Kundalini Splendor

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Wednesday, May 19, 2010

The Power of Shiva 

Tibetan, Resonant

At first it was a carillon,
resounding all the notes
of my body, making a bright song
of my flesh and inner realms.

Then it became a bell,
Tibetan, resonant,
awakening me everywhere,
sounding god in my body.

Now it is more like light
playing over a surface
of water,
the sun glinting over
reflections of itself,
mountains snow clad
and brilliant
shining white within the lake’s dark waters.

Dorothy Walters
June 19, 2006

Yesterday I stopped in at the Tibet store and bought a CD offering a recording of the famous mantra “Om Namaha Shivaya” plus another track of "Om." The first consisted of a chorus of pleasant young women singing in sweet tones, very gentle and discreet. But somehow it didn’t feel right. Shiva is not a tame household god. Shiva is majestic and wild, containing and emanating the massive energies that sustain the world. He dances in abandon, and it is that dance and the strength it implies that maintains all the dynamic activity of the universe. He is not, I think, someone to be cooed to, as if you were singing a baby asleep in the cradle. Indeed, this approach suggested that this was a chorus of “nice girls,” trained in “ladyhood,” perhaps at a finishing school, and not truly grasping real “Shiva power.” I think they were not ready to approach this wheeling altar.

The next track consisted of deep male voices trained in Tibetan and Mongolian styles of overtone chanting, with a strong instrumental background, chanting “Om” as one continuous note. You had the sense that they had been there, knew the journey, and were not afraid to confront its profound implications. To listen to them was like taking a voyage into space itself, the farthest reaches of the cosmos. Nothing was left out--like space, the sound went on and on--into infinity, into the place where nothing is, where there is only this one “brahma nada,” the primordial tone from which the universe began.

When the second track ended, I thought there had been a mistake on the recording. It listed the first track as lasting more than 40 minutes, but I had heard it for only 10 or so. Then I remembered. I had simply not listened to all 40 minutes of those sweet voices, that seemed so unsuitable to me. I had simply skipped to the next section, for I felt that to do otherwise would have been like trying to hold god in a teacup.

The great gods and goddesses of antiquity are no sweet Mary, meek and mild. They are often ferocious in their energy, dynamic, with limitless creative force. They may be formidable, but they do command our respect and veneration.

(I should add, however, that this CD has sold tens of thousands of copies, so obviously it is a favorite of many. Indeed, there are many wonderful "soft" versions of Om Namah Shivaha, which means simply I bow to Shiva in all his glory. The chanting/singing of Vyaas Houston is a brilliant example of shakti power captured in a gentle rendition of this and other famous mantras and kirtans. But this particular recording did not--for me--convey the majesty and power of the Lord of all that is.)

"Never trust a god who doesn't dance." (Old saying)

Dorothy Walters

May 17, 2010

(Image found on internet)

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