Hindu Muslim Unity and Grey Block Illusion

This is called grey block illusion. Even though both blocks appear to have a different color, it is an optical illusion. If you hide the part in the centre, you can see that they have the same color… Hatred and discrimination is also an optical illusion, because it is a plank in your eye that hides your vision; you cannot really recognize a dust from somebody else’s eye. (Matthew 7)…♥️

Also read:

Why is there so much hate between Hindus and Muslims in India?

Prophet Muhammad Exposed – A Different Perspective That Everyone Should Read

Hinduism and Dharma: The Distinction between a Religion and a Way of Life

Here is one more illusion. But it is a deeper topic (The actual optical illusion you see in the image is called ‘the Kanizsa triangle illusion):

An article that you may be interested in: Pappankulam – A Village of Brahmins and Four Vedas

What does it feel like to be Spiritually Enlightened?

One of the questions that gets often asked by seekers is, “What does spiritual enlightenment or self-realization feel like? I am republishing the answer I wrote on Quora for the same question.

Life is usually felt as a journey in time. You experience it as if you are travelling from point A to point B in time, with hopes, expectations and dreams. It is an unconscious search towards becoming boundless.

Human beings are running in a hedonic treadmill. Everyone returns to a base level of happiness as soon as the effects of a profit or loss, success or failure, pain or pleasure fades away. So, no matter what you try to do, you really do not reach the place where you are left with complete fulfillment. If you stop running on this treadmill, even your base level happiness seems to go low. So there is a constant need to run behind a next achievement, next success or even next spiritual experience. This concept of hedonic treadmill is now a psychological fact.

Spiritual enlightenment/self-realization:  What does spiritual enlightenment or self-realization feel like?

What spiritual enlightenment or self-realization does is, it liberates you from the hedonic treadmill. Because you actually reach the completion or ultimate fulfillment that you have been searching for. Suddenly, the psychological time stops. You are not looking forward to the future anymore. So you neither search fulfillment in worldly affairs nor search enlightenment. Because every search is searching something in the future. At self-realization, the past and the future becomes collapsed in the present. You do not even feel like you have travelled all the way through time to reach that place. You feel like you have been always there. Do you think you can imagine this state? No, you can’t!

You also lose the psychological boundaries between you and the existence. Normally, you feel a difference between being alone and being in a room with another person. You feel it in your bones because your consciousness is trapped inside an idea of being a person or an entity that is distinct from the ‘others’. But after self-realization, you no longer sense the ‘other’ this way! The psychological wall that stands between you and the other breaks and melts away, leaving you in an ocean of oneness. This is what they call as oneness of God.

It feels like, the world and the life runs like a movie, and you are just acting your role, without even feeling that you exist (as a person or an entity). In fact, the word ‘I’ now becomes just a point of reference rather than an experiential identifier of your body and mind. You no longer feel that you are a character in a life story, experiencing it personally.

The distinction between inside and the outside disappears too.

It may sound too boring when you have not realized it yourself, but it is actually quite fulfilling, just like you feel during the end of a movie. After a movie is ended, you don’t regret that it has ended; so enlightenment is not something that will break into your life all of a sudden. It happens as a natural process after the game is over; after the drama is over.

How do you feel after removing a tight shoe that was hurting your toes for the past three hours while walking? The sense of separate self is like a tight shoe, and it puts a lot of pressure on you. You do not realize it since that is how you have lived your life from the beginning. But only when this pressure is gone, you really see how much pressure, strain and weight it was putting on you. You now feel like a free bird.

But words can certainly betray the actual meaning intended, when anyone who is free tries to describe it. This is beyond words!

There is a light inside you. Just follow it, walk where it takes you and you will find the source of the light one day.

There is something called seven-fold logic or saptangivada, which is a different form of logic that is used when talking about such subtle matters. You can read about it here: Logic And Spiritual Enlightenment – An Overview of Anekantavada, Saptabhangivada (Seven Valued Logic) and Syadvada of Jainism

I have put together a guide, in case you are a seeker; it has a series of articles : A Guide To Spiritual Enlightenment

From Depression to Bliss – My Old Notes From School Days

I was going through a small bag that I have preserved since school days. I came across a few notes written by me when I was in school. I am sharing those notes with you to show you how depressed and helpless I was in school days. I have omitted certain parts of them. The practice of mindfulness was what cured me from depression and helped me realize my own nature and find my own true bliss.

Here are the pictures of those notes:

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The last picture is not very clear. I have mentioned there that sometimes I used to weep for no reason. It was a mystery for me and I didn’t know what caused my tears without reason.

My depression was very hard to bear and I thought of commiting suicide many times. But it was that suffering which made me to seek the ultimate liberation.

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy – A Therapy based on Eastern Spiritual Concepts

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy

This pic belongs to a group for Acceptance and Commitment therapy (ACT) in FB. ACT is a modern day therapy based on Eastern spiritual techniques like mindfulness, and is used to treat depression, anxiety disorders and many other psychological issues. I have mentioned ACT in my book as it actually helps to bridge science and spirituality, which is also one of my visions.

In my book, I have talked about several psychological concepts like hedonic treadmill, self concept, cognitive dissonance, cognitive biases, operant conditioning, brain and it’s functions, especially the left brain interpreter etc, in an attempt to show an empirical validity for certain spiritual concepts which I found to be true iny experience.

For people who want to explore ACT, I recommend reading the books of author Russ Harris; his latest book covers in depth about ACT. This therapy has a very good future and potential. Dr.Russ Harris is also one of my friends in FB now and he wished all the best for my book. I have quoted him in my book too. So I thank him for accepting my friend request and welcome him to our friends club.

From his bio:

Russ Harris is an internationally acclaimed acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) trainer and author of the best-selling ACT-based self-help book The Happiness Trap, which has sold over 600,000 copies and been published in thirty languages. He is widely renowned for his ability to teach ACT in a way that is simple, clear, and fun–yet extremely practical.

I have stressed the importance of witnessing meditation enough in my blog and book. But when I came across a quote by Sigmund Freud in an ACT group, I was pretty surprised that even he was aware of the power of witnessing. Witnessing is not about just noticing one’s thoughts. It stands on a firm spiritual understanding of the three marks of existence and the discrimination between the subject and the object. So witnessing meditation may seem to be too simple to ignore but it is very subtle and understanding it is very tricky. Here is the quote from Freud:

Sigmund Freud quotes

A Human Being Is Not An Entity But A Process

I have noticed that human beings often judge other people based on the notion that a human being is a static entity. When they talk about other human beings, they somehow unconsciously assume that the person never changes. We often reduce human beings into mere labels such as ‘he is a good guy’, ‘he is a bad guy’ etc. We tend to define human beings and confine people within the boundary of a definition. This is usually based on a very short time acquaintance with another human being. You may know a person for the past six months and within those six months that person has already been conceptualized as a static entity inside your mind; Based on how you react to the experiences with that person, you tend to form an opinion that never changes in your life. I mean, you never bother to revise that opinion.

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We often say that the first impression is the best impression. I think that is wrong. The first impression is the worst impression. Because the first impression is usually formed with insufficient data. You hardly know a person but you think you have already figured it out. The saddest part is, this first impression is usually difficult to change. Because of this, people often stress the importance of leaving a good impression at first meeting. This is often given as a self help advice. But people should also be advised about the fact that the first impressions about a human being in your mind doesn’t capture the full picture of what that person is.

In fact, it is impossible to grasp a full picture of a human being. Because, as I said, a human being is a process. In the lifetime of about 60 years, a human being undergoes many changes. He very frequently changes his ideologies and opinions, regrets his past actions, refines his behaviour, learns new things and tries to be more mature.

Every human being is born as a clean slate but has the genetics to have some predisposed qualities or characters. This genetic part is under nobody’s control. You are simply born with certain genes and it was not your choice. But a person learns behaviours and thought patterns by interacting with the environment. Everybody tends to repeat the behaviours which are rewarding and stop the behaviours which lead to unpleasant consequences. This type of conditioning is called operant conditioning. So how a person behaves at any given moment is a product of his genetics and his learned behaviours.

Usually, the type of environment a person gets to interact with and the type of people he gets influenced by is not in his control either. The environment is so huge with complex network of thousands of people who influence what you think and how you behave; but the human being is so tiny. He can’t control what he interacts with completely. So, if you think about it, a person is helpless when it comes to his character at any given moment. He has so and so character traits because of thousands of factors which was not under his control. Of course, everyone has free will but the free will is only an appearance. Any decision that you make in any given moment is tied to both your genetics and everything that you have learned and absorbed from the different environments you have interacted with in your entire life.

If you understand this correctly, it will automatically increase your compassion towards other human beings. It will make you more tolerant, accept other human beings as they are and forgive them easily for their defects.

Second, it is a fallacy to judge people based on their past actions. What a person did ten years before is not important and it doesn’t define how he is now. He interacts with the environment everyday and lets it shape him. So everybody goes through waves of personal transformations throughout their lives. To understand this, let us recall what I said in the beginning of this post: a human being is not an entity but a process.

There is a beautiful story in ancient Indian literature. Valmiki, the author of Ramayana was said to be a thief once. After his interaction with Narada, he is said to have completely transformed. This story gives an example of how a thief turns into a saint because of his interaction with the environment. Oscar Wilde says “The only difference between the saint and the sinner is that every saint has a past, and every sinner has a future.”. Future opens the door for transformation.

I would even say that the words like saint and sinner are mere labels which do not capture the totality of a human being. A human being is way more huge and complex than these labels. Every human being usually has good intentions, passions, care for loved ones and understanding and tolerance towards other human beings. But sometimes things go wrong and they end up learning behaviours and ideas which deviate from the social norm. All that needs to be done is to make those people unlearn those behaviours. If humanity does more research on that, we can come up with better options than punishments. Punishments are barbaric and only some poor unluckier ones go through it. The rich and influential can often get away without going through legal actions, in spite of committing crimes that are worse.

Some Wonderful lyrics of Tamil Poet Vairamuthu Regarding Spirituality

Generally, I prefer movies which show reality as it is, like a mirror. A lot of Indian movies are usually anti-reality, but things are getting better. There are a few Tamil lyrics written by Tamil poet Vairamuthu, who is currently the top lyricist in Tamil Movie Industry.

Let us start with a wonderful movie ‘Anbe Sivam’ (2003). The movie itself comes with a strong spiritual message and seems to be inspired by the Hollywood movie ‘Planes, Trains and Automobiles ‘. You can compare the stills, they look alike:

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Now, let us see a song in the movie with its English translation:

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“யார் யார் சிவம்? நீ, நான், சிவம்!
வாழ்வே தவம்! அன்பே சிவம்!
ஆத்திகம் பேசும் அடியார்க்கெல்லாம் சிவமே அன்பாகும்!
நாத்திகம் பேசும் நல்லவருக்கோ அன்பே சிவமாகும்!
அன்பே சிவம்! அன்பே சிவம்! என்றும்,
அன்பே சிவம்! அன்பே சிவம்! எங்கும்,
அன்பின் பாதை சேர்ந்தவனுக்கு முடிவே இல்லையடா!
மனதின் நீளம் எதுவோ, அதுவே வாழ்வின் நீளமடா!

  • கவிப்பேரரசு வைரமுத்து

Who is Shiva? You and I are (essentially) Shiva!
Life is a penance; Love is Shiva!
For theists who surrender to the Almighty, Shiva is love!
For atheists who are good at heart, Love is Shiva!
Love is Shiva, Love is Shiva forever!
Love is Shiva, Love is Shiva everywhere!
If you walk on the path of life, there is no end for you..
The length of your mind (heart) is the length of your life!

  • Vairamuthu, The Great King of Poets

(If you do a search, you may be able to watch the movie online with English subtitles. I recommend watching both ”Planes, Trains and Automobiles ‘ and ‘Anbe Shivam‘ if you are interested in both movies and spirituality.

Then there is another song from the movie Padayappa (1999). Here is just a part of that song, which I like very much:

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தங்கத்தை பூட்டி வைத்தாய் வைரத்தை பூட்டி வைத்தாய்
உயிரை பூட்ட ஏது பூட்டு?
குழந்தை ஞானி இந்த இருவர் தவிர இங்கே
சுகமாய் இருப்பவர் யார் காட்டு!
“ஜீவன் இருக்கும் மட்டும் வாழ்கை நமது மட்டும்”
இது தான் ஞான சித்தர் பாட்டு!
இந்த பூமி சமம் நமக்கு;
நம் தெருவுக்குள் மத சண்டை ஜாதி சண்டை வம்பெதுக்கு?

  • கவிப்பேரரசு வைரமுத்து

You can lock the gold, you can lock the diamond,
but you cannot lock your life inside a body!
Is there anyone who is blissful except a child and a Jnani (self-realized person)?
Only as long as life is in the body, you can say that life belongs to only me.
This is the song of the Jnana Siddha!
Everyone has equal rights on the earth (like a family)..
Why should there be quarrels in our street based on religious and caste discrimination?

  • Vairamuthu, The Great King of Poets

 

Controversies on Vairamuthu

People, especially politicians in Tamil Nadu have been trying to malign and defame Vairamuthu because of an absurd reason. Vairamuthu wrote a research article about a Tamil saint Andal, completely praising her Tamil poetry.  He also quoted a researcher who said that Andal was a Devadasi who lived and died in Sri Rangam temple in Tamil Nadu. Devadasi literally means, a slave to God! A huge community called Devadasi community existed in South India and the women who belonged to this community were brought up in temples right from the young age and were taught fine arts. Women are usually good at fine arts like dancing, singing, painting etc. You can check out Sreeja Renganath from Quora for example: https://www.quora.com/profile/Sreeja-Renganath. For me, she seems to be the living manifestation of Goddess Saraswathi, the Goddess of wisdom. I am not being polite, I am being brutally honest. Read this answer of hers, you will know what I mean: https://qr.ae/TUhfF0 (an English name which represents wisdom is ‘Sophia’. This can be said like the English concept of Sarasvathi.)

Devadasis were wonderful women. Usually, they grew up to be extraordinarily devoted and consider God as the master and themselves as slaves. This is called Dasa Bhavana, the attitude that Hanuman is shown to have towards Rama in Indian epic Ramayana. These girls saw the Almighty as their husband. But later on, some people who were in charge of some temples started enslaving these Devadasis, took advantage of them and used them for prostitution. People who are so attached to the forms of deities (without realizing that all forms represent one truth), who claim that their ‘God’ can be insulted, should first realize that this tragedy that happened to Devadasi community was the actual insult to Goddess Saraswathi. Over the years, the word ‘Devadasi’ earned a bad connotation. The word ‘Devadasi’ can be very easily misunderstood nowadays as a synonym for prostitute. So, thousands of people who didn’t even read Vairamuthu’s essay started to verbally abuse him, threatened to kill him, forced him to apologize to Andal by coming to Andal’s temple in Srivilliputtur and made his life difficult after that for no reason. Vairamuthu didn’t do anything wrong in this regard!

Recently, he also has been accused of sexual harassment by a singer Chinmayi in Tamil Nadu, via the METOO campaign. Chinmayi made an allegation on him and the poet denied it.  Chinmayi says that it was something that happened more than a decade before. I have no idea who is saying the truth! But the impression that singer Chinmayi has made in general among the people of Tamil Nadu is not good. I sense a dominative character in Chinmayi and I suspect that she can lie or at least exaggerate something and make a mountain out of the molehill. Generally, after looking at the METOO issue, everyone gets this question: ‘Is this campaign really helping common men and women or is it only targetting celebrities? Because I know very well that most of these common people in India do not use Twitter or have never heard about it. Also, what makes these people to think that a person is exactly the same as how he was more than a decade ago?’

People change… But forgiveness, which seems to be the backbone of all the world religions is becoming an out of date concept these days!

The truth will win one day! No matter what the truth is, it will win! I just wrote this post to help people see and focus the positive side of poet Vairamuthu. He is a legend..

For the sake of the argument, let us say that Vairamuthi was indeed guilty of things that he is accused of. We need to still realize the fact that every saint was once a sinner and every sinner has the potential to become a saint. A human being is not a static entity, it is a process! Even Valmiki, who wrote Ramayana is said to be a robber before he became a saint!

This post is an expression of gratitude to Andal herself. The month of Marghazhi (16 Dec 2018 – 13 Jan 2019) which is considered to be special for Andal is also approaching. The name Andal reminds me of my English teacher at Sri Jayendra Saraswathi Swamigal Golden Jubilee Matriculation higher secondary school, Sankarnagar, Tirunelveli -627357. My English teacher in my seventh standard was a teacher named Andal. Whenever someone says my English is good, please understand the whole credit goes to her. Folded Hands on EmojiOne

These are the letters  that she wrote to me many years before:

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Wow, the first one is dated on 24th of  November, 1997. I didn’t realize that the anniversary of this letter was over just a couple of days before until I began to write this paragraph… (I have already mentioned about this letter and a few other letters in my Quora answer here: https://qr.ae/TUhfPb )

Satyameva Jayate!

The Truth About Yantras, Chakras, Temples, Tantra and Agamas

A Yantra is nothing but a map for meditation. The map can be used externally to build temples and internally to practice Yoga. A Yantra represents something called a Mandala.

Here is a raw skeleton of a simple Mandala:

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If you want to construct a room only for meditation (certain Tantric meditations that I will discuss shortly), you can construct a beautiful room with this map. The circle at the center is a place for an idol or a statue. This statue itself should be designed in a way so that each aspect of the statue represents a deep meaning. This central idol is surrounded by three small idols around it. The idea behind such a place is to create an emotional association with meditation by decorating this room, playing melodious songs, by making it a practice to take bath before entering the room etc. When you meditate in this place every day, just looking at the map or mandala can trigger a meditative feeling in you or make you ready to meditate. It can capture your attention in a minute and change your thought flow to something that is advantageous to meditation. This works based on something called ‘classical conditioning’.

If you want another example for classical conditioning, then do this: think about the days when you fall in love for the first time, wear the same kind of perfume that you were wearing in those days and listen to the song that you heard often those days. It will remind you of those beautiful days. This can be used to your own advantage. This is the science behind Yantras and temples. It is based on psychology, not based on physics or chemistry.

There is also a kind of meditation that you would do with these yantras and the temples modeled using Yantras. Let me first give you a model of another simple Yantra here:

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It has four surrounding deities instead of 3. This was actually the very common form of design when people started to use these things in the very beginning. Because these four surrounding deities represent four directions. Almost all religious groups in ancient India including a lot of folk religious practices had deities for directions. These deities were simply absorbed into Tantric practices as devices. This also helped those religious practitioners to convert their superstitious religious sentiments to a psychological device.

Here is an example of Vajrapani mandala in Vajrayana Buddhism following the same model:

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First, I will explain how you meditate based on this Yantra. You have to visualize yourself as the central deity and visualize the four deities of four directions as the extensions of yourself. This is the basis of Vajrayana and Tantric meditations. With more practice, you can visualize the mandala quite accurately.

You can make it more effective by constructing a temple using this mandala. When you fill the temple with unique sense perceptions like lamps, smell of camphor and flowers, chants etc and keep the place free from other distractions, then doing tantric meditations in such a place will gradually associate all these sense perceptions with meditation itself. So, an exposure to even one of this sense perception will be helpful to a great extent by changing the course of your thought stream and making it inclined towards meditation.

The energy you feel when you enter such a place comes from your own body and not from the mandala. Because a rush of emotions certainly affects your body as much it affects your mind. (When a teacher enters a noisy classroom on the day when you forgot to do your homework, does the energy of sudden fear you feel come from the teacher or happen in your own body?).

During the Vedic period, there were no temples or idols. Temples emerged as the result of people who started practicing these meditations in the late 1st millennium BC, probably a couple of centuries after the period of Buddha. Almost all Shiva temples are built with Shaiva Agamas and all Vishnu temples are built with Pancharatra or Vaikhanasa agamas, which are Tantric agamas that deal with these things in detail. (Sri Ramanuja played a major role in promoting Pancharatra. He replaced Vaikhanasa with Pancharatra in Sri Rangam temple and most of the other temples too. Tirupati temple is an example of the temple which follows Vaikhanasa agamas).

The beauty of such mandalas is that, the people who created it made sure that each aspect of it has a deep spiritual meaning. So, this accomplishes another purpose as well, by acting as mnemonic devices. When you understand how it works, you can take advantage of all the benefits it offers.

For example, Pancharatra has a concept of Viyuha in which there are four deities: Vasudeva, Sankarshana, Pradyumna, and Aniruddha. Here, Vasudeva represents the Purusha or Shiva or the absolute; Sankarshana represents Prakriti or Shakthi; Pradyumna represents the mind (your likes and dislikes) and Aniruddha represents ahamkara (ego). In some tantric texts, nine deities are used instead of four: (1) Vāsudeva, (2) Saṅkarṣaṇa, (3) Pradyumna, (4) Aniruddha, (5) Nārāyaṇa, (6) Nṛsiṁha, (7) Hayagrīva, (8) Mahāvarāha, and (9) Brahmā.

But just buying a Yantra and keeping it in the home will do nothing. You need to understand what each aspect of Yantra represents and use it for meditation after completely understanding the design, the purpose and the pointers that the Yantra represents. Because all these are psychological.

But there is another purpose for Yantras which is the most important one. After some point, you should start seeing your own body and mind representing a Yantra. You understand yourself as a living temple and locate each deity at a particular place in your body.

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Let us take the above image as an example. This is a Shatkona, my favorite one. The symbol has two triangles.

  1. The regular triangle represents the absolute and each side of it represents Sat, Chit, and Ananda which means truth, consciousness, and bliss.
  2. The inverted triangle represents Prakriti and her three states or qualities: Sattva (balance), Rajas (activity), Tamas (inertia or lethargy).

The union of these two triangles represents the union of Purusha and Prakriti, which is actually the essence of non-duality. So, this star is a perfect symbol of spiritual enlightenment itself.

If I have to use this mandala for a temple, then I would need 7 deities, one for the central deity and 6 for the surrounding ones. If I were to internalize these 7 deities then I would need 7 locations in the body. When you are in a cross-legged sitting position, how would you divide your whole body starting from your butt to your head into 7?

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This is how you can do it. There is no other way! This is the truth about chakras.

Do you know that initially there were only 4 Chakras and not 7? I will tell you why.

Before the common era and during the late first millennium BC, there was no concept of chakras. But people did have a concept about Nadis. They thought that there is a Sushumna Nadi in the center. People believed that when a person dies, his spirit exits through one of the nine holes of the body. They also believed that if the spirit goes upwards through Shushumna Nadi and exits the body by breaking the top of the head, he will go to heaven. That sounded reasonable to them because if the heaven is somewhere above, then spirit should move upwards. Many texts talk about voluntarily moving the soul or spirit through Shushumna Nadi at the time of the death to make sure that the person reaches the heaven. They called this practice Utkranti. Utkranti was also used to mean traveling from one body to another. It is this Utkranti which is called as Mahasamadhi in modern days.

The concept of chakras actually emerged much later. Chakras are just an attempt to internalize the locations and deities of a mandala or a yantra. It developed just a 1000 or 1200 years before, between 8th century AD to 10th century AD.

  1. Hevajra Tantra, one of the Buddhist tantric texts during the period of 8th century AD talks about just 4 chakras. The reason they chose four is quite obvious. It is because most of the early Tantric mandalas were based on four directions and assigning 4 deities to each direction. In Buddhist tantras, the following four deities called ‘four heavenly kings’ were used in meditations. The concept is same as the four forms used in Pancharatra. So, during 8th century AD, they internalized these four deities as four chakras in the body.

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2. Kaulajnananirnaya which contains the core teachings of Matsyendranath describes a system of 11 chakras. This text is also from the same time period. Please note that Matsyendranath is one of the yogis who is quoted by Sadhguru often. But Sadhguru himself doesn’t know that Matsyendranath talked about 11 chakras and not 7.

3. Abhinavagupta, a great mystic of Kashmir Shaivism had adopted a five chakra model.

4. Sat Chakra Nirupana, another Tantric text talks about a six chakra model.

This is how slowly the system evolved into the current system of seven chakras. They are conceptual and were only meant for visualizations. But it is this concept of Chakras which has become a huge business in the world today.

Here is a picture of Kali Yantra:

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First of all, What do these 36 corners represent?

During 8th – 6th century BC, people were interested in going inward to find a way out of suffering. When they explored and enumerated the contents of the consciousness, each sect or group of monks came with different numbers as indivisible entities of one’s conscious field… Buddha came with five and called it five aggregates. Vedanta also came up with five and called it five koshas. Samkhya came with 24 units or tattvas by including sense perceptions, sense organs, organs of actions (hands, legs, speech, excretion, reproduction) and five elements. This way of enumerating the contents of consciousness and coming up with these basic units continued for about 1500 years. Kashmir Shaivism, which is the youngest of all ( which has influenced Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev a lot ) came with 36 basic units. They are called as 36 tattvas. The 36 corners of this yantra represent 36 tattvas.

Each unit was like an atom of the internal world. Vaisheshika, a school of thought in India is called as atomism because it enumerated the contents of consciousness this way and divided them to inseparable things called ‘anu’. But this has been greatly misunderstood by people. There are people who think that these anus/atoms are the actual atoms that we study in Physics.. No, not at all!

Let me explain how this enumeration works. Let us say you look at a tree. You can explore the tree and enumerate its units by dividing the tree into its parts, narrowing down to its molecules, atoms, electrons and quantum particles.

But this is not what we do in spiritual practice. In spiritual path, this is how people see it:

1)When you look at a tree, there is a perception of a form. But where does this perception happen? It happens within the field of consciousness. So, a visual sense perception is actually one of the 36 units.

2)This visual perception is accomplished through eyes, hence eye as a sense organ is also one of the 36 units.

3)Is what is perceived a solid, liquid, gas, the heat which reacts with these three or the empty space in which it occurs? It is a perception of a solid structure. And this solid nature is made as one of the 36 units too, making it as one of the Panchabhutas.

4)Now, what kind of feeling does this perception create in the consciousness? It may create like, dislike or a neutral feeling. This is called manas and it is also one of the 36 units.

5)Does this perception trigger a memory? Oh yes… So memory or Chitta is also one of the 36.

6) What did I use to discriminate all these things? I used my intellect. So intellect or Buddhi is also one of the units.

7) Who is doing all this? It is just happening but it gives you an illusion that ‘you’ as a personal entity separate from the existence is doing it. This is ego or Ahankara is also one of the 36.

This way, people enumerated the contents of consciousness which was helpful for them to discriminate between the awareness and the contents of awareness.

So, this enumeration has got nothing to do with physics or chemistry as many people tend to believe. It is a process of deep investigation of the contents of the field of your conscious subjective experience itself.

The central Bindhu in the Kali Yantra or the central Linga in the Linga Bhairavi yantra represents the Atman, witness or your true nature. The 5 inverted triangle around the Bindu represents the Vedantic way of enumeration which is 5 koshas. They represent your body, breath, your mind, intellect and experience/bliss.

The eight lotuses represent Prakriti or nature and symbolize another way of enumeration. The eight things are solid, liquid, gas, heat, space, activity, inertia and balance. This is a bit outward focused and was probably added to symbolize the nature as we observe it through our five senses. A meditation using this Yantra will require a very complicated visualization.

I can go on and on and explain why Yantras have played a very important role in the spiritual history and how useful it is in meditation. Because using a Yantra has multiple purposes:

1)Taking advantage of classical conditioning and easily get into a meditative state.

2) Mnemonics to remember certain core pointers.

3) A map to construct temples.

4) Helps in the ‘doing’ oriented meditation like Shamatha, Ashtanga yoga etc because of the requirement of complex visualizations.

5)Prepares the ground for ‘non-doing’ oriented meditation: self-inquiry/mindfulness. This is the most important part. Everything that is done in a spiritual path is done to prepare oneself to the direct approach towards spiritual liberation.

When a seeker asked Ramana Maharshi about Shri Yantra, he replied very beautifully with no mumbo jumbo or nonsense:

Talk 405.
19th April 1937

A respectable and orthodox gentleman asked about Sri Chakra.

Ramana Maharishi: It has a deep significance. There are 43 corners with sacred
syllables in them. Its worship is a method for concentration of
mind. The mind is wont to move externally. It must be checked
and turned within. Its habit is to dwell on names and forms,
for all external objects possess names and forms. Such names
and forms are made symbolic mental conceptions in order to
divert the mind from external objects and make it dwell within
itself. The idols, mantras, yantras, are all meant to give food to
the mind in its introvert state, so that It may later become capable
of being concentrated, after which the superb state is reached
automatically.

I recently wrote a detailed post on my blog by making use of all the concepts used in Tantric meditations. You can read it here: A Shamatha Meditation Based on Symbolism, Visualization, Mnemonics and Classical Conditioning

It is about a 3-level meditation that also includes a Yantra, but a visually appealing one:

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