasa of happiness.
Nature’s mysticism turns our darkness into light, bringing out numerous colors of bliss reflected through the mirage of our worldly existence. Inner Yogic practices usher us into the divine presence in the seat of all consciousness – the heart. The seeker previews his true nature of perceptivity, awareness and realization in one’s inmost center through the yoga of meditation, pranayama and mantra.
Shakti rules over the most poignant and crucial moments in the movement of time. She is the delightful expression of a nubile spring, the warmth of a radiant summer, the tantalizing colors of deep autumn and the white sheath of winter’s luminous snowfall. Nature’s seasons epitomize time touching birth, growth, decay and death in their inevitable beauty. Every important life experience holds some aspect of Shakti’s dynamism. We need to embrace the power of transformation inherent in the rhythms of our lives in order to enjoy the sweetness of her Soma, its joyousness residing in the flow of our free will to accept life’s myriad changes.
Soma is a manifestation of Sat-Shakti, the innate power of existence representing the divine feminine. Mother Nature holds the purity of the mountain’s white snow unleashing the power of meditation and serenity. The snow-covered mountain symbolizes the enduring force of Shiva’s pure existence as absolute, unchallengeable, unmoving and effulgent clear light. Shiva’s Soma is the power of Shanti, the inner peace flowing through his consort Shakti, uniting all the forces of the universe in pure unity.
Devotion and sacred contemplation allow a subtle form of Soma to flow, rejuvenating our Prana or life breath, the driving force behind our manifest existence. Cultivating the sacred flow of Pranic Soma releases an inner contentment which energizes our well-being on all levels of body, mind and spirit. Raising our consciousness through simple practices of prayer and meditation connects us with higher realms, elevating our vibrational forces and creative energies to a state of equipoise between our emotional, mental and physical experiences. Being consciously aware of the presence of every moment, we hone our skills in positive thinking honoring every circumstance as a gift of divine grace.
The Inner Alchemy of Soma
Meditating in the mountains near my home, the Soma of pure delight captivated my every breath. The purity and luminosity of snow held captive the fleeting moments of every snowflake, layering the Blue Spruce trees with a gentle abundance. Watching a pair of blue jays sifting through bird seed, dusting the snow off their feathery cloaks brought close to the heart Nature’s abundance gracing all life. My soul took flight on the wings of the feathered bird seeking its freedom in the heavenly void.
The Soma chakra or center of Soma beneath the crown chakra in the head is called the Amrita chakra, the place of the immortal nectar, drawing its energy from the mystic rays of the Moon. Harvesting this Soma by yogically gazing at the Moon revitalizes our well-being. Devotion and deep faith releases secret inner Somas, higher forms of rasa, far more purifying and intoxicating than any commercial drug. Our inner eye drinks this nectar, drawing the balm of spiritual contentment to heal all worldly afflictions. Devotion not only satiates the heart, but transforms our mind and senses into vehicles of spiritual vitality and delight. Sadhaks experiencing this bliss remain ever youthful and happy as long as they live.
Rasa Vidya or Tantric alchemy is not about mere chemistry or even physical rejuvenation, but shows us how to extract the essence of delight from all that we experience. Shakti reveals the blissful emotion, the flavor of pure bliss in every event of our lives. This ‘rasayana’ of the heart is an important practice if we learn to sense its significance through the inner eye. The rays of the full Moon are themselves a kind of rasayana, a Soma for the mind, while the inner presence of a dark Moon holds the power to take us beyond all darkness.
To connect with this inner Soma, we can follow a simple mantra meditation. Silently repeat the mantra OM along with the process of inhalation to draw the flow of Soma from the outer universe into the heart. Then silently repeat the mantra Hrim on exhalation to energize the Soma to revitalize the heart. Ending exhalation with a quick silent repetition of the mantra Hum adds zest to the fire in hastening its mystical alchemy – Om Hrim Hum!
Mantras carry the potency of Soma in their vibratory fields, honing the subtle nuances of our intuitive voice. In trusting our profound insight, perception and sensitivity we connect with our higher selves. Communing with this sacred voice we are guided to the ultimate truth of the soul’s reality. Being present and aware within our own bodies is cultivating the art of divining our inner essence. In consecrating our being through yogic practices, our bodily energies open up to their subtle essences and lead us to our deeper self where we access the revered wisdom deep within ourselves.
The spiritual practice of turning within oneself, being calmly aware of our senses, thoughts and triggered reactions, allows us to connect with our deeper realities. Looking within ourselves with compassion allows us to address our internal struggles, passions and conflict with empathy. Empathizing with ourselves we bring the flow of loving kindness to our inner beings, reflecting a benevolent approach to our personal misgivings, making us tolerant to all worldly situations.
We need to focus on the abundance of the universe, which is there for everyone alike. Learning to appreciate our existence unfolds the Soma of gratitude, where we realize the value of everything in the universe. Graciousness and gratitude is the core of sacred healing. Gratitude resonates with love and compassion transforming our lives and relationships. Graciousness allows us to experience love, beauty and bliss synchronizing our gentle rhythms with our deeper consciousness. In honoring our true nature we learn to respect and cherish all life, opening up the windows of the heart to channel the nectar of divinity.
Focusing the light of love on our inner world creates the space for real transformation. This inner awareness transcends our primeval impulses of conflict and assertion which contradict our true nature of peace, releasing all illusion, hurt and blame. Understanding our true nature and taking responsibility for all our actions allows us to transform the darkness of our worldly desires into the light of bliss.
The enchantment of divine love and bliss is the Soma of delight. Once we appreciate and savor this Soma which satiates our soul stirrings we unravel the depths of a higher consciousness. This higher conscious state filters through our thoughts and actions coloring our relationships with divine love.
May the blessings of universal Soma flow into our lives, enriching us with cosmic vitality, unveiling a deeper perception, intuitive eye and gentle concern for all. May there be love, light and bliss throughout our lives!