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► Chapter 1: Celestial Dance of Shiva and Shakti
► Chapter 2: In the dual waters of the Mind
► Chapter 3: Consciousness full of Nectar
Journey with the Moon
Table of Contents
Chapter 1: Celestial Dance of Shiva and Shakti
Chapter 2: In the dual waters of the Mind
Chapter 3: Consciousness full of Nectar
Chapter 4: Biorhythms of the Moon
Chapter 5: Music of the skies
Chapter 6: Dance of Time in Kalachakra
Chapter 7: Nitya Devis – Goddesses of Eternity
Chapter 8: Kameshwari – Goddess of Love
Chapter 9: Bhagamalini – Garlanded with luck
Chapter 10: Nityaklinna – Eternally wet Goddess
Chapter 11: Bherunda – Terrible Goddess
Chapter 12: Vahnivasini – Fire-dweller
Chapter 13: Vajreshwari – Adamant Goddess
Chapter 14: Shivaduti – Messenger of Shiva
Chapter 15: Tvarita – Swift Goddess
Chapter 16: Kulasundari – Hidden Beauty
Chapter 17: Nitya – Eternal Mother
Chapter 18: Nilapataka – Goddess with a blue flag
Chapter 19: Vijaya – Victorious Goddess
Chapter 20: Sarvamangala – All-auspicious One
Chapter 21: Jwalamalini – Garlanded with flames
Chapter 22: Citra – Colourful Goddess
Chapter 23: Your chart from perspective of Tithis
Chapter 24: Sadhana – praying with the Moon
About the Author
cakṣur unmīlitaṁ yena
tasmai śrī-gurave namaḥ
Before I start this book I wish to bow down to my Satguru, Paramahamsa Sri Swami Vishwananda, as without Guru’s blessing no work can be complete. Without His inspiration, timeless wisdom and spiritual practices, this book could never come into being.
Secondly, I wish to bow down to the Supreme Goddess, Adi Shakti, who in Her kindness allowed me to have a glimpse of some of Her mysteries. She is the power behind everything, be it outer universe or inner universe. The entire Creation is nothing else but Her playground.
My personal journey with the Moon started already years ago, when for the first time I came in contact with Vedic astrology and the mysteries of Nitya Devis presiding over different lunar phases. But the entire process of writing this book and collecting all the experiences and pieces of information gathered over the years greatly deepened my connection with the tithis. During the entire process of writing this book, I would meditate with Divine Mother in Her exact form, exact yantra and exact mantra every night, while during the day She would somehow guide me to the exact scripture and exact verses, which were hiding the missing pieces of information.
Few people take effort to dive really deeply into the topic of lunar phases – but once you get amazed by their beauty, you will keep coming back to them over and over again. And everytime you will learn something new from them. After all, they are Nitya Devis, “Goddesses of Eternity”. Although they are the rulers of Time, their wisdom is timeless and limitless. Not without a reason scriptures say that except Supreme Goddess, nothing and nobody is higher than them. They are the true powers of Time.
The knowledge, which you will find in this book is sacred and it is not only to be read, but also to be meditated on. Nobody can be a greater teacher than your own experience. I hope you will find this journey inspiring.
Celestial Dance of Shiva and Shakti
Eternal dance of Sun and Moon, celestial representatives of Divine masculine principle and Divine feminine principle, Shiva and Shakti, has inspired yogis, rishis, astrologers, poets and seers since time immemorial.
“She the Night makes all the worlds sleep. He the Day is verily the waker-up of all.”
He is the giver of light (Prakasha), while She is the reflection (Vimarsha). Their unique relation, reflecting the sacred relationship between Divine Mother and Divine Father, although one and eternal, keeps manifesting through different moments in time in countless forms. Every relationship is a mere reflection of this eternal relation between the individual and the Supreme. Whenever there is any “I” and any “you” a Divine relationship is formed in one of its unique moods.
Every such a moment, unique with its qualities and celestial rays, represents a different form of relation between Shiva and Shakti, and gives birth to different results. Vedic rishis have perceived in their meditation fifteen forms of this universal relationship between Shiva and Shakti, which correlate to fifteen phases of the Moon. They called them tithis.
Tithis are nothing else but solilunar days in Vedic astrology based on the apparent distance between the Sun and the Moon on our sky, which determines Moon phases, as well. All ancient traditions were calling the Sun, the Father, and the Moon, the Mother. In the light of modern science this couldn’t be more accurate. The light of the Sun and its warmness is indeed infusing the Earth with creative energy and sustains our life here. But not everyone knows, that without the Moon, most likely there wouldn’t be any life on Earth, either. It is our Moon’s gravitational influence that helped ensure that Earth’s spin axis and climate remained stable over long timescales, which is essential for the life to survive on our planet. As much as the influence of the Sun impregnated the Earth with life, the influence of the Moon preserves it. Thus the influence of Sun is active, masculine and inspiring, while the influence of the Moon is passive, feminine and nourishing.
There is something deep and sacred in the distance between the Sun, the Earth and the Moon, which is already mentioned in Vedas. The diameter of the Sun is about 108 times that of the diameter of Earth. The average distance between the Earth and the Sun is 108 times the Sun’s diameter. The average distance from the Earth to the Moon is about 108 times the Moon’s diameter. This is actually why the Moon appears the same size as the Sun during eclipses. Dr. Manoj Chalam made a hypothesis, that “the ratio of 108 may be the key to finding planets hospitable to life outside of our solar system” and suggested that we just need to “look toward this same size and distance relationship”.
There is an obvious sacredness about number 108. Not without a reason it is mentioned several time in Vedas. It is also a very important number in Vedic astrology. In the science of Jyotish there are 27 nakshatras, 27 lunar mansions working behind the solar zodiac of 12 signs. Each nakshatra has four quarters, called padas. This gives 9 quarters per one zodiac sign. 9 x 12 = 108. By dividing the main natal chart into nine parts, we receive so called navamsha, the most sacred chart to study in Vedic astrology, which is revealing the true path of our soul in this lifetime. This particular topic is going to become even more interesting, when we will dive deeper into the mysteries of Moon’s phases.
Divine romance between Sun and Moon
Sun’s brightness is unchangeable. It shines with equal light, regardless of its position on the sky. It doesn’t judge. It favours no one. Its dharma doesn’t change with time. Its only purpose is to shine and to give light. This is why in Vedic astrology Sun is perceived as natural Atma karaka, the light of the soul, which stays unchangeable regardless of the different life circumstances and moods of the mind. Sun represents the state of Shiva.
The brightness of the Moon, however, is dependent on the light of the Sun and the distance between them. Moon doesn’t have any light on her own – she reflects the light of the Sun. Similarly, our mind doesn’t have any brightness on its own. Any brightness manifested through it, is the light of the soul that shines through the veil of maya covering it.
Shiva is the Sun, the light of the soul, while Shakti is the Moon, the individual mind, which takes part in a Divine game of life, and is sensitive to different moods of the present moment.
Moon, in Vedic astrology, is our present moment. It alters the eternal burning light of the Sun and turns it into nourishing, motherly love, providing us different qualities in different moments in time, depending on the nakshatra (Vedic constellation) it sits in and its distance from the Sun. Sometimes its capacity to reflect the light of the Sun will be higher, sometimes it will be lower. Sometimes it will be moving away from the Sun, and sometimes it will be moving back towards it. Even though the face of the Moon is always turned towards the Sun, as Earth and Moon are tidally locked, from our earthly perspective sometimes we will perceive the Moon as waxing, and sometimes as waning. Waxing and waning are two main moods of the Divine Mother.
In Vedic astrology the path of waxing Moon and waning Moon was split into 15 lunar days or tithis each. Fifteen days of waxing Moon and fifteen days of waning Moon give together a 30-day long soli-lunar month, which is the basis of Vedic calendar.
Bright path and dark path of the Goddess
Divine Mother sometimes moves away from Shiva, and sometimes comes back to Him. The Moon sometimes moves away from the Sun, and sometimes comes back to it. Same is with our soul. Although all of us come from the Divine, when we undergo the process of individuation, we move away from our Divine origin to find our true self and realise our individual purpose. Sooner or later, however, the longing to merge back with the Supreme Consciousness awakens in each one of us. If not in this lifetime, then in another. Over and over again countless souls move away from Supreme Consciousness, to rediscover themselves one more time and again return to their Source. It is a Divine romance, which sets whole creation into motion. It is an eternal love story between the soul and its Beloved, which all the yogis yearn to have a glimpse of. It is an inborn yearning of each soul. It is the particle of Supreme Goddess within us and a deep longing to be reunited with Her only true Beloved.
As my Gurudev, Paramahamsa Vishwananda, has beautifully said: “Nothing in this universe exists without Love, as all is the Lord Himself and His Love is constantly in movement.”
When the Moon moves away from the Sun, when the Goddess moves away from Shiva to rediscover Herself, to understand Her purpose and to reflect Shiva’s light into the outer world in its full glory, the Moon is waxing. In Vedic astrology we call it Shukla paksha – the bright fortnight. In Shukla paksha Goddess becomes curious about the world and understanding Her true potential. She wishes to interact, to play, to manifest, to communicate and to bestow Her boons. She looks towards the outside. With each of Her steps She discovers a new quality (kala) within Herself. Yet, as She becomes brighter and brighter, She moves away from the Sun, Her true Beloved. She enters the material world. The fullness of individuality can be learned only from the distance. And being so, in every relationship some distance is needed for the self-discovery to happen, as well.
When the Goddess finally realises fullness of Her potential during the Full Moon, a peak moment, when She is at maximum distance from the Sun and when She reflects the fullness of light; when Her desires become satiated and there is nothing else to fulfill, no more light to be reflected, the Divine longing awakens in Her heart. She starts to long and cry for Her Beloved Shiva. With each of Her tears She loses some of Her brightness. With each of Her steps, She moves one step closer to Her Beloved. She realises that She has been distanced from Her origin, and She yearns to come back to it. She abandons all the brightness of the external world and becomes more introvert and more humble. She slowly detaches Herself from each of Her qualities gained on Her way in Shukla paksha, so She can reunite again with Shiva on the New Moon day, when She merges back completely into Him. When Goddess is returning to Her Beloved, the Moon is waning. We call it Krishna paksha – the dark fortnight.
Like that, each and every month, the Goddess moves away from Shiva and returns back to Him. She distances Herself from the Source, to reunite with it again. One lunar month is a complete cycle of Her sacred journey of self-discovery. And, as the Mother represents our mind itself, She takes us all on that journey with Her. Wherever She moves, She holds us on Her lap. She is the present moment, which holds us closely to its bosom – like a loving mother would do.
On Her way through the sky, when She forms fifteen different dance positions with Shiva, the Supreme Consciousness, and manifests fifteen different moods and fifteen different qualities of light, She assumes fifteen different aspects. Sometimes She will be more playful, sometimes She will be more strict. Sometimes She will bring us happiness, sometimes sadness. Like a wise mother She will teach us the story of life, so we can become fit to rediscover our own life’s purpose. Sometimes we would embrace those lessons with an open heart, but sometimes we would reject them, according to our personal likes and dislikes. No wonder that highest Goddess always holds in Her hands pasha (the noose representing our likes and attachments) and ankusha (the goad representing our dislikes). If we choose to focus on Her supreme beauty instead of our likes and dislikes, leaving them both in Her hands and accepting with a childlike trust that the present moment is always bringing us exactly what we need, nourishing us like the Divine Mother in many different ways, we can live our life happy and contented, surrendered to the will of the Divine and noticing Her blessings, even if they come in the form of apparent adversities. If we could notice the Divine in every single moment of life, in every single situation, mood or living being, that would be nothing smaller than enlightenment. That would be the Full Moon of the soul.
My personal journey with the Goddess
My personal experience with the Goddess wasn’t an easy one. There were many things that were experienced on the way, which are going to stay forever only between me, Her and my Gurudev. She was the one, through whom I got attracted to Vedic astrology. I never had any interest to learn how to predict future or read charts. In the science of Jyotisha I was seeking something much deeper and much more beneficial for the individual soul’s development: to understand what the present moment is bringing me and which Divine lessons the universe is sending me, so I can become a better human being.
On spiritual path it is very easy to fall prey to our pride and stay blind to our own faults and mistakes. But the stars will never lie. Whenever you will make a mistake, they will always reveal this to you with astonishing clarity. They will try, over and over again, to bring you to the right path – like the Divine Mother, who never loses faith in Her child. This is why certain basic knowledge of astrology, especially from spiritual angle, is something that is of great help to any person on spiritual path, as a valubale tool for introspection. Understanding lunar cycles and qualities of different lunar days, does not only teach us more about the sacred relationship between Spirit and Nature. In fact, it reveals us something very profound about our personal relationship with the Divine.
Studying the lunar phases was the very first thing I ever approached in Vedic astrology, when I started my journey with Jyotisha some years ago. The beauty of eternal goddesses of the lunar phases, Nitya Devis, was always attracting me, and I always yearned to learn from them more and more. The more I meditated with them, the more I learned from them about myself. This humble book is the result of my sadhana. Yet, this little information present here is just a drop in an ocean, of what is still to be discovered and what is still to be known. After all, those eternal goddesses, guardians of time, are infinite in their nature. From our earthly perspective we can grasp just a glimpse of their beauty and sacred meanings.
The Mother doesn’t expect much from Her child. To meditate with Her only an open heart is needed. Each and every single day I would sit for a while with one of those goddesses, whose lunar phase was active at the moment, imaginening myself on Her lap, as my Gurudev taught me to meditate with Divine Mother. With some of Her manifestations I would feel more comfortable and safe, while being with other forms of Divine Mother was sometimes more challenging for me. The more I meditated with each of Her forms, the more I understood my relationship with Her, as well as Her inner and outer qualities; and the more I started to notice, how each of Her forms manifests in the outer world.
I have learned a lot about myself on the way. The most powerful lesson from the Mother was the lesson of humility and surrender. Once you find yourself in Her lap, with some of Her forms, with which you might not resonate so well, and once you realise, that She is this very present moment itself and there is no running away from here, it automatically makes you more humble. It makes you realise, that surrender is the only right thing to do. And in surrender itself, so much sweetness and so many blessings are hidden. Once you get over your likes and dislikes and embrace, what the Divine Mother in the form of present moment has to offer, there is something magical happening. But it is not something, which should be described in words. It is something to be experienced in the depth of one’s own soul. If this would be something, that could be grasped in words, our great rishis and seers would have already written whole scriptures about it.
My Gurudev wrote so beautifully on 15 November 2017: “Some secrets are secrets because they are sacred, which means one has to find them out by one’s own efforts and sacrifices. It is not a problem to tell them as they are usually very simple, but only fiery intelligence, determination, will and longing will be able to reveal them. People are generally lazy and even as much as they get from Masters, saints, scriptures and Guru, they take it for granted and it is only taking, which means that there is no transformation and sharing, giving back in other form.”
Hence, this little book is not going to be about me or my personal experiences. Personal experience is the real “secret” of any teaching – but it is something to be experienced in the chamber of one’s own heart, on each and everyone’s individual level. Instead, it is going to be an invitation for you to go on this sacred journey with Divine Mother with your own efforts and understand yourself on a much deeper level. In our times, when we have became so self-centered with our attention running constantly towards the outside, the biggest blessing we can get from Jyotisha, the science of time, is how to reconnect with the natural forces around us and their sacred cycles – not to abuse it, but to learn how to go with Nature’s sacred flow, instead of opposing it. Out of all the things the science of astrology can bring us nowadays, there is nothing higher or more sacred than the possibility to rediscover ourselves and our inner you-niverse – over and over again. To become whole again.
In the dual waters of the Mind
Each moment in time is said to have five limbs, according to Vedic astrology: vara (week day), nakshatra (the constellation, which the Moon dwells in), tithi (lunar day or phase of the Moon), karana (half of tithi) and yoga (angular relationship between the Sun and the Moon). Each of those limbs correlates to one of the five elements or tattwas: earth, water, fire, air and ether. Tithis, the lunar days, which will be our main object of interest in this book, belong to water element or jala tattwa, like the Moon itself. How wondrous, that this book allowed itself to be published only when Saturn entered Purvashadha nakshatra – the lunar mansion of Cosmic Waters.
In Vedic astrology Moon represents our mind and the way it is able to receive the light of the present moment. It is defined by its ability to receive – which is why the Moon is associated with Divine Mother in almost every culture. Divine Mother represents our ability to receive the impregnating light of the present moment; She is the inner fertility of our mind, as well as qualities it tends to get pregnant with and give birth to.
As the Moon causes tides in huge water bodies on our planet, so it causes tides within us, depending on its phase or tithi. Although the light is one, its reflection undergoes constant changes. Imagine the Sun reflected in the sea. Depending on how current waves are shaping the surface of the sea at the moment, such will be the shape of reflected Sun. Like the waves on the surface of the ocean are ever changing and cyclic in nature, so our mind constantly undergoes different changes and experiences different moods and emotions. This is why the purpose of any yogic practice is to still those waves, to still this mind, so the Divine light may reflect in it in its purest form.
Studying the tithis allows us to understand our own inner cycles and helps us to comprehend, why certain emotions or feelings tend to emerge or certain days, and what exatly does the Divine try to communicate to us through them. Our soul is in a constant dialogue with the Supreme Consciousness. But when the mind becomes callous and refuses to receive certain Divine messages, which might be unpleasant to our ego, we block this sacred communication on our end and thus become more and more disconnected from life itself.
Although this is going to be the book on Vedic astrology and understanding the patterns behind sacred lunar cycles, my highest intention and wish, above all, is to help you, who are reading this, to unblock the natural flow of water element within you and to help you in opening up more for receiving the light of the present moment – as there are many secret blessings hidden in it.
Dual nature of water element
Jala tattwa, water element is connected to svadhishthana, sacral chakra in our energy body. It is all about relationships, exchange of energy, emotions, feelings, beliefs, hopes and duality. It is where we chose our energy to flow, what we allow ourselves to receive, and how much we are able to simply surrender. Water element is all about the quality of our relationship with the world around us. Every experience is some sort of relationship. And the experience itself is said to be Shakti.
All relationships are dual in nature. There has to be some “you” and there has to be some “me”. Whatever happens between those two is called a relationship. Differentiation is inevitable for a relationship to happen. As it is beautifully explained in Garland of Letters: “By ‘differentiation’ is meant the polarisation of Consciousness into subjective (Prakasha – light) and objective (Vimarsha – reflection) aspects. The Self sees another.”
In a way, every relationship is a metaphor of this eternal relation between the Sun and the Moon, Prakasha and Vimarsha, consciousness and reflection. Sometimes you are the one giving some sort of light to others, sometimes you are the one receiving and reflecting it. There is always somebody giving and somebody receiving. Healthy balance between those two results in a healthy relationship. This is why studying the lunar phases will reveal us a lot about our relationships as well.
Water itself is also dual in its nature. On Northern hemisphere its motion is clockwise, while on Southern hemisphere it flows counterclockwise. The sea rises and falls. Similarly, in lunar cycle, clockwise motion and the rise is connected to Shukla paksha, the bright fortnight of waxing Moon, which stands for evolution, expression of the self and creation, while counterclockwise motion and fall is connected to Krishna paksha, the dark fortnight and waning Moon, which represents involution, returning back to our center and destruction. This is why Krishna paksha is often wrongly considered as “inauspicious time”, as the Moon becomes weaker during the dark fortnight and it is connected with counterclockwise motion in tantric worship. Even though Krishna paksha may indeed bring more challenges on material level and requires much more effort to overcome obstacles during its time, from the perspective of spiritual development it is actually even more auspicious than Shukla paksha – as during Krishna paksha, the Moon, or the mind, is slowly “dying” to reunite with the Divine. It is looking towards the Divine and moving towards the Divine in the process of involution of consciousness, to rediscover its true origin.
This is why people born in Shukla paksha or bright fortnight, are usually more extravert and more concerned with the matters of the world and their own creative self expression, while people born in Krishna paksha are usually more introvert and their awareness is turned more towards the inside. Both qualities in excess can cause certain misbalance. Shukla paksha Moon can easily become too materialistic and too overwhelming with its presence, while Krishna paksha Moon can become too closed up or even develop low self-esteem and weakness. By knowing, whether we were born under the dark Moon or bright Moon, we can understand and accept our destiny on a much deeper level, and reflect the exact quality of the Divine, which yearned to be manifested through our life in a constructive way. Not everyone’s purpose is to shine the light into the external world. Some people’s purpose is to meet this light deep within them. Evolution and involution are equally important in the development of consciousness.
The Divine romance
According to Vedic thought, this whole universe, with its intricate creations, patterns and cycles, is just the manifestation of Cosmic lila, the game of the Divine. It emerged from one Supreme Consciousness, one Cosmic “I”, which yearned to express itself over and over again, through countless “you”s to experience the greatest Cosmic miracle: Love. It is an eternal Divine romance manifesting itself over an over again. Every relationship ever existing is just a dim reflection of the sublime relatioship between the soul and its eternal Beloved.
Shiva, although complete in His fullness, yearned to see His reflection, and so the creation took place. Shakti became His first and the most perfect reflection. Upon receiving Shiva’s light She became pregnant with all creation and gave birth to every single “you”. Kamakala vilasa speaks beautifully about Her:
“She the Primordial Shakti who excells all and who in Her own true nature is eternal, limitless Bliss, is the seed of all the moving and non-moving things which are to be, and is the pure mirror in which Shiva experiences Himself.”
Garland of Letters furtherly explains: “A handsome King looking at his reflection in a mirror which is before him knows ‘I am he who is thus reflected.’ So the Supreme Lord looking at His own Power within Himself knows His own Self as ‘I am all (Paripurno’ham)’, that is, the whole or Perfect ‘I.’ This is the union of a = Śiva and ha = Śakti. A + ha = aham or ‘I.’”
Thus, each one of us is a particle of this Divine romance. Every “I” is a small fragment of an infinite fractal of Shiva’s and Shakti’s Divine dance.
God always looks towards us, as His very glance sustains our life – like the light of the Sun sustains the life on Earth. He patiently waits for us to remember Him and start our journey towards Him (which for most of us can take up to lifetimes). If in this lifetime you have the grace to be a spiritual seeker and search for the Divine, you can be sure that He was already seeking you before for countless of your earthly lives. He is always looking for us and He is always few steps ahead of us. It is us, who are only sometimes looking for Him.
This fundamental truth, which was often repeated by my Gurudev, became to me even more obvious, when I started to meditate deeper on the tithis, sacred phases of the Moon. In Shukla paksha, the bright fortnight, when you look at the sky, it will seem as if the Sun (Shiva) is running after the Moon (Shakti), and the Moon is moving away from the Sun. The individual consciousness separates itself from the Supreme Consciousness for the sake of creation, evolution and understanding its individual life purpose – while the Divine is running after it. In Krishna paksha, however, it looks as if Moon (individual self) runs back towards the Sun (Supreme Consciousness) – but the Sun does not run away from it. Sun moves very slowly when compared to the Moon, one degree a day, to make sure the Moon will catch up and the union on the New Moon day will happen. This in itself reveals us a lot about the nature of the Sun, representing the Supreme Consciousness in our solar system. Even though the soul can sometimes forget about the Divine, God never forgets about the soul. He always provides us light on our path – but whether we are able to receive or not, depends on our own free will. Our ability to receive is the only little bit of free will that is there for us.
In Shukla paksha, when Moon becomes brighter and brighter, the Sun shines secretly behind it, giving it its light and blessings. As the Moon moves away from the intense heat of the Sun, it becomes more and more capable of understanding its own creative power and inner potential. But during bright fortnight the Moon has the Sun behind it from our earthly perspective. Similarly, when everything goes well in our life and when we keep receiving blessings from the universe, we easily forget about God and turn our back to Him. This is one of the reasons, why things, which are auspicious in the eyes of the world, like Shukla paksha is traditionally considered to be, are not necessarily always auspicious for the development of the soul.
During Krishna paksha, however, when Moon starts its journey back to the Sun, it loses some of its brightness, which symbolises detachment from false identity and pride. The Moon faces the Sun during the dark fortnight and moves closer to its intense heat, blinded by its brightness. During Krishna paksha Sun shines directly into Moon’s face, and the Moon slowly surrenders and becomes more humble with every step. This is why Krishna paksha might not necessarily be so “pleasant” for the mind, as lots of karma is getting burned on the way. Yet, things, which are pleasant for the mind, and things, which bring true pleasure to the soul, are often completely opposite. The mood of the Goddess in Krishna paksha is intense longing for Her eternal Beloved, and She will do anything to reunite at least some part of you with the Higher Consciousness. She will remove all the obstacles from your path to the Divine and take away from you all that takes you away from Him. This is why traditionally in tantra it is said that Goddess in bright fortnight is Lalita Tripurasundari, the most beautiful in the three worlds, the benevolent goddess of creation, while in the dark fortnight She assumes a form of Mother Kali, the dark goddess of destruction, which is completely naked. As Kali, She represents the death of the ego. Yet, in both fortnights, She is still the very same Shakti, the same loving Mother, who is performing each of Her actions only for the benefit of Her child.
In Shukla paksha, when the Moon moves away from the Sun, when Shakti moves away from Shiva, the Sun would need to go clockwise in zodiac to catch up with the Moon, therefore its rays are following the Moon in the clockwise direction. In Krishna paksha, on the other hand, the Sun would need to go counter-clockwise through the zodiac to meet the Moon, therefore its rays are following the Moon in the counterclockwise direction. This is one more reason, why in Sri Vidya tradition we always worship the fifteen eternal goddesses, which represent fifteen phases of the Moon, in a clockwise manner during Shukla paksha and counterclockwise manner during Krishna paksha. In some traditions, however, there is only counterclockwise way of worshipping the Nitya Devis, goddesses of the phases of the Moon, as it is connected with involution and diving deeper within ourselves in the process of meditation, freeing ourselves from the illusions of the outer world.
Consciousness full of Nectar
oḿ pūrṇam adaḥ pūrṇam idaḿ pūrṇāt pūrṇam udacyate pūrṇasya pūrṇam ādāya pūrṇam evāvaśiṣyate
– Isha Upanishad
That is purnam (full of Divine consciousness) and this is purnam. You are full and I am full. This is Divine and that is Divine. This is perfect and that is perfect. From that, which is full, Divine and perfect, only something that is full, Divine and perfect can be manifested. Fullness always remains full, Divine and perfect. If you take a little bit of fullness away from the fullness, it will still remain full. Divine. And perfect.
That is the secret of life.
This mysterious verse, which is holding a deep secret of understanding the true nature of this world and the true nature of ourselves, comes from Isha Upanishad. Mahatma Gandhi had said once so beautifully, that even if all the Vedas would perish, but only this verse would remain, it would be enough for the Vedic culture to survive.
When we realize that all is pervaded by Divine consciousness and we acknowledge its presence in everybody and everything, this is when we start to live a truly enlightened life. When we accept everything that comes as perfect, and when we accept everything that we lose as perfect, we start to truly live in the present moment, in the heart. We become whole.
This Divine ability to embrace the fullness of life, to nurture a heart connection with reality, the way it is, recognizing the fullness and the Divinity in every object, person and situation that we meet, lies deep within our hearts. It is our true nature. We were not created to worry about petty things, nurture our petty fears or fall a prey to our petty desires. We were created to love life in its multitude of forms and to enjoy the eternal interaction between our soul and the Divine, no matter which shape does it take at the moment.
The essence of life
“O Soma, Pavamana, bless us, so that we may live,
with that bright milk of thine which hath been brought from heaven.”
– Rig Veda
One of the names of the Moon, as he is often addressed in the Vedas, is Soma or Pavamana. Soma means “the nectar of life”, while pavamana means “flowing clearly”. It indicates the true, higher nature of our mind, which was created to “flow clearly”, channeling the “milk from heaven”, becoming pregnant only with the Divine inspiration and rejoicing in the “nectar of life”. Whenever this pure flow of Divine energy is interrupted in our mind by our own likes and dislikes, we also lose the ability to rejoice in the essence of life: bliss or ananda.
Dr David Frawley has written so beautifully:
“Soma is a spiritual principle, an aspect of the infinite and a key to immortality. In the state of meditation, the brain and mind naturally secrete a special type of soma or nectar of peace and contentment, which reflects this spiritual soma. Ultimately soma is the bliss of all existence, the ananda through which the universe is created and into which it must return. It is this soma or ananda that is the prima materia or ultimate substance behind the entire world.”
This pure state of mind, in which soma, the nectar of life, gets awakened and relished, is also symbolised by two open lotus flowers, which Moon-god is holding in his hands. Open lotuses do not only represent the awakening of Divine consciousness within us, but also the purity of the soul. Lotus flowers grow in mud, yet they rise above the mud they come from, they pierce through the surface and blossom to become the most magnificent of all flowers. Once they are fully blossomed, no matter how much water falls on them, they do not hold even a single drop. Due to this unique quality of lotus flower it was for ages glorified as a symbol of purity of the mind.
Similarly, our consciousness grows in a mud of mundane vibrations. Yet, once we start to work on our spiritual progress, we slowly rise above the density of earthly vibrations, and our consciousness slowly blossoms to manifest its true form and spread its hidden fragrance of bliss. This bliss, which is the very essence of who we truly are, is what soma stands for.
The enlightened mind
The word soma is derived from sa-uma: sa meaning “with”, uma meaning “tranquillity, resplendence, light”. Uma is also one of the names of Shakti. She received the name “Uma” after Her long penance to get Shiva as Her husband, when Her body started to glow and reflect Shiva’s light due to Her spiritual power and devotion. Soma is thus the name of the higher nature of our mind: the enlightened mind, which is tranquil and full of light.
Saumya, an adjective derived from soma, beautifully describes the qualities of such an enlightened mind: placid, happy, gentle, auspicious, likeable, cheerful, peaceful, lovely, resembling the moon, mild, cool, moist and full of nectar.
Soma is the mythical nectar of immortality, the very essence of life, which is pure bliss, ananda – the delight of the soul. “Soma, the Cheerer, yields whate’er the heart finds sweet”, say the words of the rigvedic hymn. This seeking of soma, “the juice of life” is inherent in every soul. We all seek some kind of happiness and bliss in life, and in our own way, each of us is trying to squeeze the juice out of life to enjoy it to the fullest. Yet, with distracted mind, our happiness never lasts forever. We seek bliss in perishable things of the material world, constantly running from one thing to another, but we fail to recognise the true essence of life hidden within us.
The true essence of life is the Divine Soul, the atma pervading the whole universe. The Supreme Self is “the taste of the water, the fragrance of the earth, the sound in the ether, the heat of the fire and the light of the Sun and the Moon”, as proclaims Lord Krishna in Bhagavad Gita. It is the unique quality and the true essence of everything, what is the highest and best in all things.
Interestingly, this soma, this nectar of life, was hidden on the Moon, according to Hindu mythology. Similarly, the very nectar of life, the sweetness of life is hidden within our own mind. What an unparalleled cosmic joke is that: restlessly we seek the sweetness and joy of life in everything around us, while it is hidden deep, deep within us.
The mind starts to rejoice in soma, in its true nectar, once it starts to perceive the true essence, the Divinity, in everything around it. It is the conscious effort we need to make to train our mind to see and honour the Divine present in every aspect of creation: in every person, in every object, in every life situation. It requires some patience, humility and detachment. This magical moment, when your mind perceives the Divinity, or what is the highest and best in something, you are able to truly appreciate it and it brings a true bliss to your mind. In that very moment you relish the essence of life.
The harmonious flow of soma, which is invoked through so many hymns of Rig Veda, is nothing else, but invoking the purity of our mind and harmonious flow of consciousness, which in its purest state perceives everything as equal, Divine and full. This is why soma was called a drink of gods, a heavenly offering. Yet, to be able to perceive the one, true essence of the universe in everything around us, firstly we need to reach the essence of our own nature within us. This happens on the deepest level through the process of scientific meditation practice, such as Atma Kriya Yoga.
Dr David Frawley, once again, had put it so accurately in words:
“Cultivating soma means cultivating the fuel of devotion, receptivity, love and surrender. It means increasing the power to feel, dissolve, merge and become one with all. We must eventually realize that all things are offerings to the Divine light of awareness within us. Then there will be nothing that is not soma for us.”
Sixteen qualities of the nectar
“In the waxing fortnight kalas shoot and expand; in the waning fortnight they shrink and small become. They who can know the mystery of kalas sixteen, may well reach the Feet of the Lord of glory indescribable.”
There is one soma and one Moon. Yet, it has sixteen different qualities or kalas, which change according to the current Moon phase. Fifteen kalas, amrita (nectar), manada (pride), pusha (nourishment), tushti (contentment), pushti (comfort), rati (passion), dhrti (courage), shashini (swiftness), candrika (moonlight), kanti (beauty), jyotsna (halo), sri (opulence), priti (love), angada (self-sacrifice) and purna (fullness) belong to this world and correspond to each of the phases of the Moon. Sixteenth kala, however is beyond the boundaries of the space, time and material perception. It is perceived only in deep meditation. It is called purnamrita – “nectar of fullness”. It stands for the Goddess Herself in Her purest, unaltered form.
These sixteen kalas correspond directly to the sixteen kalas of an avatar or an enlightened soul and sixteen qualities of Lord Krishna, such as: daya (compassion), dhairya (patience), kshama (forgiveness), nyaya (justice), nirapeksha (impartiality), niraskata (detachment), tapasya (penance), aparajita (invincibility), dhanashila (generosity), saundaryamaya (beauty), nrityajna (best of dancers), sangitajna (best of singers), nitivati (good judgement), satyavati (truthfulness), sarvajnata (omniscience) and sarvaniyanta (control over everything).
On the first day of Shukla paksha, first day after New Moon, one kala arises in the Moon – one quality of light is reflected. One taste of nectar gets manifested. On the second day, one more kala joins the Moon, strengthening its light and making the taste of its nectar sweeter. Similarly, during bright fortnight kalas arise in the Moon one by one, making it brighter, sweeter and more full, until all the fifteen worldly kalas shine in their fullness during the Full Moon night – when the Goddess manifests in Her fullness.
In Krishna paksha, on the other hand, on the first day after Full Moon, one kala leaves the Moon. The same kala that awakened as the first one in the Moon on the first day of Shukla paksha is going to be the first one to leaves Moon during Krishna paksha. Being so, each kala dwells with the Moon for full fifteen days. Kalas continue to leave the Moon, one by one, during the dark fortnight until the Moon loses all its light and taste during the New Moon, when it merges with the Sun – when lower self merges with Supreme Self and offers back to it all its qualities.
Similar thing happens on spiritual path. In the first place, we are usually attracted to spirituality because of some of qualities of Divine Light, which we would like to “gain”. In such a state of mind we are discovering ourselves and our own light, but we are still selfish and we still look for our own benefit. But the more our mind matures, the more we realise, that on true spiritual path it is never about gaining anything – it is just about surrendering everything to the Divine.
It is said that each tithi, lunar day and each of the fifteen manifestation of the Goddess Herself has two aspects: Prakashamsa, which rules the day portion of the tithi, and Vimarshamsa, which rules the night portion of the tithi. At night the Goddess in one of Her fifteen forms collects the nectar reflecting some of its qualities, while during the day She releases it, so it can recharge us. During the night nectar is replenished by Soma or the Moon, while during the day the nectar is burned or consumed by Agni or Surya. Being so, the main quality of the Moon and moonlight is to make things grow (rohana shakti of Rohini nakshatra), while the main qualitiy of the Sun is to burn things (dahana shakti of Krittika nakshatra). Therefore our life itself is a metaphor of Vedic fire sacrifice, in which soma, the sacred nectar of life is offered to the sacred fire.
One Krishna paksha and one Shukla paksha form a 30-day lunar cycle. 12 lunar months form a 360-day lunar year. Multiplied by two (the day and night aspects of the tithis or Nitya Devis, lunar goddesses) we have 720 aspects of Goddess in each lunar year. 720 different moods and 720 different love stories to be experienced during a year. This way the fifteen Goddesses rule the day, the night, the days, months, seasons and the years. Furthermore, each aspect of Supreme Goddess rules 100 nadis in our energy body. This way they rule 72000 nadis or energy channels in our subtle body and influence them differently during different lunar phases.
Like Swami Sivananda explained beautifully: “The lunar days influence the function of the nadis (astral energy channels). It should be born in mind that the Moon exercises a powerful influence over the human mind. In the Purusha Sukta you will find the statement: candrama manaso jatah – the Moon is born of the mind of the Virat Purusha or Cosmic Being. In the cosmos, the Moon is controlled by the Cosmic Mind. The individual mind being a speck of the cosmic mind has therefore a connection with the Moon, and being only a speck it feels controlled by the Moon. When the Moon waxes and wanes, its connection with the mind also fluctuates and thus, there arises a sympathetic reaction in the mind. Hence, the relationship between the flow of the breath and the lunar days.”
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