A TALE OF THE FEMININE
A rite-of-passage following the solstice.
Moving into nature’s introversion, and
ritualsticly honouring the bleeding of the Goddess
The very fuel of the Tantric journey is desire.
The unconscious bindings are mirrored in the physical & psychic worlds… in the object of desire
Kamakhya is the Goddess of desire!
She is at the essence of all desires
Those who envision the Goddess,
undertake Tantric pilgrimage
across landscapes both inner and outer,
to receive the blessing of Kamakhya.
The story of Kamakhya goes that there was once a king who worshiped the Goddess Adiparashakti.
Adiparashakti represents the original pure feminine essence.
Adi means origin, Para means beyond, and Shakti means Goddess.
By his Tapasya (Yogic austerity), the king was able to call forth the Goddess who granted him a wish.
He wished that she would take birth in human form as his own daughter.
Adiparashakti agreed to this, on the condition that she be honoured in whatever she did.
She said that if she were ever insulted by him, then she would take up her spiritual form and abandon him.
This symbolism reveals how the feminine must be honoured and allowed her freedom if she is to give her blessing and being, and, if she ever be dishonoured, then she no longer can exist.
It shows how the Feminine must stand for itself, and can only give her presence where it is received in its entirety.
The Tantric ‘quest’,
is the seeking to nurture the ground,
so that it’s a fertile place for Shakti to bloom.
The birth of Adipatashakti on earth represents the manifestation of the feminine on the earth plane.
In time the daughter was born and named Sati.
Being the manifestation of the Goddess, she sought union with her opposite, and she only found this… manifest in one rare man.
This man was Shiva, who was her equal opposite.
Oh but Shiva was ascetic, reclusive and remote.
He was too austere, and far beyond any interest in human affairs.
Adiparashakti had come down from the spiritual world to the human manifest level.
Shiva on the other hand, stood in the human world, but travelled far beyond into the spiritual dimensions. They were both at opposite poles.
Nothing that Sati could do would get Shiva’s attention.
Shiva lived in the mountains, occupying a small cave, from where he was transported to the ultra-terrestrial realms beyond the human… during his states of profound and focused Samadhi.
As a human, Shiva was cold and disinterested, but Sati had as her mission to bring the masculine divine quality to earth, to join her in the dance of Shakti Shiva.
And indeed the Tandav dance did begin through her efforts to unite, as we shall soon see.
Once upon a time, Sati entered Shiva’s cave with her full femininity on display, but the austere Yogi did not shift from his concentration.
Shiva’s Yog was so concentrated that he was far away from human sentiments.
Sati then hatched a plan and summoned Kamadev, the raw force (and god) of Desire.
Kama swept into the cave, certain to arouse the interest and passion of the ascetic Shiva.
Usually the mere fragrance exuded by Kamadev would be sufficient to arouse desire in the most ardent ascetic.
But Shiva was so far beyond the human. He perpetually dwelt in Adiparaparush (the great soul beyond).
And so Kamadev resorted to his sugarcane bow of magical arrows, and proceeded to shooot Shiva with five of them.
Kamadev’s arrows represent the desire of the 5 terrestrial Chakras of the body.
The upper two centres in the head are the abode of Shiva and are portals beyond the terrestrial world… They be Kailash and Kashi.
Each of the 5 bodily arrows is represented a flower.
The first arrow that Kama shot Shiva with was a Lotus and represents the Base Chakra. Having struck Shiva in the Mooladar Chakra, it had no effect.
The second arrow was the Asoka flower. It is a fragrance connected to the second Shakti Chakra. Kamadev shot the arrow straight in Shiva’s lingam, but again it had no effect.
The third flower was a Mango flower, representing the desire of the Solar Plexus. Yet shooting Shiva in the Manipurchakra did nothing to awaken Shiva from his Samhadi.
Next Kamadev shot the Jasmine flower straight into the Heart Chakra, which again caused not a reaction in Shiva.
Kamadev drew out the Blue Lotus flower and aimed it at Shiva’s throat Chakra. The Blue Lotus had never failed to arouse desire, but it failed on Shiva.
Having failed for the first time ever, Kamadev’s two wives stepped up to the task.
Rati and Priti: Each one representing pleasure and longing.
Caressing Shivas half naked body, Rati was surprised she could not get a reaction out of the ascetic Yogi.
So Priti stepped forward and put the palm of her left hand across Shiva’s heart.
Oh and the longing found its way into Shiva’s Heart Chakra.
In the space between the beats, the longing entered inside Shiva’s heart.
This brought Shiva out of his Samadhi for a short moment, during which he opened his Third-Eye, and cast a burning gaze upon Kamadev, burning him to a crisp in raging flames, and reducing him to ashes.
Kama (desire) was no more, and creation was in peril, yet Shiva refused to concern himself with such matters.
Sati wept profound tears, believing she would never know union, and she wandered why she had ever come down to the manifested plane from her Adiparashakti form.
Shiva proved as cold as ice in the Himalayan abode upon his seat of snow.
Yet, as he heard the tears of Adiparashakti (the essence of woman beyond the visible), he began to melt from his immovable Samadhi, and so the Adiparaparush awoke on the earth plane to find union with Adiparashakti.
The meeting and union of opposites
was finally expressed,
and all was brought to fulfilment.
Sati implored Shiva to restore Kamadev to life… for the longing without desire, is the deepest form of sorrow: It is the state of Pardesi, meaning the ultimate lostness.
Shiva promised to restore desire, and in due course it was so.
But first Shiva was to suffer the curse of Pardesi himself, as we shall soon see…
Pardesi… The one who longs with no object of desire!
There are various ways the story can be told, but the basic detail is that Sati brought Shiva to her father who could not accept this wild untamed creature who stood outside of royal convention – a Yogi half naked with matted hair and a mysterious unfathomable aura that intimidated the King.
A fight ensued and Sati felt deeply insulted by her father, who became possessed by anger and broke the promise of honouring his daughter.
True to her promise of staying only if honoured, Adiparashakti departed and left her physical form. The body of Sati fell to the flames and into the ritual fire that should rather have marked sacred marriage.
As the Goddess departed, she cursed the fire and the masculine element of light to never be able to show the way alone.
She returned to the original void that is the dark womb of the Goddess. the place from whence she came.
This curse reveals how the masculine fire element should not burn so bright as to make the feminine invisible or incinerated.
Interestingly, the chief mode of worship amongst the male lineages in orthodox Indian religion has been the ritual fire.
For the Tantrics, orthodox convention means very little, and within Tantric lines, many orthodox taboos are traversed in giving honour and balance to the feminine.
The story could end there, but the longing of Shiva had been aroused and he became maddened by the events.
He took Sati’s burned body and wouldn’t let go of it.
He becomes a lost wanderer roaming in longing endlessly.
In endless longing he roamed.
Wandering, wandering in hopeless night.
Full of longing, with no place for his desire, Shiva went half mad with rage, and began the dance of Tandav. He became the howling force of destruction that is Rudra,
The Dance of Tandav, comprises 108 yogic moves that when put together become a dance. They are very vigorous dynamic moves practiced carefully and secretly by Tantrics.
Rudra is the howling, raging form of Shiva.
The Rudra Tandav is a Hatha Yog practice that brings latent subconscious anger into motion. Tantrics dance it at the time of Kamakhya Puja.
The Rudra Tandav brings the flame of desire to the red heat of awareness.
Shiva’s rage was so great it left his body as he tore out his Jatta (matted hair), from whence two fierce forms rose and wreaked further destruction: Bhadra Kali and Veer Bhadra.
These two represent ‘rage’ and ‘pain’ so deep, that they tear the soul apart.
Together they form the male and female destructive forces known as Manobhadra.
They are the pinnacle of destructive polarities within the soul.
When the situation goes so far as to bring Manobadra forth, there is little hope for balance, for they both seek the Maha Pralaya, which means the utter annihilation and dissolution of life.
Veera Bhadra sliced off the head of Sati’s father and Bhadra Kali sunk her teeth into it, consuming it with several crunches.
The gaze of the Manobhadra fell on the body and caused the headless father to run amok in the worst state of suffering a soul can ever know.
Shiva danced so long that he became Bhairav… his most terrifying form.
The dance of destruction was near to consuming all of creation and there seemed to be no way back.
The rotting body of Sati was flung around the mountains, parts of it falling on 108 places.
These 108 places are the Shakti Peeths where there temples of the Goddess can now be found.
Orthodox tradition recognises only 51 or so of these temples, but the Tantrics know of the lesser known ones which compromise 108 in all.
They are places of power that relate to points of magnetism on the earth plane.
One can experience profundities by simply being there.
Some of the Shakti Peeths are dangerous to go to if unprepared, as the magnetism and energy there can overstimulate the system.
The spirits at these places can be very strong, and require ritual to prepare for, or the guidance of a Siddha.
Hence the secrecy surrounding many of these temples.
The main Kamakhya Tempe is a Shakti Peeth, where the Yoni and Womb of the Goddess Sati landed as Shiva danced the Tandav.
The Kamakhya Tempe closes its doors with the first days of the darkening half of the year, and honours the feminine rhythm of nature.
It closes for the her bleeding each year… these are are the bleeding nights of Kamakhya Puja.
This is the menstruation of nature after the longest day of solstice bleeds into darkening nights.
The lengthening nights become the menstrual flow of nature.
The temple might seem, small but it is very deep and extends far underground with many secret chambers.
Little is known about this side of the temple, and those Yogins who work rituals there, are able to obtain Siddhi (powers) such as to extend the life beyond the standard measure… as the influx of energy is profound in the temple.
There is a stone yoni upon which a mystical spring pours.
It is said that the water turns to blood at the time of the menstruation of the Kamakhya festival.
The river surrounding the temple, known as the Brahmaputra river, magically turns red for the days that the temple is closed. It is said to be the menses of Kamakhya.
And so the Story continues…
Shiva’s Tandav was so extreme that it broke the boundaries of the physical world and tore the fabric of reality, taking its destructive hunger into the spiritual worlds.
Shiva was burning and himself becoming the accursed fire.
His suffering and rage were beyond measure.
As the dance continued for endless ages, the headless father in his torture pleaded to Adiparashakti for her mercy, for breaking his oath as a father.
His suffering was so great but he could not even scream it out!
Adiparashakti watched from beyond the veils.
She still longed for union, as it was in her nature… being the force of nature that she was.
She therefore took birth once again as Pharbhati, the daughter and sacred feminine glow of the mountains.
And in the coldest regions, she prayed intensely that she could ground the full Adiparashakti force upon the earth-plane.
Fearlessly, she went to the crazed Shiva and sat upon his lingam, and in her ice-coldness, she appeased the fire of suffering.
The story then found completion… as the polarities between and beyond the manifest, unified in all ways.
Kamadev was brought back to life, as Shiva had promised.
Desire and longing united and healed the soul.
Some even say the headless father was re-headed.
Others say he can still be seen running amok and headless.
Through the Union of Adiparashakti and Shiva… order was restored.
The Manobhadra melted away as Love grew.
The Garden bloomed once more with magical flowers.