Jul 232011
 

It was the last day of  the Sacred War when I first lay eyes upon the Tagos. I learned that he had come with many horsemen under his command and – together with the hoplites of Cleisthenes – finally razed Crisa to rubble on the Earth. As the cursed polis burned, however, a band of the rebels somehow escaped and stormed up the winding road to Delphi, where they set about slaughtering the saints in their beds.

I was thirteen years old. The saint Timocrates, who escaped the fate of the others while he was tending the holy lantern in the Corycian Cave, snatched me from my chamber and took me for hiding to the secret place of dedication. I saw the fear in his eyes as he spoke. “I must protect the temple. You will remain here, still and silent as a statue, and pray that the God stays with us.”

Then he was gone, leaving me to cower like a new-born goat in the cold, dark place, my only comfort God’s eternal flame as I listened to the sounds of death and destruction crashing like cymbals on the ground above. I do not know how long I was there, only that I moved neither lip nor limb as instructed and hoped the God would protect us, seeing as all else had failed.

I occupied myself with continual prayers to the beloved Deity, King of Light, until I was deep in his hypnotic embrace and did not even notice that the sounds of death progressively ceased, though I knew from the changing light that the sun had risen. When, with an immense clattering of noise – blood splattered but gleaming – a great warrior entered into that sacred space, the first thought to enter my sleep-stilled head was that Apollo himself had come to claim me. So it was that I ran with outstretched palms and tears of joy, right into the arms of the Tagos, my hair flowing like golden rain behind me.

The saints who tutored me were not like this man, who came to me clothed with the sun. He was handsome as only the God could be, that I recall clearly. When I recognised his costume and saw the insignia of Apollo upon his breast I fell into a trance, as if I were already the high priestess. I do not remember if he said a word then, only that he looked at me with a strange light in his eyes as he carried me up to greet the new Dawn.

Mar 022011
 

That hero Sudyumna, accompanied by a few ministers and associates and riding on a horse brought from Sindhupradeśa, once went into the forest to hunt. He wore armor and was decorated with bows and arrows, and he was very beautiful. While following the animals and killing them, he reached the northern part of the forest.

There in the north, at the bottom of Mount Meru, is a forest known as Sukumāra where Lord Śiva always enjoys with Umā. Sudyumna entered that forest.

O King Parīkṣit, as soon as Sudyumna, who was expert in subduing enemies, entered the forest, he saw himself transformed into a female and his horse transformed into a mare.

When his followers also saw their identities transformed and their sex reversed, they were all very morose and just looked at one another.

Mahārāja Parīkṣit said: O most powerful brāhmaṇa, why was this place so empowered, and who made it so powerful? Kindly answer this question, for I am very eager to hear about this.

Śukadeva Gosvāmī answered: Great saintly persons who strictly observed the spiritual rules and regulations and whose own effulgence dissipated all the darkness of all directions once came to see Lord Śiva in that forest.

When the goddess Ambikā saw the great saintly persons, she was very much ashamed because at that time she was naked. She immediately got up from the lap of her husband and tried to cover her breast.

Seeing Lord Śiva and Pārvatī engaged in sexual affairs, all the great saintly persons immediately desisted from going further and departed for the āśrama of Nara-Nārāyaṇa.

Thereupon, just to please his wife, Lord Śiva said, “Any male entering this place shall immediately become a female!”

Since that time, no male had entered that forest. But now King Sudyumna, having been transformed into a female, began to walk with his associates from one forest to another.

Sudyumna had been transformed into the best of beautiful women who excite sexual desire and was surrounded by other women. Upon seeing this beautiful woman loitering near his āśrama, Budha, the son of the moon, immediately desired to enjoy her.

The beautiful woman also desired to accept Budha, the son of the king of the moon, as her husband

Srimad Bhagavatam, Canto 9

Oct 272010
 

I might tell of many other noble deeds which have sprung from inspired madness. And therefore, let no one frighten or flutter us by saying that the temperate friend is to be chosen rather than the inspired, but let him further show that love is not sent by the gods for any good to lover or beloved; if he can do so we will allow him to carry off the palm. And we, on our part, will prove in answer to him that the madness of love is the greatest of heaven’s blessings, and the proof shall be one which the wise will receive, and the witling disbelieve. But first of all, let us view the affections and actions of the soul divine and human, and try to ascertain the truth about them:

The soul through all her being is immortal, for that which is ever in motion is immortal; but that which moves another and is moved by another, in ceasing to move ceases also to live. Only the self-moving, never leaving self, never ceases to move, and is the fountain and beginning of motion to all that moves besides.

Of the nature of the soul, though her true form be ever a theme of large and more than mortal discourse, let me speak briefly, and in a figure. And let the figure be composite-a pair of winged horses and a charioteer. Now the winged horses and the charioteers of the gods are all of them noble and of noble descent, but those of other races are mixed; the human charioteer drives his in a pair; and one of them is noble and of noble breed, and the other is ignoble and of ignoble breed; and the driving of them of necessity gives a great deal of trouble to him. I will endeavour to explain to you in what way the mortal differs from the immortal creature.

The soul in her totality has the care of inanimate being everywhere, and traverses the whole heaven in divers forms appearing–when perfect and fully winged she soars upward, and orders the whole world; whereas the imperfect soul, losing her wings and drooping in her flight at last settles on the solid ground-there, finding a home, she receives an earthly frame which appears to be self-moved, but is really moved by her power; and this composition of soul and body is called a living and mortal creature. For immortal no such union can be reasonably believed to be; although fancy, not having seen nor surely known the nature of God, may imagine an immortal creature having both a body and also a soul which are united throughout all time. Let that, however, be as God wills, and be spoken of acceptably to him. And now let us ask the reason why the soul loses her wings!

Plato, Phaedrus

Oct 182010
 

When you take your seat on the earth properly, you do not need  witnesses to confirm your validity. In a traditional story of the Buddha, when he attained enlightenment, someone asked him: “How do we know that you are enlightened?”

He said: “Earth is my witness.”

He touched the earth with his hand, which is known as the earth-touching mudra, or gesture. That is the same concept as holding your seat in the saddle. You are completely grounded in reality. Someone may say, “How do I know that you are not over-reacting to situations?”

You can say, simply, “My posture in the saddle speaks for itself.”

At this point, you begin to experience the fundamental notion of fearlessness. You are willing to be awake in whatever situation may present itself to you, and you feel that you can take command of your life altogether, because you are not on the side of either success or failure. Success and failure are your journey.

There may be times on your journey when you are so petrified that you vibrate in the saddle, from your teeth to your hands to your legs. You are hardly sitting on the horse – you are practically levitating with fear. But even that is regarded as an expression of fearlessness, if you have a fundamental connection with the earth of your basic goodness.

Shambhala, The Sacred Path of the Warrior, Chogyam Trungpa

May 092010
 

Ceiling

As the Shaman tapped the deer-skin
Drum, he spoke aloud his thinking,
“What became of those two fellows,
Those who still remain in heaven?”

From the deep green emerald forest,
Stepping softly came a figure,
Made of light, a horseback rider,
In one hand he bore an object.

“One returns,” spoke out the Shaman,
“He could tell a pretty story,
Judging by the hand that’s holding
Stuff of legend, history, glory.”

Robed in silence, seven sages
Watched the horseman drawing nearer,
Saw the object, clear as crystal,
Then, exhaled their breath for ages.

“This makes eight but who shall tell us,
Where the final one is waiting?”
Spoke the Shaman, at which moment,
Something stirred within the forest.

Light of limb and swathed in mystery,
Dazzling in the emerald darkness,
Stepping soft upon the carpet
Came the ninth and moved among them.

Sat she down beside the fire,
Peaceful as the moon at midnight
As the eight in spellbound wonder,
Took her as their inspiration.

Eyes that once were blind with wisdom
Opened then to something greater.
How it happened, none could fathom;
How the ninth became this lady.

So, there is the greatest mystery:
Free of time and made immortal,
Born to hold the key of history;
She, who dared step through the portal.