Wednesday, May 02, 2007
Ivan Granget has written this beautiful account of his kundalini awakening (a few years ago.) Among other things it included the experience of amrita (divine nectar) flowing down his throat. I know of only a few people who have had this wondrous experience, and I have long been fascinated by their accounts.
Ivan's website (the poetry chaikhana page) is listed among the links in the margin. I encourage you to look at it if you have not done so already.
Several years ago I was going through a quiet crisis. I had just left the spiritual path I had been following intensely for more than a decade. At that time I was living on Maui, meditating and praying, eating a simple, pure diet, fasting a lot -- and suddenly I had no framework for all of these practices. I had lost my spiritual orientation. Christmas came in the midst of this psychic collapse, followed quickly by New Years. A few days later, in early January -- POW -- I was catapulted into an ecstatic stillness. Perhaps what surprised me the most was that I realized I had been in that state always, I just hadn't noticed it. I saw that everyone is always in that state, they just have to settle into themselves enough to recognize it.
And -- accompanying this bliss was a sense of a subtle liquid-like substance descending through the head and down the back of the throat. It felt like I was drinking something, something utterly pure and nourishing, satisfying a soul hunger I didn't even know was there until it began to be properly fed. This drink has an ethereal sweetness on the tongue that can't easily be described. Drinking it, my heart grew warm and expanded until it felt to me as if the entire universe was held in my heart. Everything and everyone was alive inside my heart.
My body was so overwhelmed by this experience that it began to tremble, not in seizure, but surging to a powerful wave that couldn’t be resisted. And who would want to resist it? The joy was all-consuming! My eyes were closed and I have no doubt that a silly grin was plastered crookedly across my face. Anyone watching me would have thought I was drunk!
The intensity of that initial "taste" subsided slightly as I resumed my normal activities, but the flavor has remained with me. . .
(I want to give a quick disclaimer: I am not suggesting that I am spiritually "perfect" or anything like that. My wife can all too easily attest to my humanness and imperfections. Like you, I am on a journey. I share this special part of my journey in the hopes that it can open a doorway for you too, one that leads to the tavern.)
Dreaming when Dawn's Left Hand was in the Sky
I heard a voice within the Tavern cry,
"Awake, my Little ones, and fill the Cup
Before Life's Liquor in its Cup be dry."
- Omar Khayyam (1048 - 1131)
"The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam," translated by Edward FitzGerald
I began to write about the deep opening I was going through in a journal, but I soon found that what really wanted to come out was -- poetry. Naturally, I began to read spiritual poetry, as well: Rumi, Hafez, Kabir, Ramakrishna, St. John of the Cross. And, you know what I found in all of their work? Wine! Honey! Nectar! They were endlessly singing of the Celestial Drink. The more widely I read other mystic poets, the more I found this divine stream flowing through all religions and sacred traditions.
That's when I conceived of the idea of the Poetry Chaikhana website as an Internet resource for sacred poetry from around the world. What is a "chaikhana"? It is a teahouse, a place that serves the Celestial Drink...
(copyright, Ivan Granger)
Note: It is important to keep in mind that references to "intoxication" and "taverns" and "wine" in the mystical traditions have nothing to do with ordinary alcohol and drunkenness. They refer to the mystical states one experiences when one draws near to the divine source, a kind of spritual "high." Think how wonderful you felt when you had a "peak experience" or fell in love. At those times, one feels "intoxicated" with abundant joy.