Various Forms in Play

June 23rd, 2010

A diagram from Rawson’s The Art of Tantra (see previous post) delineating “the essential process… whereby man’s world of reality is developed… as it is conceived in the… Sankhya philosophy of Tantra” (p181).

“Sankhya Tattva diagram, illustrating the manifestation processes of creation” (p182), cf. earlier post on the three gunas. Click for larger version.

“Many Hindu Tantrik images represent the first division of the creative urge into male and female, white and red… Without the division there can be no love, no activity or field of action, no puja can be made… Since the time of the oldest Upanisads, subject and object have been called ‘I’ and ‘This’… equated with male and female, Siva and Sakti, male and female dancer…

“The lower levels of the Sankhya diagram define all the various sub-functions and categories through which the original flow of Being-energy is channelled and subdivided to make up the experienced world of forms and time. It is, in fact, a full phenomenological ‘synthetic a priori‘ system, and it matches the pattern of the subtle body remarkably… An important point has always to be remembered. In every experience of every objective ‘This’ by every experiencer the female quantifier is absolutely necessary; but so too is the male reservoir of energy, which supplies the ‘Being’ from the side of the objective, the unitary consciousness of self from the side of the experiencer. Within every yoni, every active world-as-woman, is buried the lingam, the phallus, without which there would be no energy to inflate her pattern. To a primary male spark of Being (Prakasa) the Goddess offers Herself as the ‘Pure Mirror in which He reflects Himself’ (Vimarsa). There are innumerable icons in India which represent the Divine Pair either as a male and a female, He with erect organ, She holding a mirror, or as a single double-sexed being, divided down the centre, the right half male, again with an erect organ, the left half female.

“Philosophy, however, must not be allowed to delude itself with its own constructions. Whilst it may theoretically assume an original spark within the reflection, the moment it seeks to attribute to that spark any character or form it falls into delusion. For: ‘Whatever power anything possesses, that is Goddess… Into the hollows of her hair-pores millions of cosmic eggs constantly disappear… She grants the desires of sadhakas by assuming various forms in play.’ But ‘She who is absolute Being, Bliss, and Consciousness may be thought of as female, male or pure [neuter] Brahman; in reality she is none of these.’ Even these are simply forms She assumes to make sadhana possible” (p181-183).

A Pair of Snakes

June 11th, 2010

Speaking of caducei in Tibetan Tantrism (see previous post), a Basohli painting collected in Rawson’s The Art of Tantra.

A ca. 1700 (in one part, invisible) caduceus (p84). Click for larger version.