Thunderbolts, Cows, Progeniture and Snakes – Bhagavad Gita, Ch 10, Vs 28-29

Lord Shiva's Thunderbolt
Lord Shiva with Trident and Thunderbolt

The Power of God & You

The manifestations of God in the world, in you, and in the entire universe.

The eighteen chapters of the Bhagavad Gita is a conversation between Arjuna and his childhood friend and Guru, Lord Krishna. Arjuna has asked Him to explain how He, as Absolute God, exists within Creation (beginning with verses 19-20, “God in You”):

Thunderbolts, Cows, Progeniture and Snakes

28
Of weapons, I am the thunderbolt, and of cows I am Kamadhuk. Of progenitors, I am Kandarpa, and of serpents, I am Vasuki. 

Alternate translation:
Of instruments of power, I am the Thunderbolt. Of cows, I am Kamadhuk, the wish-fulfilling cow. Of progenitors, I am Kandarpa the inciter, and of snakes, I am Vāsuki, the hidden wisdom within.

The thunderbolt of Lord Shiva is called vajra, which means ‘hard and mighty’ and is associated with indestructibility, and consequently, with diamonds.

Kamadhuk, or Kamadhenu, ‘the wish-fulfilling cow’, is discussed in chapter three, The Golden Womb

Kandarpa, the progenitor, means ‘inciter’, from kan (satisfying) + darpa, from the root drip (extravagantly delighted).

Vāsuki, from vāsu, ‘indwelling’ and ki, ‘knowing’. Vasuki is the chief of three snake-kings. He is the serpent the gods and the demons used as a rope for twisting round Mount Mandara to churn the milky ocean and recover the amrita, the nectar of immortality. The nectar was lost in the deluge during the dissolution of the last Manvantara, the previous time period of Creation (306,720,000 of our years).

The other two snake-kings are Shesha, the ‘remainder’ after purification, and Taksha, ‘cutting through’.

The Remainder: The ingesting of the remainder on the part of the body leads to khechari mudra, ‘flying in the air seal’.

Cutting Through begins due to the purification process leaving behind only what is pure, the ‘remainder’, and refers to cutting through all the underlying causes of attachments. This can only begin after sufficient purification leaves a ‘remainder’ to be ingested.

Vasuki is the indwelling knowledge of this, as well as where it will take you. This knowledge is awakened by the guru and accessed through the God-practice taught by the guru (i.e., Lord Krishna). Then the ingestion of the Remainder and Cutting Through will come about on their own, naturally.

Previously, we talked about ‘flying up powerfully‘. When flying up becomes ‘sealed’, or ‘secured’, this is called khechari mudra.  At this point, one must know how to proceed and goes to guru for guidance. Thus does one’s ‘indwelling knowing’ (Vāsuki) become verified and one enters a new phase of surrender yoga sadhana.

Why snakes? Snakes represent desires, the underlying cause of attachments. They are ‘cut away’ by the purification process of khechari mudra, and putting into action the indwelling knowledge of Vāsuki.

 

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29
Of snakes I am Ananta, and of waters, I am Varuna. Of ancestors, I am Aryaman, and of that which holds things together, I am Yama.  
Ananta

Ananta is seen as a snake with his mouth circling back to eat its tail. This circular formation symbolizes endlessness, the no-beginning-no-end of Eternity, the unlimitedness of God. Once again we ask, Why a snake? especially if snakes represent desires?

Ananta is the ultimate desire that keeps everything going. If we think of a desire as something we are attracted to and seek to have, it is understandable that desire makes the world go around. As Lord Krishna’s states, “I am that desire which is not contrary to dharma,” we learn of a desire that is God Itself. It is this longing for God/Truth that is this desire. It prompts us to seek God/Truth and to take up the God-practice that is yoga (uniting). 

Ananta, 1000 headed snake

Ananta is also depicted as a thousand-headed snake. The number 1000 expresses a multitude or totality of something, imperishability and infinity. The name Ananta means ‘infinite, immortal, unending, without limit.’

Varuna, from vri, ‘to surround, or envelop’, is Lord of the Waters, enveloping not only the earth, but the depths of the oceans and the all-enveloping surrounder of the denizens of the waters.

Varuna, Lord of the Waters

Varuna is lord of the waters of heaven, the ‘celestial waters’ in the head. We might think of this as soma or amrita, or any feature we might imagine as fluid-like, such as hormones seeping through the endocrine (ductless) glands.

Water also represents purification, and that from which manifestation arises.

DNA
We are climbing Jacob’s ladder.

Aryaman, ‘Chief of the Ancestors’ is ‘the dear friend and companion’. He presides over the lunar mansion of Uttara, meaning left, upper and north.

The path of the left is north, the upper-going, or ascendent path. Being chief of the ancestors, Aryaman is the chief of DNA in the body, and the direction, or path, by which the purified (or corrected) DNA (bindi), ascends. Thus is he a friend.

Yama is the King of Death. His father is Vivasvat, the Sun, and the Manu of our current Manvantara (time period). His mother’s name is Samjna, ‘together, the same, in harmony with’. 

Yama, Lord of DeathThe word yama means both ‘restrainer or subduer’ and ‘twins or pairs’. Yama restrains, or holds, pairs together as a unit, reminding us once again of DNA. 

The Sanskrit for ‘restrainer and subduer’ is samyama, the term Patanjali uses to demonstrate concentration, meditation and equanimity taken together as samadhi, ‘the little death’ of yoga (union), the last of the eight steps of Yoga. Interestingly, Yama is also the first step of Yoga consisting of five principles descriptive of God and You-as-you-really-are. Mastery of the yamas brings about successful yoga, special powers, and success in life.

Namaste (I bow to the divine one you really are),
Durga Ma
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Enlightenment & Non-Attachment

Lord Krishna has been bringing up non-attachment since chapter two. Now we are hearing about how to get unattached, but the solution is almost as enigmatic as the problem.

“In this world, one is bound by action, except for actions for the purpose of sacrifice. Free of attachment, act for this purpose, Arjuna.”  — Verse 9

Attachment
Attachment – bond, fetter

What is attached to what?

The above verse appears to suggest that you are attached to things and that you shouldn’t be. It reads like that. It feels like that. But it is not you that is attached.

What gets attached to things is one or more of your senses. That is what needs to become “free of attachment”. You cannot become free of attachments until the senses themselves become separated from the things they attach to, their ‘objects’. This happens automatically when the sense organs become separated from the sense faculties* in meditation (pratyahara).

You appear to be attached to things
due to identification with the
body and senses.

* Sense faculties - your powers of perception; your ability to see, hear, etc.

Non-Attachment
Freedom, liberation

Non-attachment comes in stages and over time through the consistent practice of meditation. At first, it shows up as you finding your meditation practice more desirable than other things, i.e., objects of sense (everything ‘out there’ qualifies for this label). Then one day in your meditation, you have your first direct experience and become completely enamored of your practice—you had a taste of true non-attachment when your sense faculties became separated from their physical organs, and you had a profound experience. Now you are hooked, and you want more.

In later stages of Yoga, other kinds of ‘attachments’ reveal themselves, but no worries, they will be dealt with in due course in the same way. One example is khechari mudra, where the tongue begins to try to rise up into the pharynx and can’t because it is ‘attached’. The point is, it is not you that is attached. It never has been.

You will remember that I said earlier that my own perspective is surrender, which is not well-known. It is traditional in that it has a lineage of masters a mile long, but the practice itself will not be known or understood by someone outside of it. So the solution is going to be different than would be the case with a more widely known form of yoga sadhana. Not being of such a path, I do not feel qualified to speak on this subject from that perspective, but can give you an idea of the solution to non-attachment according to my own path.

The Solution

Enlightenment

Enlightenment is said by some to have been reached when there is no ego, no ‘me’. But as long as there is a form, there is some degree of ego*, and as long as there is a mind, there is an ego, for it is the very core of the mind. I tend to think of the ‘me’ as a simple misidentification, and that the way to undo this is through realization of non-doership, which separates you from nature (that stuff ‘out there’) and is true non-attachment, and the highest enlightenment.

The realization of non-doership happens when you realize that you don’t do anything and never have. This is not limited to realizing that it’s the Real You that does nothing, but that even the you that you think you are does nothing. It just looks like it does. All action is just nature doing her thing. When you get this you’re done with karma. You are not compelled to come back here to this world again. This is why non-attachment is necessary for achieving moksha, liberation.

* Ego - Sanskrit, ahamkara - 'I do'.

Surrender

Surrender is not the same thing as the innocence of childhood but it looks a lot like it, and by thinking about it this way, you’ll get an idea of what I mean by ‘surrender’. The only real difference between innocence and surrender is that you are conscious of surrendering in meditation because you have chosen it, you have something specific to surrender, and you have surrendered it to something specific: God, or whatever your word is for that. Whereas a child is just doing what comes naturally. What they both have in common is this natural spontaneity.

Lest you be like a little child you shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.

Because what we really are is currently occupied with being imperfect humans, this surrender is limited to the meditation room. If we could master all five of the yamas and all five of the niyamas here in this world, we could let this restriction go, but I do not recommend that you assume yourself to have reached this exalted state. However, if you have, I bow at your holy feet.

Direct perception is a direct experience, but direct experience is not necessarily direct perception.

Namaste (I bow to the Divine One that You really are),
Durga Ma
durgama.com

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The Fifth Chakra

Chakra: Wheel, discus, circle, mystical diagram. Chakras are energy centers, intersections of nadis (channels) in the body. When activated, chakras spin, open out, expand, and present their good qualities along with their less desirable characteristics.

The fifth chakra is located in the region of the throat, has sixteen petals, sixteen vibrational sound frequencies identified by specific Sanskrit syllables, and is associated with purification. Its mystical diagram is the sphere, the color is blue (or smokey), the sense organ is the ears, the sense faculty is sound, the element is ether (space), the elemental color is green.

The name of the fifth chakra is vishuddha. The word vishuddha is from shuddha, meaning ‘cleared, purified’, with the prefix, vi, which intensifies the idea of purity, so ‘vishuddha‘ then, means ‘completely cleansed and purified’. Prana’s function is purification.

Prana’s function is purification.
Kundalini’s function is evolution.

Kundalini’s function is evolution. The word ‘evolution’, from the Latin, evolvere, ‘to roll out of’, means ‘unrolling, wheeling around, opening out, unfolding”. (Sound familiar?) Evolution is gradual. Things don’t happen all at once. The chakras are first activated by prana, spinning and opening out in any order for the purpose of purification. After prana has achieved a sufficient degree of purification, they are dealt with by kundalini in serial order for the purpose of evolution.

At the fourth chakra you had contact with the adepts; here, at the fifth chakra, you become one yourself. Once the energy can pass this chakra, patterns and conditionings that have run your life and affected your body can begin to change and lose their influence.

Vishnu Loka

After we pierced the Brahmagranthi, we moved from Brahma Loka, the World of Creation, into Vishnu Loka, the World of Sustenance. Vishnu is the Sustainer-Maintainer and this is Her world. Not only does She sustain and maintain life, but She also sustains our progress, so we definitely want to reach this landmark in our journey. Once here, She opens our hearts at chakra number four, and now, at chakra number five, this unconditional love becomes expressed through anahata nada,’unstruck sound’.

Anahata nada takes place when the energy arrives at the fifth chakra, with vocalizations, chanting and singing. What is meant by ‘unstruck’ here is that these sounds are not made by you, but are spontaneously generated in meditation.

Khechari Mudra 

The piercing of the fifth chakra allows for the energy to rise up through the throat to the sixth chakra. This stimulates the glands underneath the tongue, and the pituitary gland, so that the hormones of the pituitary begin to flow. At a certain stage, the hands will come up in cup fashion, and the tongue will roll up and go into the phaynx and block it. This is khechari mudra, the ‘flying-up seal’. It stops the breath completely.

Khechari (flying in the air) mudra (seal), is not the same as the breathless state that we talked about earlier. With khechari, one could actually die. If it is not done in a surrendered state, it is dangerous, but done fully surrendered, shakti handles everything, and shakti makes no mistakes. With the piercing of the Brahmagranthi, khechari mudra can take place and ‘upward flow’ can begin. By stimulating the pituitary, the nectar of immortality (amrita) coming from the pituitary, can be absorbed into the body. At this point, the transformation of the physical body begins.

When the energy flows upward, it must be pure, otherwise impurities will go up with the energy, and if the flow is intense enough, this can be dangerous. This is why willful kundalini techniques must be avoided. The use of willful techniques cannot bring the degree of purity necessary for upward flow to be safe.  

The solution to this is to practice Surrender Meditation until your surrender is adequate, and to have thoroughly gone through the preliminary steps (i.e., yama, niyama, asana, etc). Then, the whole body can be pervaded with the nectar and become transformed naturally into the Divine Body form. This is the last phase of kundalini.

Aches and Accomplishments

When the throat chakra is being pierced, your inherent power will become completely available to you. Latent talents will begin to turn on, and you will be able to sway and control people, make money, and get what you want. You have a choice at this point: you can either get caught up in these things, or you can give them back to God and continue with Surrender Meditation until you have purified these temptations out of existence. Then the flow of the energy through the throat chakra can get as intense as it wants until it is resolved.

With mastery of the fifth chakra, you will understand the scriptures and their mysteries, enjoy the bliss of the inner world, and thousands of years will appear as so many moments.   

Namaste,
Durga Ma
durgama.com

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