Kundalini Splendor

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Thursday, August 28, 2008

Spanda Karika (poem) 

Spanda Karika*

And so here we are,
a small dot
on the rim
of an inconsequential
sometimes trembling
in joy.

Who would take notice
when we arrive,
when we go,
what our involvements are.

Yet it emerges,
something inside,
this flower that constantly

Only the pulsation
is real.

Dorothy Walters
August 25, 2008

The Spanda Karika is the name of an early text (ninth century?) of Kashmiri Shaivism, a belief/spiritual practice which began in ancient India. The term refers to the divine impulse or trembling which creates and sustains the universe. Many of its notions are remarkably similar to those of modern physics and suggest our own relationship to the overarching Reality. Here is an excerpt from the back cover of this text in the edition translated by Jaideva Singh and with a preface by Paul Muller-Ortega, published by the State of New York University Press:

Spanda is the vibratory dynamism of the absolute consciousness. . . .
Through modern physics we have grown accustomed to thinking of reality as waves of energy--as the matter-energy continuum. Tantric Shaivism presents the full matrix of energy pulsation of which physical reality is only a part. From the relatively superficial perceptions of the senses to the progressively subtle forms of inner awareness, a unified spectrum of spanda leads inward, until the most delicate and powerful tendrils of individuality merge with the infinitely rapid vibration of ultimate consciousness.

I believe that this fundamental text of Kashmiri Shaivism not only explains what is going on in the universe on a cosmic level, but also describes what happens within each of us as we undergo awakening into what we call “kundalini consciousness,” and subsequently move into “progressively subtle forms of inner awareness” as the process unfolds.

Who wrote this profound work so long ago? Many hold that it was divinely inspired, a gift of knowledge bestowed on the rishis of old by the ultimate source of all knowing.

(Image from http://hubblesite.org/gallery/album/galaxy_collection/+1

Credit: Walter Jaffe/Leiden Observatory, Holland Ford/JHU/STScI, and NASA)

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