July 2018: Venus may provide respite, from turbulent Mars, for some.

Venus in Leo - Photo by Mohammad Metri on Unsplash - 180704

Venus in Leo in July Balances the Turbulence of Mars for some of us (Photo by Mohammad Metri on Unsplash)

By Jayant Kalawar

Venus will be energized as it transits through the cluster of nakshatrAs (constellations) that make up SimhA lagnA (Leo ascendant) from the evening of July 4th to the early morning hours of August 1st. This will provide a welcome cushion for those with lagnA (ascendant) birth signs of Aries, Taurus, Gemini, Cancer, Libra and Scorpio. The rest of us (those with Leo, Virgo, Sagittarius, Capricorn, Aquarius and Pisces) may have to manage by keeping a low profile and very patient.

Mars, as of this writing on July 4th, is beginning to close in and will fully immerse into the turbulent field of Rahu-Ketu between July 12th and 29th. Expect more of the events such as freak storms, volcanic eruptions, as well as strong emotional expressions of frustration and anger, within us and amongst us, that we saw during the previous Mars immersion in the first two weeks of June. This transit of Mars will be experienced by most of us with varying degrees of intensity, depending on how much we practice focused awareness, enabling us to channel and sublimate out (not suppressing for future eruptions!) the turbulent energies, which trigger memories of past angers and frustrations, leading us to actions which we later regret.

Practicing focused awareness makes us observe the churn of emotional energies arising with the waxing and waning of planetary energies. When we are accomplished in this practice, we can watch them trigger our own particular memories, which become thoughts that we take to be all too real. We then act upon this reality of our mind. It takes a long time, many births perhaps, for this practice of focused awareness to be rooted, become one of our limbs in the subtle space. There are many techniques one can use, and many paths one can take, to climb this mountain. It helps to have a seasoned coach, at least to get ready and started on this climb, at the base camp of this mountain!

(c) Jayant Kalawar and 21BanyanTree.com

I use Systems Approach to Vedic Astrology as propounded by Professor V.K. Choudhry in my use of Jyotisha as one of the range of modalities in my coaching practice.

Devi’s Magic: Do you want to Play?

Devi's Magic Photo by Madhu Shesharam on Unsplash 180526

Magic: Sun shining through in my heart (Photo of Antelope Canyon by Madhu Shesharam on Unsplash)

The first few seconds

Every morning

Floating in spandanA

Pulsations

 

And then

Insistent clamor rising

You are different from the cosmos

You are man

You are father

You are debtor

 

Things to do

Dollar to earn

Scripts to act out

Atomized

 

In modernity

Bouncing around in anxieties

Chasing goals passionately

Round and Round

Breathlessly

 

Clouds of despair

Thunder of anger

Lightning bolts of hurt

Tears of sorrow

Winds Lashing

 

I chant my DurgA MantrA

Poof

Clouds are gone

Sun shines through

In my heart

Re-connecting

 

Magic

In the infinite game

Do you want to play?!

Mars in Turbulent Fields: Astro-Weather Watch / Warning May 2nd to November 5th 2018

Mars Passing Through Turbulence Derek Thompson Unsplash 180518

Mars in Turbulent Fields (Photo by Derek Thomson on Unsplash)

Many of you have already noticed natural events, whether freaky storms, earth tremors or volcanic activity, since May 2nd. There is more to come, as Mars moves through turbulent fields between now and early November 2018, both in natural and human generated events with potentially negative impacts.

Here are the date ranges to watch out for such occurrences and within that some potential peak dates, when you may experience unexpected / sudden events.

Date ranges to be cautious and observe:

May 31st to June 15th (with May 31st to June 8th being peak dates for potential sudden / unexpected events to commence).

July 10th to July 28th (chances of sudden / unexpected events: July 10th to July 19th)

September 21st to September 30th (peak dates: September 21st to September 26th).

Besides the natural and mass human generated events, which we will all observe, each of us may experience events in specific areas of our personal and family lives depending on ascendant birth sign (using sidereal zodiac). Here are some pointers (if you want empower yourself to surf these waves, there are ways of doing it):

Aries: There may be some events relating to career and social status that impact your health, physically and emotionally.

Taurus: There is potential for some sudden events for your parents, advanced studies and good fortune in general.

Gemini: Some potential for loss of income and connections with elder siblings and mentors is seen.

Cancer: Potential for loss in career and social status may impact your spouse / partner.

Leo: You may find yourself in debt or disputes with your parents (or those in authority), obstacles in advanced studies and during some long distance travels.

Virgo: Expect some obstacles and endings in your emotional relationships and creative pursuits.

Libra: There may be some endings in personal and business partnerships.

Scorpio: Some disputes and debt situations may be seen with younger siblings, colleagues and any small business interests you may have.

Sagittarius: Some losses in your emotional relationships and creative pursuits may impact general sense of well-being for yourself and your family.

Capricorn: You may experience some personal impact due to sudden change in your financial asset, home or mother related situations.

Aquarius: You may experience some setbacks relating to small business situations, younger siblings and communication clarity.

Pisces: There may be changes in family situation that impact income and relationship with elder siblings and mentors.

Two Birds on the Tree of Life

Two Birds on the Tree of Life - allan godfrey 180429

Two Birds on the Tree of Life (Photo by Alan Godfrey on Unsplash)

By Jayant Kalawar

Many of you may know about the metaphor used in the Upanishads. Of the two birds on the tree of life.

It is a way of deconstructing ourselves, to become aware of how we function in this world.

We are the two birds. The tree of life is the cosmos we perch on.

One of the birds is the eater bird. The other is the observer bird.

The eater bird has desires and it has fears to match its desires. It desires to eat the fruits it sees on the cosmic tree. It starts by eating what is nearest to it. Then its appetite increases and it hops to other branches. Higher branches, with apparently big juicy fruit. We start by only wanting to eat, be just about warm and to sleep. Then we want to have fun. Then we want to have social status: more food, more house, more car, more degrees, more fashion statements, more show-off. Many of us want to have children. We want them to maintain and increase our social status. We do this every day and night. We are either nibbling or grasping off the cosmic tree or we are plotting and planning how to eat more and more.

The eater bird starts triggering its fears as soon as it starts desiring. What if I do not get to the fruit. What if some other eater bird grabs the fruit before I can eat it all. What if there is no more fruit on the branch I am on. What if I cannot jump to the higher branches. What if other eater birds knock me off this branch. What if they do not let me get on to another branch. What if. What if.

Those are the fears we carry with us all the time. Free floating anxieties. Many times those fears come true. It is an uncertain world out there. We, as eater birds, have very little control. We may deceive ourselves to believe that we are in control of some part of some fruit. We know we are not in control. And it reinforces our anxieties.

Many of us hear inner voices sagely telling us to stick to what we know. In our comfort zones. Those voices are our fears talking to us. They are telling us how to manage our fears down and make the most of the fruits in hand. We give it fancy names. Managing risks down. Maximizing returns. We feel good that we are sophisticated and modern. We are eater birds on the cosmic tree. Eating fruit we do not own. On which we have very little control on.

And then hopping along with the eater bird part is the observer bird. Always there, besides us. If only we were to look. It is that part of us which has an understanding of the nature of the cosmos and our part in it. When we connect and immerse ourselves in the observer bird part of us, we may be able to calm down our desires. As our desires become minimal, so do our fears. When our fears become minimal, we can sleep better. We are more energized with less.

There are primal desires that never go away. We manifest in this physical body. It comes with the desire to survive. And the other desire most of us come with is the one to procreate. So while we may be able to minimize material and social desires at a personal level, these primal desires of the eater bird need a culture that helps manage these primal desires to a minimal level, without being violent with each other. That is where the personal become social.

The cultural fabric seems to be collapsing in slow motion around us, as science and technology of the material becomes our master, ruling how we live and connect with each other under the guise of Reason. We seem to be slowly but surely becoming even more disconnected from the observer bird part of us.

The challenge is not just at a personal level. It is even more so at a social level. And it is global. Start with a contemplation: what will the world be like to really act out that we desire minimally and flourish as observers of the cosmos. Step back, from time to time, from being an eater bird, and be the part that is naturally you: the quiet observer.

Have a great week.

© 21BanyanTree.com and Jayant Kalawar

Energy Boost from the Sun in Aries: April 14th to May 15th 2018

Sun in Aries 2018 Photo by Tanishq Tiwari on Unsplash

Glow in the High Energy of Sun in Aries (Photo by Tanishq Tiwari on Unsplash)

By Jayant Kalawar

When the Sun transits through Aries between mid-April and mid-May, most of us sense a boost of energy in different areas of life, depending on your ascendant birth sign (using sidereal, not tropical zodiac). If you are in touch with your energy flows through your inner work, this is something you will sense. You will be able to channel this burst of energy appropriately to heal yourself and others around you.

This year though, Mercury is still hanging around in Pisces (where it has been going back and forth since early March) and will be there until May 9th. Mercury in Pisces makes for generally less than effective communications for most of us. This is exacerbated for Aries (may cause some losses, increased expenses), Libra (mis-communications may lead to disputes) and Leo (may cause challenges in career and social status). Those situations may likely be resolved after May 9th.

Also, there will be one other major movement in the next few weeks. Mars will be moving into Capricorn on May 3rd and will be hanging its hat there until November 6th. In Capricorn Mars is energized and is generally positive for most signs, provided we channel its energies appropriately (so Leo ascendants may sense great energy flows which make them competitive at work and help win in disputes. Make sure to manage it with the long run in mind, not just the short run wins i.e. do not burn bridges for immediate applause, bring people along with you). This year Mars will be heading into rather rough astro weather in the June-July time frame, with the Moon’s orbit disturbing the Sun-Earth gravitational field (yes the July solar and lunar eclipses are just one measure of this disturbance). Mars energies will be weakened considerably. Many of us are likely to feel the stress of this sudden drop in energy levels in different ways. Those with Gemini, Leo and Aquarius ascendants need to be especially aware: prioritize and focus to conserve energies, to get through positively in the June-July period. I may write more about this next month.

To end on a positive note, currently, between April 13th to 20th, there is a Venus-Jupiter alignment going on, which is giving positive energies to many of us. May be a nice time to enjoy art and culture (Venus) and a general sense of well-being, blessed by expansive energies of Jupiter.

(c) Jayant Kalawar and 21BanyanTree.com

Desirous Energy: Imagining Untold Stories, Jumping Off To Fly

Inhaling Energy from Embers Jumping Off To Fly 180304

Inhaling Energy from Embers, Manifesting Space in Time (Photo by Toa Heftiba on Unsplash)

By Jayant Kalawar

Embedded

In dense vibration

Secure

 

A spark

Of desirous energy

Rising

Shape So Beautiful.

 

Standing on the edge

Of vastness

Manifesting space

In time.

 

Imagining untold stories

Filled with rapturous desires

Inhaling energy

From embers.

 

Jumping off to

Fly

Glide

Roll

Dance.

 

So free in

Imagined space

Floating in the embrace

Of soft amnesia.

 

Enveloped

In flow of Time

No moorings

A faint

Memory of

Umbilical love

Calling.

 

A confused thrashing

Dim awareness

What?

Who?

 

Lost

Seeking

The way back.

© 21BanyanTree and Jayant Kalawar

A Tiny Spark of Desirous Energy: A Contemplation

Tiny Spark of Desirous Energy 180208

Contemplating Desire (Photo by Wil Stewart on Unsplash)

By Jayant Kalawar

Embedded in dense vibration

A tiny spark of desirous energy

Seeking a stage to act.

 

Visualizing space-time stage

Many scripts playing

In many theaters

So many plays to choose from.

 

Choice made, birth taken

Name given

Script taught

Role rehearsed.

 

Acting out desirous energy

Immersed in role

On space-time stage.

 

New desires layered on

Dense vibration forgotten

Pleasures of desires

Fears of loss.

 

Music stops, role ends

Exit space-time stage

Grieving the loss

Many desires remaining.

 

Back to dense vibration

A tiny spark of desirous energy arising

Seeking a stage to act…

(c) 21BanyanTree and Jayant Kalawar

Celebrating NatarAjA, the Dancing ShivA on ArdrA Full Moon January 1st 2018

As I write this, it is 5 deg F (-15 deg C) on the sunny morning of January 1st 2018, in the New York metro area. This new-year’s day will end with the Moon visible in full grandeur tonight at 9:15 pm (all New York time). The Earth is almost at the closest point to the Sun, in its elliptical orbit today at exactly 12:34 am, January 3rd 2018. The Moon will be at its closest in its orbit to the Earth today at exactly 4:48 pm, January 1st, 2018. Between the two will we get the Super Moon effect making for the Wolf Moon.

In my tradition of Jyotisha, and also more so especially in the Tamil tradition, the Full Moon that arises in ArdrA nakshatra celebrates the arising of the NatarAjA, the Dancing ShivA. (If you are not familiar with my Jyotisha tradition, please check out https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nakshatra for a beginner’s orientation)

The significance of celebrating the Full Moon in ArdrA in Jyotisha is independent of calendars imposed and followed in the mundane world (for e.g., the European Gregorian calendar in use since 1582).

According to Jyotisha:

  • When the Sun begins transiting from midnight of December 21st (at 6:40 degrees in Gemini – the Sun transits opposite in Sagittarius at the same degree), it begins its apparent ‘movement’ North from the tropic of Capricorn.

 

  • When the ArdrA nakshatra is seen in the sky, we know the northward turn of the Sun has begun.

 

  • Since the ArdrA nakshatra spans Gemini from 6:40 degrees to 20 degrees, the Sun lights up ArdrA from December 22nd to January 4th.

 

  • The Full Moon that occurs during its transit in these degrees between December 22nd and January 4th is celebrated for the nritya of NatarAjA, the Dance of Shiva.

From a narrow modernist science perspective (not given to metaphorical contemplation) one may imagine the nritya of NatarAjA, the Dance of Shiva as NataRajA, as the movement of the entire range of energies that manifest the cosmos. Within the tradition, we see and experience the Dance of NatarAjA as manifesting creation, protection, destruction, release and embodiment.

The dance posture of NatarAjA is the focus of meditation on this Full Moon, with left leg lifted and suppressing ignorant ever transient tendencies (“this is mine”, “I did this” which in the globalized westernized culture and science these tendencies are bundled into the word ‘ego’) that arise in the embodiment under his right feet. The right hand of NatarAjA is in the posture of Abhaya Hasta, blessing meditators with protection in their meditation. The accomplished meditator visualizes the entire dance of the cosmos in the stillness of this posture.

 

 

 

In Tamil Nadu, this entire period is celebrated with exuberance of song and dance. Here is a link to just one small sliver of the spirit that exudes in the Tamil country during this season.

 

 

The Feminine and Masculine in Each of Us: Dancing with our Chakras

Reading my previous post may give the reader context for this post.

The Chakras and their Significations

There are six subtle energy centers, which we call chakras, aligned along the spine.

These centers channel energies, which then drive changes in the physical body, and actions by the physical body.

The energy combinations channeled through the six chakras, at any given moment, give rise to our actions.

The MooldhArA chakrA is the root center. Its energy drives actions to support the instinct to survive and grow physically.

The SwadhisTAnA is the creative and pro-creative center. Its energy drives creative energies, including pro-creative actions out of and within the physical body. It manifests as sexuality, which may be channeled both positively and negatively.

The MaNipurA is the acquisitive center. Its energy drives appetite for acquiring and storing all things material. It manifests as risk-taking behavior. It is sometimes described positively as courageous and ambitious and at other times as greedy and deceitful. In the negative it gives rise to actions based on fear.

The AnahatA is the emotional center. Its energy drives nurturing and affection on one hand. It can also give rise to the opposite: anger and hate.

The ViSuddhA center provides energy for articulation. Its energy drives vocalization and expression of the balance between the energies of the AnahatA and the AjnA centers. Depending on which of the two centers are more dominant, the ViSuddha will channel more emotional or more analytical expression.

The AjnA is the center for analytical intelligence. Its energy drives processing of information gathered by the 5 senses, comparison with memories of past experiences with corresponding actions directed at the action centers of ViShuddha, AnahatA, MaNipurA, SwadhishTAnA and MooldhArA.

The SahasrArA is the center for conceptual abstractions. Its energy drives the direction of the other six chakrAs described above, more towards spiritual, and relatively less towards the material.

Correlating Chakra significations with Gender: Role of the Physical Body

The female physical body manifests capability to pro-create and nurture. To activate these capabilities it draws upon the energies of the MooldhArA, SwadhishTAnA, MaNipurA and AnAhata.

When the female body is more focused on acting out its role of pro-creation and nurturing, its Vishuddha center expresses more emotion reflecting the active AnAhatA than the analytical energy of the AjnA.

The male physical body manifests capability to acquire and protect what it has acquired. It therefore draws upon energies of the MaNipurA and AnahatA (channeling those energies more towards determination and fixedness and competition, than towards nurturing and affection and collaboration), which it expresses through Vishuddha.

The entire range of energies are available to all physical bodies, whether female or male.

Which energies the body draws upon depends on which aspect is most open to be activated in a given phase in life and in particular social configurations and contexts:

  • Different phases in life e.g. whether in puberty and youth, vs in old age, for example.

 

  • Different social configurations e.g. whether in hunter-gatherer, agricultural, industrial or digital social configurations.

Social rules of thumb, in different social configurations, have been formed over time with general observations about what works best to sustain that particular social configuration.

These social rules of thumb, to enable sustenance of a particular social configuration, may lead to gender differentiated roles and expectations.

For example:

  • certain expected division of labor for pro-creation and maintenance of family, on one hand

and

  • acquisition and accumulation of material requirements for sustenance, on the other,

in an agriculture based social configuration

  • may have led to certain social rules of thumb of roles to be played by those with female bodies and those with male bodies.
  • This in turn would have led to the need to access different combination of chakra energies by female bodies, as compared to the male bodies.

As social technologies (i.e. how technology is used within a society) have changed, so have the social configurations and the possible roles played by individuals, whether with female or male bodies.

The lines between the social roles played by those with female bodies and those with male bodies may become blurred, especially as the need to for focus attention and energy on basic survival and pro-creation decreases, as we move from agricultural and industrial configurations to digital configurations, as we move from agricultural and industrial configurations to digital configurations.

When Gender Generalizations and Differentiations Do Not Work: Welcome to the 21st Century

As the demand for varying combination of chakra energies to survive, pro-create, acquire and accumulate decrease in a particular social configuration due to changes in social technologies:

  • individuals, with both female and male bodies, tend to move towards drawing upon the energies of AnahatA, AjnA and SahasrArA to express through the VishudhA.

The social technologies of the 21st centuries appear to be going, at least in early 2017, more towards the human body making less demands of both the basic survival and pro-creative energies from the MooldhArA and the SwAdhisTAnA. The acquisitive, accumulative energies still continue to be in demand, at the moment. We therefore see corresponding changes in how human bodies are acting: mostly by accessing MaNipurA (acquisitive), AnahatA (passionate determination) and AjnA (analytical intelligence). This configuration does not need to differentiate between male and female bodies.

Social roles based on gender differentiation focused on basic survival and pro-creation now make less sense.

Social context in practice of vibrational mantra for activating energy centers

Vibrational mantras (set apart from contemplative mantras) are practiced to activate specific energy centers.

The GAyatri mantra is a vibrational mantra, practiced to activate the AjnA energy, to enable access to analytical intelligence.

Practice of the GAyatri mantra on a daily basis over a sustained period of time may lead to more energy channeled towards analytical (AjnA) actions and relatively less energy towards survival (Mooldhaara) and pro-creative (SwadhisTAnA) actions.

The VishudhA expressions may also be more analytical and less compassionate and nurturing, by those practicing the GAyatri.

The GAyatri mantra practice, therefore, may not make sense to be practiced for those with female bodies, who wish to be mostly active in pro-creation and compassionate nurturing.

In the 21st century social configurations there are many with female bodies who do not find themselves in roles requiring long-term focus on pro-creation and nurturing.

They may be expected and required to perform roles which require sustained access to analytical energies.

The number of those with female bodies who will be playing these analytical roles may increase quite substantially in the next few decades.

Whether they will be assisted in their endeavors by chanting the GAyatri in a sustained manner in the long-term, is something that would need to be observed.

To sum up, ChakrA energy centers by themselves are gender neutral. The female and male physical body requires varying combination of energies from each of these energy centers in different phases of their lives, depending on the roles they are playing in the particular social context they find themselves in.

A well-designed comparative empirical study, of a carefully chosen test group and control group of women (and a similar parallel test and control groups of men), would certainly help to validate (or otherwise) the implicit multiple hypotheses, laid out in this article, about how vibrational mantras may impact male and female physical bodies differently.

The comments and suggestions from readers are welcome directly via email to the author at 21Banyantree@gmail.com .

KulAmrutarasikA: the 90th MantrA of the LalitAsahasranAmA

sri-chakra-image-from-121018

Sri Chakra representation drawn by Jayant Kalawar

By Jayant Kalawar

In the 22 mantras, spanning the 90th through 111, the LalitA SahasranAmA (those unfamiliar, please read this overview link) describes how LalitAmbA, Mother LalitA plays within us, as She rises from the MooldhArA to the SahasrArA.

The 90th mantra describes her at the top in the Sahasrara:

kuḷāmṛtaika rasikā

This mantra occurs in the 36th verse of the LalitA SahasranAmA, which is:

mūlamantrātmikā, mūlakūṭa traya kaḷebarā |

kuḷāmṛtaika rasikā, kuḷasaṅketa pālinī || 36 ||

(Listen)

The vibration of the mantra connect us to LalitAmbA, LalitA-Mother (AmbA). Listen to the link above and chant the mantra. You are calling out to the Devi LalitA, the Mother (Devi pronounced it as They-vi, for those unfamiliar with SamskrutA). And the Mother responds to your call.

Many of us though would like to know the ‘meaning’ of the mantra. That helps too, as it helps to create a visualization. How to chant a particular mantra with what focus and visualization is best as a one-on-one conversation. The vibration of the mantra along with the visualization can and does begin to change the vibrational structure of the individual. It is something to be learned when one is ready to begin connecting with the more subtle aspects of oneself, after gradually stepping away from the attachments of sense based objects.

Just to give a high level sense of the verse:

Rasika is the enjoyer. LalitAmbA is playing and enjoying. What is She enjoying?

Amrut: that which is opposite of Mrut, death. Non-Death. LalitAmba enjoys the state of Non-Death when She reaches the SahasrArA, where she meets and dances with ShivA.

Shiva is always sitting in meditation bathing in peaceful moonlight at the Sahasrara. Awaiting his beloved LalitAmbA to join Him.

LalitAmbA works through a series of obstacles to rise from the MooldhArA to meet her beloved ShivA in SahasrArA.

She awakens Him out of his meditative state in the Sahasrara. They begin their celestial dance.

And the Amrut, Non-Death, flows in the subtle plane.

In the physical plane it flows out of Kula: the body.

Hence, the practitioner tastes the sweetness when the Devi Shakti reaches the SahasrArA. It  flows as KulAmrut.

For LalitAmbA is indeed the RasikA, the enjoyer, of KulAmrut.  Hence KulAmrutaikarasikA.

The reader may have noticed, in the description above, how gender apparently seems to play a role. The feminine principle, LalitA rises to meet the male principle, Shiva.

Where does this take place? In each of our individual subtle bodies. So in that sense, each one of us has something that we may categorize as feminine and also masculine.

It is the meeting of these two principles within each of us culminates in the subtle celestial dance, which produces the A-Mruta, the Non-Death state.

It is also interesting to note that the 1000 mantras of LalitA are roughly divided, in terms of gender ascription, into one third feminine gender nouns, one third masculine gender nouns and the rest as neuter gender nouns.

Many of you may be interested to know more about how both the feminine and masculine principles play a role in each of us. I have written more about that here.