Thirumandiram, post one

Siddhar Thirumoolar
Siddhar Thirumoolar

I discovered a new text recently.  Love it.  From the Tamil, Southern  India, The Thirumandiram has a slightly different vibe from the northern, Kashmiri literature that I am a little more used to.  These teachings of Siddhar Thirumoolar are said to be the seed that later blossomed into Saiva Siddhanta, a very heartfelt and devotional approach to the worship of Shiva and the understanding of the universe.

The book is three separate volumes, and contains nine Tantras within.  I’ve perused up to Tantra five, at which point it was clear to me that I need to spend some more time with the first four.  Which is fine, because they are plenty remarkable.

I want to share with you the first verse of the first Tantra.  It is delightful, full of Bhakti, and much like  the first sutra of Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras, seems to sum up the whole deal.  If you think I’m wrong, I’m happy to hear your argument.  I am new to this text, after all.

He came down from heaven, clothed in body,

Karma to match, stretched forth His cool Feet of Grace, from time immemorial

And lo!  inside me He stood, melting my yielding heart;

And filled my eyes with peerless bliss, past all compare,

All impurity dispelled.

This one verb, it really does it for me, it’s a verb that shows up in other verses, and also, in the intro.  It’s all about the melting.  The goal, is to melt the heart into the universal love of Shiva, and to melt the mind and ego into His universal consciousness. It is similar to the melting that happens to salt when it is placed into water.
To make this practical, one can visualize their body as if it were made of a solid block of salt. Perhaps that lovely pink Himalayan mountain salt. Then one can meditate on the body melting and dissolving into a vast ocean. One realizes that the individual self is not extinguished or negated by this melting. Instead, there is the experience of expanding into and merging with this vastness. We find that while the small self still exists, the wondrous bliss of Shiva’s reality supersedes petty individual concerns.
I highly recommend this book, and wil be posting more about it in the coming weeks. The practices in the book, along with the devotional reminders can powerfully orient the mind toward the ultimate and support our soul’s illumination.

New Aquisitions

I really enjoy books. I’ve always accumulated them quite easily, read them voraciously, and collected them doggedly. My library reached a new level several years ago when Bhagavan Das asked me to look after a few boxes of his books. There was some good stuff in there, stuff I may not have come across otherwise, and other things that I was familiar with, but just hadn’t got around to accumulating just yet. It was a quantum leap, quite satisfying. I decided to name my library, “The Bhagavan Das Library for Advanced Tantric Studies”. I thought it was official and important enough, and got back to the business of reading and collecting.
The BDLATS had another good day, about a year ago, when our dear friend Paul JJ Alix asked us to care for a portion of his collection for a spell. The excitement was lessened only slightly by the arrival of 11 boxes send C.O.D. I realized that this was the way to go. I stopped borrowing books, insisting that now, I only housed collections.
Well, we had a good day today, at the library. Nothing as fantastic as the collections we obtained from Baba or Paul, but still a solid haul. A Craigs List find. Fifteen books for $40. Mostly Chogyam Trungpa. One book by Musician John Cage. I didn’t bother haggling, and I almost always haggle. For the sport of it.
It was an easy transaction, the gentleman dropped them off at the yoga school, and said he was happy they were going to a good home. I gave him his money, and thanked him.

Here is the inventory:
Dharma Art (Dharma Ocean Series)
The Lion’s Roar: An Introduction to Tantra (Dharma Ocean Series)
The Heart of the Buddha (Dharma Ocean Series, 1)
The Tibetan Book of the Dead: The Great Liberation through Hearing in the Bardo (Shambhala Library)
Orderly Chaos: The Mandala Principle (Dharma Ocean Series)
Cutting Through Spiritual Materialism
Secret of the Vajra World: The Tantric Buddhism of Tibet
Dakini’s Warm Breath: The Feminine Principle in Tibetan Buddhism
Kundalini: Yoga For The West
Healing with Form, Energy, and Light: The Five Elements in Tibetan Shamanism, Tantra, and Dzogchen
The Masks of God, Vol. 2: Oriental Mythology
The Masks of God, Vol. 3: Occidental Mythology
Silence: Lectures and Writings
Trancending Madness
The Bliss of Inner Fire: Heart Practice of the Six Yogas of Naropa

Timothy Leary’s Tao Te Ching

Dearest Yogis and Yoginis,

I am reading a fantastic book.

They recently republished Timothy Leary’s version of the Tao Te Ching, “Psychedelic Prayers”. (Psychedelic Prayers: And Other Meditations (Leary, Timothy)
) I had an old version once, but I gave it to Paulie Zink. I was without one for a while, because I didn’t feel like spending $50 on a old tattered printing from the 60’s. But It’s back again, and I found one on ebay for 8 bucks. it has some extra stuff in the back that is wonderful too.
Tim wrote his version while in india, studying with a Buddhist Lama and a Vaishnava Monk. He had nine different english translations, and carefully crafted his version based on his readings and meditations. He writes it as a guidebook for a psychedelic experience, and gives it a clear beginning, middle, and end. The result is an elegant and transformational text, one suitable for any voyager of consciousness. any one who “floats through the universe of the body, without getting lost”. It works really well as a guide through yoga or meditation practice as well.

Here is a verse, it focuses on impermanence. I’ve been really into impermanence lately. Its a good thing to get a handle on. nothing fancy, its simplicity holds it beauty.

I – 5

All Things Pass

All things pass

A sunrise does not last all morning

All things pass

A cloudburst does not last all day

All things pass

Nor a sunset all night

All things pass

What always changes?

wind…fire lake…

These change

And if these do not last

Do man’s vision’s last?
Do man’s illusions?

During the session
Take things as they come

All things pass


and this one has been my favorite for a very, very long time.

VI – 17

Walk Carefully When You Are Among

“holy men” and
“righteous” deeds
Distract from the internal

“Learned men”
Distract from
Natural wisdom

Professional know-how
Addicts people to the contrived
And the external

Be respectful and compassionate
But walk carefully when you are among-
learned men
holy men
government officials
religious leaders
rich men
social scientists
women with beautiful faces
artists and writers
men who
charge fees
city men
movie makers
men who want to help you
men who want you to help them
Christians and Jews

For such as these
However well meaning
Place you on their chessboard
Addict you to their externals
Distract you from the
TAO within

The lesson of the TAO is more likely to be found among-
mountain men
smiling eccentrics
men who build their own homes
parents who learn from their children
amateur musicians
serene Psychotics
men who look at sunsets
men who walk in the woods
beautiful women
men who sit by the fire
men who make bread
couples who have been in love for years
unemployed men
smiling men with bad reputations

get your own copy of the book here: Psychedelic Prayers: And Other Meditations (Leary, Timothy)

turn off your mind, relax and float down stream…..


Sitaram Das