Throbbing Spanda

We were discussing Samādhi last night. Does the kundalini fire up the spine and crack open the skull? Can a person come back from that? I grasped at the questions for a long time trying to come up with a suitable answer. The closest: yes, the serpent fires up the spine but it is up to the practitioner to be sturdy enough to take it and not let it crack their skull. Then a willful practitioner can draw the energy back down and awakens changed.

I remembered stories of Sadhus who had decided their time had come. They went into the cave for the last time, sat in meditation. Their disciple(s) hear a giant crack indicating that the master has left his body through the top of his skull.

The Spanda Karikas is much more eloquent and down to earth in its answer to this question.

Spanda is the vibrational throbbing that is all things and emanates from all things. It is responsible for creation and dissolution and is timeless, constant and immortal. 

Verse 10 (Spanda Karikas)
Tadāsyākṛtrimo dharmo jñatvakartṛtvalakṣaṇaḥ/
Yatas tadepsitaṃ sarvaṃ jānāti ca karoti ca//10

"Then will flash forth his innate nature characterized by cognition and activity, by which he then knows and does all that is desired" (Singh, pg.64)

And so, according to Kashmir Shaivism the highest state is immediately followed not by stupefaction and inertia, but by a great doing. "Jānāti" means to know, but also to perceive, investigate, learn, or recognize. So once the stupefied "I" has been vanquished or starved to death, this great flash occurs. No complicated system of colored wheels that have to each be appeased in turn, just honest, simple discipline with an eventual and inevitable outcome. It is interesting to note karoti means action or motion and accompanied by vistha (vistha karoti) means to void excrement.

Verses 14, 15, 16 (Spanda Karikas)
Avasthāyugalaṃ cātra kāryakartṛtva-śabditam/
Kāryatā kṣayiṇī tatra kartṛtvam punarakṣayaṃ//14

Kāryonmukhaḥ prayatno yaḥ kevalaṃ so'tra lupyate/
Tasmin lupte vilupto'smityabudhaḥ pratipadyate//15

Na tu yo'antarmukho bhāvaḥ sarvajñatva-guṇāspadam/
Tasya lopaḥ kadācitsyād anyasyānupalambhanāt//16

"Of this spanda principle, two states are spoken of: the doer or the subject and the deed or the object. Of these two, the deed or the object is sure to decay but the doer or the subject is imperishable. 14
In the samādhi of the void, only the effort which is directed towards objectivity disappears. It is only a fool who, on the disappearance of that effort, thinks 'I have ceased to be'. 15
There can never be the disappearance of that inner nature which is the abode of the attribute of omniscience in the event of the non-perception of anything objective. 16" (Singh, pg. 80)

I am reminded of what buddhists say about reincarnation, "Same person, but different".

Also, what the Aghoris say, "If you smell rotting flesh, you are close." This last one has been the key to my sadhana and how I know my daily meditations are reasonably successful. Killing the lust of result often destroys the knowledge of desire, so signals like this can be important.

Bento #1: Quinoa w/apricots and pistachios, bacon, single egg omelet. Cucumber/tomato/chevre.
I've been cooking constantly. Working my way through all of Amadea Morningstar's Kichadis and creating elaborate lunches once a week. Cooking is a great way to see the future. This is why such great emphasis is placed on both digestion and excretion in all eastern medical theory. 

Bento #2: Single egg omelet, butter rice, black bean patties. Cucumber/tomato/greens.

Milarepa: I won't tell the whole story here, just the parts that stick with me. The pieces of his story that I think are important are certainly not the ones that most would, but they are what drew me to him as an important figure. I started thinking about this guy in 2003 and decided I would draw him shortly after he hit my radar. He is as close to yidam as I have gotten. Here is why:

  1. After the death of his father his uncle took all of the family's wealth and essentially enslaved Milarepa and his mother
  2. His mother wanted revenge and sent Milarepa off to study black magic
  3. Milarepa sent a hailstorm, killing 35 villagers who sympathized with his Aunt and Uncle
  4. Sent another hailstorm to destroy their crops
  5. Mastered Lung-gom-pa (wind meditation) which allowed him to travel extraordinary distances very quickly
  6. Found his revenge distasteful and set out to learn the Dharma
  7. Got drunk a lot while building a seemingly endless parade of towers for Marpa his guru
  8. Achieved enlightenment within the space of a single lifetime
  9. Needed more space in his cave, so he pushed the mountain upward (the alleged location still bears strange handprints to this day)

Milarepa's story it inspired me to find a recipe for Tibetan beer and maybe try my hand at it. It's made of rice and tibbo yeast. The rice is cooked and spread on a large mat, once it is cooled the yeast is spread on the rice. Then the brewer takes their clothes off and rolls on the mixture. The mixture is then bundled into the removed clothes and hung for 24 hours. Then it's placed into a pot and left to ferment for a month. It must have been cold walking back down the mountain after making this stuff.

Milarepa black and white ink drawing.

The above image is from a point in Milarepa's story where he returns to his cave to find it's been overrun by demons. Milarepa was wizened at this point and knew well the teachings of nonduality, that these demons were essentially his own. He thus recognized them as a projection of his own mind, but still didn't know how to get rid of them. He tried to teach them the dharma, to entreat them to be compassionate, and empty. No dice. He got angry and ran at them. They just laughed. He finally gave up and sat on the floor, "I'm not leaving and it looks like you aren't either, so we will have to live together."

They all left then, except one. "This one is particularly vicious". He walked to up to the demon and opened its jaws saying, "If you are here to eat me, you can". Then the final demon left.

Singh, J. (2005). Spanda-kārikās the divine creative pulsation. (6 ed., Vol. 1, pp. 64-80). Delhi: Motilil Benarsidass.