Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Maha Shodashi Mantra

The Srividya mantra sastra give the utmost importance to Sri Sodasi Mahamantra – the sixteen lettered Maha mantra – ‘Rajyam deyam siro deyam na deyam Sri Sodashakshari’ give away your empire or even your head (i.e. give up your life itself) never reveal the Sodasakshari mantra. It is kept in most secret, hidden from view of general or even initial level initiates. In Upanishats (both tripura and devi) the uddara (sequential revelation) of Pancadasi ( the fifteen lettered mantra) is found viz. ‘kamo yoni kamakala…’, also Sri Bhagavat pada sankara in saundaryalahari talks of the Pancadasi – ‘siva sakthi kamah….’ Rahasya nama sahasra unfolds this mantra step by step –‘Atmavidya mahavidya srividya kamasevita Sri Sodashakshart vidya’. Parasurama in his kalpasutra has hidden it, no direct reference is found.
Generally Sri Bala Maha mantra is imparted along with Maha Ganapati mantra for the entry level initiate, then he proceeds to the Pancadasi Maha mantra – the fifteen lettered mantra. In South Indian traditions the laghu Sodasi mantra- the sixteen lettered- is also imparted. Finally at purnabhisheka, Maha Sodasi mantra is imparted. Certain traditions prohibit the verbal transmission of the mantra Maha Sodasi by Sri Guru, he is directed to write in sand or paddy or rice on plate and immediately clear it and he can verbally pronounce the mantra on constant prayer from the disciple only once in small tone.

In tantras of Sri Kula the Gnanarnava and paramanandatantra reveal this mantra; this mantra is mentioned in the Srividya ratna sutras, attributed to Sri Gaudapada, the paramaguru of Bhagavat pada sankara, as of 28 letters. The three kutas of pancadasi in the middle will have to be considered as three, instead of fifteen, to bring the count to sixteen. Thus justifying the name Sodasi given to this Maha mahtra.. There is hidden mention of this in sakthi mahimna stotra of Durvasa maharishi in the first verse
‘srI mAtah tripure parAtparatare devI trilokI mahA
sawndaryArNava manthanodbhava sudhA prAcurya varNojjvalam
udyatbhAnu sahasra nUtana japApuShpaprabham te vapuh
svAnte me sphuratu trikoNanilayam jyotirmayam vAngmayam’.
{‘srI’ is lakshmi bija, ‘mA’ ia hrllekha bija; ‘ath’ means after that; ‘tripura’ is bala in a different order; ‘I’ is pranava; ‘para’ is hrllekha; ‘ paratara is laskhmi bija; trilokI is panacadasi; mahAsawndarya is parabija; ‘arNavamantha….jjvalam’ is vag bija; udyatbhAnu…prabham’ is manmatha bija; te vapuh is hrllekha; svAnte means in the end; ‘me’ can be split as mA+I where in mA is lakshmi bija nad I is the essence of this mantra kamakala}. We can also find it coded in rajarajesvari astaka in the lines ‘panaca praNava dvi repha janani’ (panca refers to the five sakthi bijas, then pranava which is Omkara, then two of the aforesaid sakthi bijas with ‘r’ {repha is agni bija} – the maya and sri bijas, then janani refers to pancadasi maha mantra and finally the reverse of initial five bijas is inferred) All this secrecy is lost now, we can find this mantra in all SriVidya printed texts.
Let us examine the word ‘SodashAksharI’ with ‘KaTaPaYadi’ secret code technique. ‘Sa’ denotes six, ‘Da is three, ‘sha’ is five, ‘ksha’ is zero and ‘ra’ is two. On the whole we get a count of sixteen; the zero in the middle will signify that this mantra is parama ‘pujya’. Thus the name itself holds the identity of the number of bijas in this mantra. The sequence also is inferred by the numbers said above; by adding six and two the first eight bijas are realised, next three refers the pancadasi kutas and five to the bijas at the end. (The name of the adored deity LalitAmbika when decoded with the above technique will be 3+3+6+ 3+1=16)
Why is there such a hue and cry for the secrecy? Any special status for this combination of bijas is there? Initiates in this Maha mantra think that this is an expansion of the pancadasi only.
There is a very special reason behind this importance being given to this mantra. We shall now explore into the meaning of this chain of bijas initially and their import on the sadhaka by this japa.

Verbal meaning
a.The traditional view
The following is found in olden texts wherein the sequence of bijas is explained.
‘sriIm’ denotes the Parasiva sate wherein the prakasa and vimarsa are inherent.
‘hrIm’ denotes the creative urge in the un-manifested.
‘klIm’ denotes the start of the process of creation with the maya tatva by parabrahman
‘aim’ the Parabrahman with the Ego- consciousness.
‘sauh’ The ardhanarisvara, ‘sa’ denotes the active male principle – the siva which creates and the fourteenth vowel (au) denotes the sakti which causes this creation and visraga(:) denotes the created universe.
‘om’ the divine couple parvati paramesavara
‘hrIm’ the divine couple vani and brahma
‘srIm’ the divine couple lakshmi and narayana
‘ka 5’ is the prayer to remove the ignorance
‘ha 6’ is the emergence of the identity with Brahman
‘sa 4’ is the attainment of the undivided consciousness after removal of all stains
‘sauh aim’ the universe in the form of fire, Sun and moon
‘klIm hrIm’ the five elements which make up this universe ( k- water, l – earth, h- space and r the fire, air is inferred)
‘srIm’ the bija denotes the individual who enjoys this universe, he prays to the Universal consciousness as above and realises that he is not different from the Brahman.
b. A new view
The new view was revealed by Brahmasri G Venkata Narasaiah of Guhanada Mandali. The meditation of the mantra will follow the path of kamakala of which is creation, sustenance, prayer of the aspirant and final dissolution into the Parabrahman. Following is whatsoever was grasped by the mind due to the grace of Sri Guru.
‘srIm’ the first bija will represent the Parabrahman after a cycle of creation, sustenance and dissolution, so this is after dissolution of time .which can be likened to a wave less sea.
‘hrIm’ now the spanda-movement for creation starts, this is the primordial urge to create, which can be called the iccha sakti.
‘klIm’ this will represent creation of thirty five tatvas from sakthi symbolized by ‘k’ to prthvi symbolized by ‘l’ by the Kamakala ‘I’. This is subtle creation, the gynana sakti
‘aim’ – this will be the first gross element space, which is characterized by sound – the vowel ‘aim’ is the creative force. This is kriya sakti.
‘Sauh’- this tells us the reason for this creation. This bija is called the hrdaya –heart bija of Sri Devi, which is full of compassion without expectations (avyaja karuNa) and Leela of devi to create a stage as before (yatha pUravamakalpayan) for the jivas in the previous cycle of creation to enjoy their merit and de-merit (papa / puNya) and finally try to get salvation from this cycle of birth and re-birth.
‘Om’ will symbolize the Parvati paramesvara couple. Since they were the last to dissolve into the parabrahman during dissolution, they will emerge first during creation.
‘hrIm’ will symbolize the Vani Brahma couple, the creator.
‘srIm’ will symbolize the Lakshmi- Vishnu couple, the controller of the world drama. This also signifies the heart knot (hrdaya granthi) which is the cause for the individual to be tied to this body consciousness.
This individual who is in the ocean of samsara, on search of eternal bliss will surrender to the guru who takes him step by step to the final destination of universal bliss. This path of srividya is shown by the Sri Guru. The first kuta is a prayer by the aspirant ‘ka-5’ – Oh! Parabrahma svarupini~ please remove the veil of duality; ‘ha-6’ please grant the knowledge that the whole world is Siva sakti svarupa; ‘sa-4’ please let me remain in this state always and remove this state of knowing to permanent bliss. (Please see article on panacadasi mantra meaning)
‘sauh’ will signify the grace of Sri Guru as said above
‘aim’ denotes the four Maha vakyas instructed by him ( see nivasatu hrdi Bala article)
‘klIm’ As seen before this will denote the tatvas, here the tatvasodhana in the navavarana puja as instructed by the Sri Guru.
‘hrIm’ will signify the first spanda as said already, here this will be the experience of this spanda by the aspirant on continuous tatva sodhana in the pujas.
‘srIm’ is the parabrahman as indicated above , here is the merging of the aspirant into the parabrahma and continuous experience of universal bliss.

Meditative technique

The meditative technique was revealed by Sri Amritanadanatha (Sri Prahlada sastriji) of Devipuram Andhra Pradesh, which follows the above meaning. Although revealed by two different Gurus, the similarities in both are astounding, thus we find that all gurus are reflection of the Initial preceptor (Adinatha). Following is whatsoever was grasped by the mind due to the grace of Sri Guru.
‘srIm’- Meditate on the a immoveable golden hue engulfing the whole world.
‘hrIm’- Meditate on a small motion like liquefaction in this golden hue and its movement.
‘klIm’- the molten gold will now condense into a red ball in the sodasantha( six inch above the head orifice – the crown)
‘aim’- this red ball will now transform into a pure white light and will start to descend on to the top of the head.
‘sauh’- this white light takes the form of Sri Guru at the dvadasanta (two spaces above the crown), this is the place of the Sri Gurupaduka
‘Om’ – The guru now pierces the orifice on the crown and descends into the body of the disciple
‘hrIm’- The Guru now will reach the mid-eyebrow centre (agyna cakra) and activate it. This will signify the thought process and deep inner meditation by the disciple on the grace of Sri Guru
‘srIm’- The Guru will reach the heart centre (anahata cakra) and will untie a knot there. This knot can be visualized as akin to the shoe lace knot which is opened by pulling at the ends. The removal of illusion (beda buddhi) by the Supreme grace is indicated here.
‘ka-5’ Thus when knot is untied, visualize a cover which was over the body being dropped from the head, so the Face is uncovered now, which is the face of Sri Lalitha devi (Ref: parasurama sutra: sairIrakancuko siva eva jivah; and Lalitha sahasranama ‘ srimatvagbhavakutaika………….katyadhobhagadhriNi)
‘ha-6’ The cover further drops down from neck to navel visualize the body being transformed into that of Sri Lalitha devi, the four hand holding the noose, goad, sugarcane bow and five flowers as arrows.
‘sa-4’- Further the cover drops to below the feet, that part also gets transformed into that of Sri Lalitha Devi
‘sauh’- Now the inner Guru who has graced this transformation will merge with this body of the deity Sri Lalitha devi and will pick up the cover which has fallen down, this will signify the Individual ego –the cause of this cover.
‘aim’- visualize this cover being transferred on to a white light, while being hurled out.
‘klIm’- Let this white light hit the sodasanta and get transformed into a red hue
‘hrIm’ – Let this red hue disperse into the world after being transformed into a molted golden hue
‘srIm’- Let this golden hue engulf the whole world including this body of SriLalitha/Sri Guru ( which was previously the individual) and remain so for ever.
This is a very powerful meditation technique, so please try this very slowly. Only once per day visualization at the initial level is recommended.
Pancha devata and MahaSodasi
The Parasurama kapla sutra is a primary text on the srividya path which prescribes individual attendance to five deities at allotted time in a day. They are ganapaty, sundari in the pre-noon, syamala in the after noon, varahi in the night, para in the pre dawn (brahma muhUrtha). In order to get the full benevolent grace of the central Maha Vidya Sundari, the devotion to the others is a pre-requisite. Sundari is represented by the 15 lettered Pancadasi Maha mantra, Ganapaty mantra has 28 letters, Matangi has 98, Varahi has 112 and para is a single syllable.
On deep mediation Maha Sodasi was found to be a convergence of the other four deities with Sundari. The first three bijas will represent the ganapati mantra, which also starts with these bijas in it. Next ‘Aim’ will refer to varahi mantra which starts with the same bija. ‘Sauh’ will refer to para. Next ‘Om hrIm srIm ka15’ is the sushupti srividya, the jagrat being ‘om ka15’ the svapna being ‘om hrIm ka15’. Thus this will include the other two vidyas also. Next ’sauh aim klim’ is again the Moksha dayaini Bala vidya, who is the child form of Sri lalitha. In the end is ‘klIm hrIm srIm’ which are found in the middle of the RajaMatangi vidya. Thus we find that Mahasodasi is the convergence of all deities instructed by Sri Parasurama.
In certain lineages there is a special dhyana sloka for this Sodasi Maha mantra which explicitly beckon the deity as ‘Sodasi’
‘cApa~ncekshumayam parsUna visikhAn pAsA~nkusau pustakam
maNikyakshasrajavaram maNimayIm vINAm sarojadvaye
pANibhuAm abhatyam varam ca dadhatIm brahmAdisevyAm parAm
sindUrAruNa vigrahAm bhagavatIm tAm sodasIm Asraye’
The free translation will run as: ‘Let us take refuge in the Queen Sodasi, her red splendor form, attended by Brahma and other gods, holding the sugarcane bow, flowery arrows, noose, goad, book, rosary of red ruby gems, the veena, gestures of dispelling fear and granting boons in her lotus like hands.’
The above meditation verse also gives us a clue to the unification of the panca devatas said in Parasurama kalpa.
The first four- sugarcane bow, flowery arrows, noose and goad will refer to Sundari srIvidya. The red hue is that of ganapaty whose mediation verse refers ‘soNA~ngam.’ The book and rosary will refer to Balambika –dhyana sloka refers ‘japavaTIkA pustaka’; transforming the rosary to the gyana mudra, since both point to the knowledge in action, we can find para bhattarika per her dhyana ‘mudra pusta’. The vina is found in the hands of Matangisvari as ‘sadvINAm’. The gestures of dispelling fear and granting boons is found in Varahi dhyana as ‘abhItim’ and ‘varAn’. Thus the ten hand form of Sri Sodasi described above will be a unified power of the panca devata as said in parasurama kalpa.
Dasamahavidya in MahaSodasi
On deeper meditation, for a simple question- what is the difference between Sodasi or Sundari, the third of Dasamahavidyas and this Maha Sodasi, it was revealed that these sequence of bijas are also representative of the Dasa mahavidyas itself. Thus being the complete unison of powers of the DasaMahavidyas, this Maha Sodasi is indeed very powerful in granting all wishes, while taking the aspirant to experience the highest Brahman.
Let us see an individual correspondence of the bijas
‘Srim hrIm kLIm’ – the fisrt three bijas are found in the beginning of Mahaganapati mantra and hence a benevolent and obstacle removing power of this mantra is unfolded
‘Srim hrIm kLIm aim’ – these bijas are the beginning of the Parcanda candika, the chinnamasta mantra, which is the sixth Maha vidya which runs as ‘srim hrim klim ai vajravairocanIye hUm hUm phaT svaha’
‘sauh’ will relate to highest and pre-creative power expressed as DhUmavati, the seventh Mahavidya
‘Om” called as taraka mantra or pranava will relate to tarA , the second Maha vidya ‘hrIm’ will relate to the maya or bhuvanesi bija, thus the fourth Mahavidya Bhuvanesi
‘srim ka 15’ will relate to the third Maha vidya the Sodasi or Sundari, the positioning of the sodasi bija at the beginning is there in certain sampradaya. Also we can look at the three kutas, shorter version of this is in the form of Bala Maha mantra, which is the seed for the tripurabhairavi the fifth Maha vidya
‘sauh’ , the second para bija will relate to the mighty Para Bhattarika, the supreme goddess of Universal consciousness.
‘aim’ – the vowel will relate to Matangi, the ninth Mahavidya, who represents the sound force
‘klIm’ – Tantric dictionaries say ‘ra’ / ‘la’ is interchangeable. So substituting ‘ra; in the kama bija will see the emergence of dakshina kalika, the Adya – the first of All Maha vidya
‘hrIm’- Taking the ‘la’ from the above bija we can see the emergence of bagalamukhi, the eighth Mahavidya with her bija ‘hlrIm’
‘srIm’ – this will relate to the last (tenth)of Maha vidyas the kamalatmika.
In certain traditions the above mantra is called Sodasi and another mantra is imparted which is called Mahasodasi. This mantra can be found in Trailokhyamohana kavaca as revered (revealed) by Maha deva as ‘klIm hrIm srIm Aim klIm sauh ka 15 strIm aim krom krIm Im hUm.’ This mantra also has a correspondence with the dasa mahavidyas.
‘klIm’- ‘k’ represents Brahman, which is also represented by ‘h’. So substituting this we will find this to be Bagalamukhi the eighth Mahavidya as ‘hlIm’. The ‘r’ deficient bija of Bagala is also accepted by tantras.
hrIm ’- the Maya bija will represent Bhuvanesi, the fourth Maha vidya
‘Aim klIm sauh’ will correspond to the fifth tripura bhairavi Mahavidya since her seed lies in the Bala mantra, which is seen here.
‘ka-15’ will correspond to the Sundari the third Mahavidya and also the sodasi by adding the thrid bija ‘srim’.
‘strIm’ is the special bija of Tara the second Mahavidya
‘Aim’ will represent the matangi the ninth Mahavidya
‘krom’ will symbolize ‘krodha bhairava’ the consort of the sixth Maha vidya , chinnamasta.
‘krIm’ directly refers to the AdyA dakshiNa kalika
‘Im’ – this is the last maha Vidya Kamakatmika, sri suktam unfolds her as ‘tAm padminIm Im saraNamaham prapadye’
‘hUm’ is the seventh Mahavidya, Dhumavati her seed sound ‘U’ is there.
There is a special meditative verse for this mantra, wherein the deity is explicitly called MahaSodasi. The eight armed form will hold the weapons of Sundari and DakshiNa kali. Since the ten vidyas will come under either kali Kula or Sri Kula, these deities are mediated as the union of the dasaMahavidya in Maha Sodasi
‘candrArkAnala koTi nIradarucam pAsA~nkusAmAsugAn
muNdam khadgamabhayamIkshvarIvaram hastAmbujairaShTabhih
kAmesAna sivoparisthitasadAm trayakshAm vahantIm parAm
sri cintAmaNi mantra bIja vapuShIm dhyAye mahA SodasIm
A translation would runs thus: ‘Let us meditate on Maha Sodasi, the physical form of Sri Cintamani mantra, the highest Consciousness, with three eyes, seated top on Siva Kamesvara in eternal union, holding in her eight hand, the noose, goad, arrows, sugarcane bow, severed head, sword, gestures of dispelling fear and granting boons, Of the color of Fire- red, with the brilliance of crores of sun, but soothing as crores of moon light, along with a shade of black, like the rain bearing clouds’.
The Red color, brilliance, the noose, goad, arrows, sugarcane bow and Kamesvara will point to sundari .The tinge of black like rain bearing cloud, severed head, sword, gestures of dispelling fear and granting boons and Siva (mahakala) will relate to the dakshina kalika. So this meditative verse points to the unification of all deities of the Dasa Mahavidya under Sri and kali kula in Maha Sodasi.
Thus we find that Mahasodasi mantra is powerhouse of the Dasamahavidya and the panca devatas of Parasurama kalpasutra, hence greatness is attributed to this mantra. This Maha mantra guarantees liberation (Moksha) in this birth itself. Hence it is the duty &responsibility of Guru to ensure that such a great secret mantra, Maha Shodasi, should be given only to that disciple who is highly evolved, possessing a very high level of Chittha Shuddhi (which is possessing a mind free from any egoistic stain) and wholly involved in deep, serious Devi Upasana already with Ganapathy & Bala, Matangi, Varahi and Sundari (Pancadasi). It should not even be exposed to “Pasu" category of upasakas & should be kept as a "Rahasya" away from them. Only after ascertaining that the sishya has progressed well with in sadhana, the Guhya Artham to merge with Devi (Moksha) through Shodasi is revealed. Moksha as per Sri Vidya is "Jeevan Mukti"- liberation while living, as detailed in Yoga Vasishtam, Ashtavakra Gita etc.

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Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Guru Paduka Puja and its Significance

If you have faith in the Guru’s feetIf you have deep feeling for the Guru’s feet,If you imbibe the state of the Guru,Then you don’t have to look for GodGod will come looking for you- Bhakta TukaramWhat is Guru Paduka Puja?Why do we do it?What is the significance of it?First let me start out with one of the most beautiful examples contained in Ramayana. It tells the story of Bharata, the younger brother of Lord Rama, who refused to accept a kingdom of Ayodhya during Rama’s exile in the forest, because his own mothers ambition for him had been the cause of Rama’s banishment.Bharata went to the forest in search of Rama, hoping to perform the coronation ceremony for him there and afterward to bring him home to the palace. But Rama, faithful to the laws of Dharma, would not break his promise to go into exile and declined to accompany Bharata back to Ayodhya.Bharata hunted out a pair of costly sandals and said, “Here are sandals inlaid with gold. I beg you to stand on them for a moment. Blessed by the touch of your holy feet, these sandals will becomesanctified, and they will bear the burden of ruling the kingdom.”Rama smiled at Bharata and stood for a moment wearing the golden sandals. Then he gave them back to his brother. Bharata prostrated before the sandals and said, “My beloved brother, I will dress like a renunciant in coarse tree bark and deer skin, and will wear matted locks until your term of exile is over in fourteen years. I will wait for you to come back, and I will live outside the city of Ayodhya, in Nandigrama. I will place these sandals on the throne, and they will rule the kingdom as your symbols. I will merely serve as your representative.”Bharata took the sandals in his hands, placed them with reverence on his head, and did pradakshina, walking clockwise around Rama three times. Still carrying the padukas on his head, Bharata ascended his chariot. Eventually he reached Nandigrama, where the coronation of the padukas would take place.

Bharata addressed the elders and said, “I have been appointed guardian of the country by my revered brother. His sandals will rule the kingdom.” He bowed to the sandals and spoke again: “To me, these are the blessed feet of my brother. The white umbrella indicating royalty will be held above them, and they will inspire me to walk on the right path and never to swerve from it. I will guard them with my life. One day, I will see them adorning my brother’s feet, and I will find peace of mind.” Dressed in tree bark and deer skin, Bharata lived outside of Ayodhya. He would speak to the sandals and report to them about the various happenings in the kingdom as though they were human. He did nothing without consulting them. And they, in turn, granted him the insight and wisdom he needed to resolve every situation in a just and righteous manner. Dedicating everything to the padukas, Bharata ruled the kingdom for fourteen years, until Rama returned victorious from the forest, having defeated the mighty demon Ravana.“ The Guru’s feet are worshipped or revered because all the Guru’s shakti dwells in the feet. If you did research into this, you would find that the vibrations of the inner self constantly flow out through the feet. The nerves that come from the Sahasrara reach right down to the feet. The feet Nerve as the support for the whole body. This is the reason the feet are given so much importance. More skakti flows form the feet than any other part of the body, the glory of the Guru’s feet for the Guru’s sandals is great. Kularnava Tantra says: “Remember the Guru’s sandals … They provide protection against great diseases, great disturbances, great evils, great fears, great calamities, and great sins,"

According to Chinese medicine, the body contains many acupuncture meridian or channels which will congregate around the feet. By treating the feet, the Chinese physicians adjust the flow of energy to different parts and organs of the body. Additionally, there is a particular acupuncture point in the sole of the foot called yongquuan, which means gushing spring. When a person needs energy, he is taught to focus his mind on this point. Sooner or later there is energy charge that goes from the mind to this point in the sole of the foot, and from there energy shoots up to the crown of the head. It is the major point for meditation and acupuncture.The foot of Guru is no ordinary foot. Gurupaddangre paadodakam ganga. All holy waters, including Mother Ganga, live in the Guru’s feet. This is what you should think in your heart when worshipping the Guru. All holy waters, all Devatas, or angels, and all sacred hills abide in the Guru’s feet. One should have firm sankalpa (intention, determination) to behold all gods in guru’s feet. The trimurthis – Brahma, Vishnu,Siva – live in Guru’s feet. These three Divine Forms symbolize the removal of the three qualities of nature that keeps the soul in bondage. The three qualities are tamas (sense of ego), rajas (passion, desire) and sattva (goodness and purity) when these three qualities are removed, then the soul becomes free or sanyaasi. In this state, one renounces desire and becomes like a stone – not senseless, but chinmaya (full of light). So, after Guru Pada Puja, it is to surrender the three qualities to the Divine Trinity. This is the significance of self surrender to the GURUS FEET..

Guru’s feet.For the sake of His disciples, the formless Guru takes the form in Padukas. Guru lives in Padukas. A devotee should pray “O my Guru, wherever my mind goes, may your form be there. Wherever my head bows in salutation, may your feet be there.”The Guru continuously tests the devotees. It is very dangerous for the devotees to look on the Guru as an ordinary man. The devotee must think that the Guru is higher than Shiva, Vishnu or Brahma. If one thinks that the Guru is the physical form and activities, then it becomes very easy for doubts to infiltrate the citadel of devotion, and after a while, to completely overcome it. Nothing the Guru says or does is ordinary, there is always a higher reason.Manduka Upanishad says: “The Guru’s feet are like the foundation on which a building stands…. The Guru’s feet are the two elements in the mantra So’Ham which means ‘I am that.’ The statement ‘I am that’ (SoHam) is packed with richness and significant meaning. The two syllables, Ham and Sa, have a number of esoteric meanings. Ham is Shiva, the all pervading supreme reality, the absolute Being. He is the Lord or God, the support and the foundation of all things, sentient and insentient.In the form of pure concisiousness, He permeates all creatures and dwells in them as their own innermost self. The Scriptures calls this experience as Purusha, the eternal witness. Sa is shakti, the energy of Shiva.

She is the divine Cosmic power that creates and maintains the countless galaxies and worlds. She is the consort of Shiva, the active aspect of the formless, the attributeless Absolute. She is the joyous divine energy that unfolds the universe, assuming the billions of shapes and forms that we see around.Shiva is the experiencer and Shakti is the experienced – objective universe. She is referred also as Prakriti or the force of nature. She is the energy that powers our mind and that enables us to walk, talk, eat meals, and perform our work. While experiencing the primordial sound SoHam in meditation, a seeker can also experience the sound or vibrations of the different seed letters and their surrounding mantras. The sounds of these Bija mantras lead us to the Bindu, on Blue Pearl, which is the ultimate goal. Sound is the path that takes us to the final destination. Just as a bee gathers honey from blossoming flowers, in the same way, the seeker savors the honey of various lotuses, or chakras. The ultimate goal of every sadhaka is to attain the liberation in the thousand – petaled lotus of the Sahasrara at the crown of the head.The Guru Geeta also says that the Guru’s feet have two different lusters – one is white and other is red – representing Shiva and Shakti. Shiva is associated with the white color, and Shakti, the divine energy with the red color.In these feet of Guru, Shiva and Shakti live as one and through them the disciple realizes the unity. He sees Shiva and Shakti as red and white lights shining through the Guru’s feet. The Guru’s feet should be worshiped everyday, for by their means one easily realizes the immanent and transcendent aspect of Shiva (form and formlessness aspects). Their luster radiates in the upper spaces of Sahasrara Chakra.

Paduka Panchaka
The Paduka Panchaka speaks of two lotuses or spiritualcenters: 1) Sahasrara, the brilliant white lotus of a thousand petals that is located at the crown of the head.2) A smaller twelve petaled lotus that is situated within the center of the Sahasrara.The Sahasrara is the larger upper lotus which is downward – turned, and the smaller twelve petaled lotus is beneath it and upward - turned. In the center where these two lotuses meet, there is a triangle with its apex pointing downward. The lines of this triangle are actually composed of all the letters of the Sanskrit alphabets; so it might be said that the Guru’s feet which are located within this triangle, sit inside the source of all language and sounds. This triangle is called a- ka- tha, after the letters that stand at the beginning of its three lines. A and the thirteen Sanskrit vowels that follow it start at the downward-point apex of this triangle and extend up the right side. The first sixteen consonants starting with ka form the second line, extending across the top of the triangle from right to left. Each letter has its own place on a certain petal in certain chakras in our system. The second sixteen consonants beginning with tha form the third line, extending down the left side of the triangle back to the apex. The remaining three letters, Ha, La and Ksha are located inside the triangle. It is said that A is the father or all letters. Ka is the seed of the Shakti principle, which has the quality of a mother. Tha refers to the element of ether (sky) which enables a seeker to soar like a bird in the inner space of Consciousness. A seeker attains this triangle of letters when he reaches the sahasrara.

At the very center of the a- ka- tha triangle is the supreme Bindu Pearl. It is small, brilliant blue dot the size of sesame seed, yet it is the source of everything. Bindu is the first form to emerge out of mahasunya (great void). Bindu is the state of the gathered – up power of Consciousness that is about to create the universe. Therefore it is called “ primordial seed of the universe” or “cosmic creative drop.”In fact, the bindu germinates and sprouts into three other pearls or bindus which mark the angles of the a- ka- tha triangle. This primordial triangle is also known as the COSMIC WOMB that gives birth to all the sounds represented by the letters of alphabet.The Paduka Panchaka speaks of this triangle, saying “ In the round space of the thousand petaled lotus, there is a triangular lotus, which is formed by the three lines beginning with a, ka, tha, and which has Ham and Sa on two sides. One should remember the Guru, who is seated in its center.” In fact the a- ka- tha triangle has the character of a mandala (a diagram ritualistically created as an act of worship of a particular deity) which is naturally formed – that is self created – and in it are set the feet of the Guru. When we meditate on the Guru’s feet, it is here that they are envisioned. The Paduka Panchaka tells us that as we visualize the place of Guru within the triangle at the crown of the head, we are to meditate on the primordial hamsa, the all – powerful great light in which the universe is absorbed. So when we meditate on hamsa here, it is with the awareness, ‘I am that’, the awareness of merging into the great light that is the Supreme Guru.

The Paduka Panchaka continues: “The mind there contemplates the two lotuses which are the feet of the Guru, and of which the ruby colored like nectar of the moon, and are the place of all auspiciousness. We have seen that the a- ka- tha triangle is situated in the center where two lotuses meet – the sahasrara and the smaller twelve petaled lotus. Now, this image is enriched by an additional image – another natural self formed mandala, The FULL MOON, inside which the a- ka- tha triangle and the feet of the Guru reside.Within this mandala of moon in the sahasrara, we find ‘ pots of nectar’ also referred to as ‘nectar of the Moon.’ This pot of the nectar has the shape of a delicate crescent moon and is downward turned. From here the nectar flows down through the sushumna nadi. This nectar is more intoxicating than honey could ever be. The sound (inner nada heard in meditation) will make you taste a divine elixir. It is sweeter than thesweetest. Every drop is worth millions. By taking it you get rid of all sickness. There will be no more suffering, no more want, no more feeling of ‘I and mine.’The Lalita Sahasranama says: “Salutations to Her (Shakti) who sends stream of nectar from the transcendent moon in the Sahasrara.” The Shiva Samhita says: ‘The Sahasrara is the thousand petaled lotus in the Brahmananda. In its center is the region of the moon and a triangle which continuously showers nectar. This moon nectar, which grants immortality, flows in continuous stream…”The Paduka Panchaka also mentions that the Guru’s feet are cool like the nectar of the moon. In other words, just as the moonbeams cool us of after the heat of the day, in the same way devotion to the feet of the Guru extinguishes the fire of sorrow and suffering and gives us peace.

Verse 6 of the Paduka Panchaka says: “I adore the two lotus feet of the Guru in my head. The jeweled foot stool on which they rest removes all sin. The Guru’s feet are pinkish-red like young leaves. The roe nails resemble the full moon shining in all its glory. The Guru’s feet are radiant with the beautiful luster of lotuses in a lake of nectar.”When the Guru Gita speaks of the water of the Guru’s feet, it is referring to this lake of nectar. There are number of verses that explore this image. For example, verse 13 of the Guru Gita says: “the water of the Guru’s feet has the power to dry up the mire of one’s sins, to ignite the light of knowledge, and to take one smoothly across the ocean of this world.”Verse 14: “To obtain knowledge and detachment, sip the water of Guru’s feet, which destroys ignorance and ends karmas, the cause of rebirth. Muktananda says it is not the water of Guru’s physicalfeet that will make you immortal; it is only the nectar flowing in the Guru’s abode situated in the Sahasrara that will make you immortal, and that nectar can be received by the grace of the Guru.In the course of meditation, when the mind becomes stabilized in the Sahasrara, this nectar begins to flow. Only after drinking this nectar can you be said to have drunk the water of the Guru’s feet. It is not the water of the Guru’s physical feet that matters. The true feet of the Guru lie in the sahasrara; it is the nectar flowing from them that gives immortality. In the words of the Maharashtrian poet-saint, Eknath. “ By the dust of my Guru’s feet all the work was accomplished. Eknath has emerged his mind in shri Guru’s feet…By holding the feet of the Guru, all ignorance disappeared. I have not performed cruel austerities, offered sacrifices, or wandered to sacred places. The means of all means is the feet of the Sadguru.

”ByDr. V.V. Prakasa Rao's .
copied from his speech on Guru Paduka Puja on Guru Purnima Day