Book Review – Sabarimala and Women: Giving Voice to the Wisdom of the Practitioners

Lord Sastha for Sinu Book Review 191121

At the MuldhArA: Lord Sastha with Purnakala and Pushkala, at Sori Muthaiyan Kovil (Image Courtesy: V. Aravind Subramanyam), Pp 56 of Digital Copy of the Book.

by Jayant Kalawar, November 21, 2019

Women and Sabarimala: The Science behind Restrictions. Sinu Joseph, Notion Press. First Published by Notion Press 2019, ISBN 978-1-64733-633-2 (The book is available directly from publisher at Notion Press and at Amazon India . It is also available on Kindle atAmazon.com. My review is based on a digital copy provided for review purposes).

The author, Sinu Joseph, opens up for us the amazingly beautiful complex weave of Sastha tradition (of which Sabarimala is an integral part) by taking us on a journey of six Sastha temples, across a geography of many hundreds of miles in Tamil Nadu and Kerala. When we go along with her on this pilgrimage, we get to sense of the process of subtle human connections with the Deities of each of the temples. Along the way, Sinu describes what that connection experience is like for those who identify themselves as female and how it is different from those who identify themselves as male.

Before embarking on the journey, the book gives us an orientation in the first two chapters. This may be especially helpful for those who, while born into Hindu families, may not have had the opportunity to understand the deeply thoughtful subtle framework of chakras, and their connections to the endocrinal system of the human body, that have been used to design this pilgrimage through these six temples, each with a uniquely powerful Deity residing in a specific temple architecture. The connection to the human endocrinal system lays open for us to see how the pilgrimage process generates different experiences in female and male bodies. Those who are already deep practitioners in the chakra based traditions may find the first chapter of the book to be a quick refresher (given there are multiple views of chakra framework within Hindu tradition, the one described in this book may be considered by some to be a beginners version). The second chapter (along with the preface) sets up the problem that arose when Sabarimala temple was viewed through the lens of modernity – the rest of the book being a response to the question: why are women between the ages of 10 and 50 not allowed to enter Sabarimala temple.

The pilgrimage of the six Sastha temples is described as journey from the muldhArA chakrA through swadisthAnA, maNipurA, anAhatA and vishuddhi chakrAs to the AjnA chakrA.  Reading the first two chapters makes the descriptions of each of the temple Deities and the experiences easy to grasp. Each description is helpfully divided into sections describing the journey of the author’s travel party to the temple, their experiences in the temple, the Deity, the Chaitanyam, the ChakrA significance.

As the pilgrimage gains momentum, the descriptions of experiences build upon themselves and one becomes more and more curious about what comes next. That is a hallmark of an accomplished story teller. To show us this particular complex weave of Hindu tradition with such story telling prowess wants me to read more of Sinu Joseph’s writings in the future, as she deepens her insights by continuing her sAdhanA.

In the last but one chapter Sinu brings the mystery to a close by making a compelling case, which she has been building all along.  We see how by the time we get to Sabarimala our endocrine systems may be activated through the pilgrimage and how this begins to impact male and female bodies differently. And especially how this may impact menstruating women differently.

The book ends with a conversation with women to begin exploring the answer to the question ‘but so, what should women who also want mukti do?”. I think such exploration is much needed to rejuvenate a knowledge base that would help us move towards a socially and culturally more balanced life.

The blessings of Lord Sastha flow into this book and upon its readers through the blessings of Shri V. Aravind Subramanyam, President, Shri Maha Sasthru Seva Sangam, Coimbatore, in his foreword to the book. I read it at the beginning and once again at the end of my reading. I highly recommend reading this book. May you be blessed by Lord Sastha.

Jayant Kalawar is the author of An Outsider Deconstructing European Enlightenment, in which he uses the Devi / ChakrA lens to describe Europe’s interaction with the world over the last 400 plus years.

 

To be human is to be….A view from the Devi Lens

Devi Cover for Outsider European Enlightenment Kindle 190506

WIth the Devi’s Blessings. Cover art by Jayant Kalawar 2018.

By Jayant Kalawar

When I wrote the essay Outsider Deconstructing European Enlightenment it was a way of describing what it means to be human, by telling a story of how some humans have done things with each other and with nature around them. Many of us call such descriptions history.

So these humans I describe have a quite a bit of potential to act in different ways. However, much of it has not been switched on (yet).  Most of these humans seem to be very good at utilizing some of their potential, for example: to survive, reproduce, acquire material things and consume them.

That leaves out the potential for courage to be compassionate, to connect with all species on Earth and the Earth itself and to explore and connect with cosmic spiritual vibrations. Such potentials, in most humans, remain untapped. In my essay I talk about how each of these seven potentials (yes, if you go back and count you will see there are seven) are channeled through seven chakrAs.  which I posit makes for being human, when you see humans through the Devi Lens (all that in the essay).

What switches on these potentials? The culture you live in and how you are nurtured plays a big role in throwing these switches on and off. It’s this cultural driver that I focus on in my Outsider essay, to show how it switches on some of our potentials and lets others remain dormant.

In current usage in our digital world, we all live in now, I think it is better to call this driver memetic complex, rather than culture. New memes are produced and old ones are morphed or die every day now in this relatively new digital age. So unlike the past, we have a real chance to develop many memetic complexes (is that the right plural? – but you get the point) that may switch on the entire range of potentials in humans.

I think there are two more drivers for switching on potentials in humans.

One of those drivers I think is the natural environment we interact with, including through breathing, consuming and generally our physical living conditions. I want to explore how this driver actually works within us at the cellular level, through gene expressions and protein pathways. I have barely begun learning about this. But at the moment, my sankalpA is to write my next essay on how natural environment and genetics drive the switching of human potentials on and off. It took me about 3 years to write and self-publish the Outsider essay, after almost 15 years of reading and research (not knowing where it would take me, if at all). So, I have no sense of what may emerge and when that may end up being an essay about this cellular / endocrine driver and how it is tied to the chakrAs. But the general broad intention is present.

The other driver is personal practices, sAdhanA leading to upAsanA. You will notice I am not translating when I drop Sanskrit words into what I write here. It is easy to find meanings with Google search these days. If you are really interested you will do so and in the process perhaps get more and more comfortable with living in a global memetic complex! That one is so personal that I am not sure it could even be an essay. Perhaps a short memoir, some distant time in the future, when some sense emerges that there is something worthwhile to share.

Notice the use of emerging. Rather than aspiring.

If you do download and read my Outsider essay on Kindle, I hope you write and post your comment here. Especially how it made you think differently about what it is to be human and how we go about doing things in this world.

An Outsider Deconstructing European Enlightenment

Devi Cover for Outsider European Enlightenment Kindle 190506

WIth the Devi’s Blessings. Cover art by Jayant Kalawar 2018.

I recently published this essay on Amazon Kindle. Here is a brief summary:

From an outsider’s perspective, European Enlightenment was a brilliant social innovation, which emerged in the 17th century, as a response to the brutally destructive intra-religious wars in Europe. It led to the formation of national governments, financial markets and rapid growth of a certain kind of science and technology. However by the 21st century, that innovation, through its runaway success, has had unintended global consequences of ecocide, fratricide and suicide, particularly impacting those outside of the European sphere. This 60 page essay takes you briefly through the 3000 year history of monotheism in the West, before focusing on the 17th century and the path that has led to the current global systemic crises. The outsider, using the framework of his Devi traditions, offers a compass of hope, to navigate out of the global dystopian scenario charted by European Enlightenment, towards compassion, connection and immersion.

There are quite a few pages open to browse here:

An Outsider Deconstructing European Enlightenment

You may decide to download after browsing.

I am opening this page to comments and discussions. The comments posted on this page so far are quite insightful. You may want to browse through them as well. And please consider posting your comment here as well.

 

 

Remembering / Forgetting

Devi Waiting for Her Children (c) Jayant Kalawar 180929

Aum Matre NamahA The Devi waiting for Her children (c) Jayant Kalawar 2019

 

Our goal in life

To be successful

Be in the right place

At the right time

Think the right things and

Perform the right way for

Single pointed acquisition and consumption.

 

First acquire and consume space:

Clear forests, drive out the locals.

 

Then set clocks to coordinate and

Slowly bleed cultural time,

the rhythms of natural life,

the rituals of learning

compassion

and

connection

and

wisdom.

 

Then content: How to and how not to think. The Scientific. The Rational. The Logical.

Snuff out imagination

and practice

and learning by doing.

 

Finally, imprison

Art in Cubes

Architecture in Glass

Urban Design in Squares

Maps with Borders

And Walls.

 

Suffering

Forgetting

Our Self

In the Vibrant Cosmos.

She is waiting

A Remembering, A SmaRaNA of Shri GaneshA September 12th-13th 2018

Celebrating Ganesha Chaturthi September 13th 2018

Aum Shri GaNeshAya NamahA, Celebrating the Divya PurushA, evening of September 12th 2018, ChinmayA Mission, Cranbury, New Jersey (photo by jayant kalawar)

by jayant kalawar

He is the master of GaNas, categories.

We categorize the cosmos, slice and dice it.

So our limited cognitive ability can digest

What the senses deliver to us.

 

Our categories become our obstacles.

What they exclude makes for our ignorance, Avidya.

He removes these obstacles that make us ignorant, Vigna-hArA.

 

He is Buddhi-dAtA.

He blesses the SAdhakA,

Who strives to explore beyond ignorance,

With intellect, Buddhi.

 

He is Moksha-dAtA.

He shows the path to MokshA

To the SAdhakA who uses his intellect

To explore beyond the sensory world.

 

He is with us always.

We forget to remember

And connect with Him

So that He can guide us.

Aum Shri GaneshAya NamahA.

 

Above is a paraphrased summary of my interpretation of a short talk by Swami ShantAnandA at Chinmaya Mission, Cranbury, NJ on the evening of September 12th 20h18.

September 2018: The Calm before the Storm?

Devi Kalaratri source Wikipedia 180808

The Destroyer of Ignorance and Confusion – Aum Namo KAlarAtreya NamAhA (Source: Wikipedia, Devi Kalratri, Sanghasri, Kalighat, Kolkata, 2010)

Summary: the level of intensity of the putative physical and economic storms in 2019, with felt impacts into early 2020, is likely to be signaled in political events and directions in the USA in the first half of November 2018 and then in January 2019.

The storms of 2019 may impact up to 10 to 15% of people across the globe in some mix of physical and economic outcomes in a very low to high range. There are no cookie cutter solutions to identify who is more likely to be impacted and how much and what to do about it. Assessment of individual horoscopes can help in this regard. Those who do consistent sAdhanA and connect with the Devi are likely to have less impact.

————————————————————————————————————————————-

The grahAs will be showering their blessings upon us this September.

Venus will be transiting into its home base Libra on September 2nd and staying there until end of the year. Venus will promote a sense of material well-being and harmony, after a month being farthest away from Earth, hence weak.

Mercury will end its long sojourn of the last few months in Cancer and transit into Leo on September 2nd and then into its home base of Virgo on September 19th. Mercury then joins Venus on October 6th and moves into Scorpio on October 27th. Mercury may not cause much volatility between now and October 27th (except a brief few days September 22nd to 25th, when it comes under passing influence of Rahu-Ketu field), and thus helping better communications and analysis, further adding to the harmony component of Venus.

Mars is strong and exalted in Capricorn between now and November 5th, providing a positive energy to those who are adept at channeling its energies constructively by connecting with Devi DurgA. There is an exception period when Mars energy may be quite disturbed (not as intense as the June-July / Early August time frame) as it once again crosses the much weakened Rahu-Ketu field, between September 19th and 30th. Disturbed Mars energy shows up as natural disasters on Earth, including wild fires and volcanic eruptions, military and police action and generally aggressive interactions and thoughts at personal level. But overall Mars will still provide positive energies especially to Devi sadhakAs.

Sun is in its home base of Leo until mid-September and then in Virgo until mid-October. Sun will bless those of us who seek to remember their IshTa DevatAs and chant the GAyatri mantrA.

Jupiter will be generally strong in Libra between now and October 11th.  In turn it supports Saturn to be strong in Sagittarius during this time.

Rahu-Ketu axis is moving between now and December 5th. Its negative influence is weak at this time.

So you see the overall picture emerging: a mostly positive environment may be expected between now and October 11th.

So what made me headline this post Calm before the Storm?

Well, I see this to be most positive period before storm clouds begin to signal themselves, and the storm momentum builds up. Watch out for the signals during the following periods in the next year or so and make your own assessments (I may likely keep coming back to this in future posts opening up more details). The way to approach and develop a series of potential scenarios is to apply the intensity of the outcome from one event set as the starting point of amplification of the next time period. So here goes:

Jupiter will go through the influence of a weak Rahu-Ketu field from October 22nd to Nov 14th, with peak dissonance between November 1st and 14th. At the same time Mercury will go through the same field November 1st-2nd. And Mars will be weak as it ends its long transit in Capricorn on November 5th. This may likely cause volatility in political and financial arenas combined with unfocussed energy, especially in the USA. All this points to chances that the November 6th mid-term elections in USA may end up giving a weak result for the current US president.

The Rahu-Ketu field will be strong between December 5th 2018 and March 6th 2019. On January 10th 2019 when the newly elected US Congress convenes the Rahu-Ketu field will be at its peak intensity. The result of the mid-term elections will likely be amplified and may likely begin impacting the ability of the current US president to carry out strong positive leadership actions in 2019.

So by end of January 2019 we may have a sense of how 2019 may likely unfold. Any sense of political weakness in the USA may translate into financial and economic weakness not only in the USA but throughout the globe.

The Rahu-Ketu field will be positioned to have intense impact between May 20th 2019 and August 19th 2019 – this one has particular potential to trigger both natural disasters and war like situations between multiple nations around the globe. This in turn may have negative impact on health and economic situations of large populations.

Fall-out from the May-August 2019 events may likely be felt in physical and economic terms, almost like after-tremors across the world, from November 13th 2019 to February 2nd 2020.

To sum up: the level of intensity of the putative physical and economic storms in 2019, with felt impacts into early 2020, is likely to be signaled in political events and directions in the USA in the first half of November 2018 and then in January 2019.

I may cover topics of how to begin to prepare and position for 2019 in the next few months.

The storms of 2019 may impact up to 10 to 15% of people across the globe in some mix of physical and economic outcomes in a very low to high range. There are no cookie cutter solutions to identify who is more likely to be impacted and how much and what to do about it. Assessment of individual horoscopes can help in this regard. Those who do consistent sAdhanA and connect with the Devi are likely to have less impact.

II Aum MAtre NamAhA II

I practice Systems Approach to Vedic Astrology as propounded by the late Professor V.K. Choudhry and now being carried forward by his son Shri K. Rajesh Chowdhary.

Celebrating the DevA Savitr in Leo August 17th – September 16th

Sri Gayatri MAtA by Raja Ravi Verma Source Wikipedia

ॐ श्री मात्रे नमः Source: Illustration by Raja Ravi Verma as published at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gayatri

Source: https://sreenivasaraos.com/2012/10/07/sri-gayatri-part-one/

This morning, August 17th, the Sun rose in Leo. Ever auspicious, the Deva Savitr in Leo is even more so. He transits Leo in the period between August 17th and September 16th in the 21st century. The Deva channels Sri Gayatri MAtA’s blessings to us.

This 30 day period in 2018 is likely to be more positive than the same time in the last two years, when the Rahu-Ketu axis was afflicting Leo (and we experienced eclipses September 1st and 16th 2016 and August 21st 2017). This year Leo is clear and the Sun can bless us unhindered. Late last year the Rahu-Ketu axis moved on to Cancer and we experienced eclipses in June-July 2018 – and many of us have just about begun working our way out of some rather stressful situations at personal and social levels.

However (and there is usually a ‘however’), Mercury and Venus may send some mixed signals to quite a few of us during the next two weeks to September 2nd 2018.

Summary: Auspicious Sun in Leo, Volatile Mercury in Cancer, Weak Venus in Virgo. Sun will transit into Leo August 17th 2018 and will be there until September 16th 2018. Sun in Leo is auspicious for all signs in different ways. For example, Leo may show leadership, while Virgo works on inner peace and Gemini starts new initiatives. Capricorn may benefit from partnerships and inheritance, while Pisces may find it easy to win in competitions and get financial benefits. And so on.

However, Mercury, may throw a spanner in the works until September 2nd as it moves slowly out of Cancer. It makes for volatility in communications and analysis, in turn impacting volatility in many areas in our lives, including financial markets.  In this case, the volatility of Mercury is mostly related to Moon transiting from one house to another. Dates to watch for mixed and missed signals: August 17th-21st (Moon transiting from Libra through Scorpio and into Sagittarius), 23rd, 25th/26th, 28th, 30th and September 1st-2nd.

Meanwhile, Venus continues to be weak and distant in Virgo until September 2nd. Luxury items and sales targeted at women have less chance of success and this will be reflected in the financial markets as well.

So September 3rd to 16th may be less volatile, more enjoyable. More on that later.