Articles and Essays

Filling the Head with Mantra

Filling the Head with Mantra

by Vijnananath

When I meditate, I usually sit down, get comfortable, maybe follow my breath for a couple of minutes, and then turn straight inward and stay there for as long as I’m able. While such simplicity is generally best, it can still be helpful to have methods at hand for those times when you just can’t get your mind to turn inward, when your thoughts and emotions won’t slow down, or when you’re not able to devote your usual amount of time to ritual and meditation.

Your usual mantra may be used for this, if you have one. Both OM and OM Namah Sivaya are suitable. This practice “fills the head” with the chosen mantra, thus purifying the subtle channels of the head and concentrating awareness at the top of the central channel. This method may be used prior to meditation, or at any time during the day to focus the sensory apparatus inward. It is worth pondering the fact that the entire subtle energy system is recapitulated in the head, so the action of this practice impacts the entire system. As above, it may also be used in place of a full session of meditation or ritual puja if, for whatever reason, such is not possible. I recently made use of it several times daily while traveling.

Using the thumb of your right hand, count off repetitions of the chosen mantra on the three joints each of your little, ring, and middle fingers of the same hand, counting the tenth repetition on the thumb itself. Do this forward and backward for a total of 20 repetitions of the mantra while concentrating on the left eye. Repeat this process while concentrating on the right eye, then again on the mouth, again on the brow (including the mid-brain), and again on the space just above the crown of the head. Finally, repeat the mantra eight times in the Heart. This brings the total repetitions to 108, the number of a traditional japamala.

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Trishula Vidya Stotra

Trishula Vidya Stotra

Trishula Vidya Stotra
By Vidyanath

Salutations and Obeisance to The Cosmic Spirit
and to the immortal line of Shiva’s Naths!
Grant me the grace to align and unite with
this sacred emblem of the Naths!

Embodiment of the Nath Sampradaya,
Staff of Attainment,
A herald, a standard held high,
Magick wand of transmutation,
Lightning rod that receives,
Lightning rod that projects,
Active or passive, masculine or feminine,
Embodiment of Mysticism, Magick, and Mind.

A key that unlocks,
Center of the zonule’s Inner Sanctum,
Holy of Holies,
Divining rod,
Bindu flanked by Bhairava’s flames,
Intersection of infinite cosmic threads,
Guiding beacon of the third eye.

Expression of the mystical number,
Three prongs multiplying 3 x 3 x 3:

Insight, Intuition, Imagination
Sattva, Rajas, Tamas
Ida, Sushumna, Pingala

Brahma, Vishnu, Shiva
Saraswati, Lakshmi, Kali
Past, present, future

Three strokes of ashes
The three eyes
Iccha, Jnana, Kriya

Consort of the spinal snake,
I embrace you
And place you
In my Central Channel.
I empower you to empower me
and to assist in my Work
to unite with Divine Consciousness.

Of Rites and Rituals: The Crafting of a Nath’s Trishula

Of Rites and Rituals: The Crafting of a Nath’s Trishula

By Vijayanath

Om Gam Ganapati Namaha!

I give obeisance to the Cosmic Spirit and the Nath Kula Kaula, to the 4 Directions and the 3 Worlds… and to Earth Mother, who gives us form and substance to work out our Karmas in this life. I humbly and heartily thank All beings and elementals who have aided in the creation of this object. Guru Om.

The inspiration for this creative work came 3 winters ago, when I felt that the time had arrived to fashion an appropriate magickal tool to aid sadhana. In the east, the Trishula has many forms and represents the Ida, Pingala, and Sushumna Nadi within the human body and it is also the adamantine weapon of Shiva. It is both an operative and symbolic object that is synonymous with the Wizard, or Yogi, Himself. During frequent forays in the home smashana, I began to catch glimpses of its shape in flashes across the stilled surface of my mind’s eye. Sketching commenced, and within a few days a working drawing appeared. As the form was refined on paper, I set about gathering the necessary materials to carve a wax model.

This was to be a masterful work combining form and function that would likely outlast the earthly vessel of its creator, so naturally the timeline would only be revealed as the work progressed, evolving of its own accord. When inspiration struck, I carved, and amidst the small chaos of worldly life, several household moves and some structural design changes, it took shape. The completed Trishul continued to visit during puja, a magickal companion thinly veiled in the aether, waiting to be fully born.

Intimations of Kula ancestors have frequently come to me at the Dhuni and reach back into the mists of time upon the continuum of spirit. Echoes of voices; chanting, their shadows appearing and disappearing in the flickering firelight, speak to me of the spartan lifestyle of those primal sadhakas. Longing for progressive realization and contemplation, haunting burning grounds and other desolate places to carry out their initiatic rites and experiments, occasionally fending off wild dogs, carrion eaters and devils yet more strange, inspired me to build such a tool as to stand up the ages as well as the rigors of martial ardor that may be required of it one day.

After some time, the remaining materials and final construction became discernible as the wax head piece slowly emerged from the lapis colored block. Once the wax pieces were completed, everything else fell into place in typical Nath fashion, with omens pointing the way and synchronicity at every turn.

Such synchronism coalesced around the particulars of the process. I needed a place to cast the metal parts, that had the right tools and know how available, as well as being sympathetic to its purpose. I was pleased soon after, when I bumped into an old colleague whom I will refer to henceforth as the Earth Mage. After catching up on mutual interests, I told him of the project. Upon hearing the purpose of the piece, he generously offered up his workshop and expertise at such time may be auspicious to cast the piece in Ancient Bronze. For the shaft, a fine grained South American hardwood was chosen from a local craftsman who advised me of its properties and worked it into proper shape, having just enough time before being swamped with other projects. With these pieces of the puzzle affixed, I contacted Khadga Devi, a dear friend and Nathess skilled in the art and science of Jyotish, from whom I obtained an appropriate Muhurta to bring forth the crowning realization of this endeavor. In response, two dates were given; the first, for the casting of the metal parts and the second, for the inaugural ritual. At which time, all main components must be affixed.

The Astrological alignments had been designated and so, with renewed focus and a prayer of thanksgiving, I worked into the wee hours for three consecutive nights in the catacombs of Earth Mage’s shop. The spirit of transformation presided over the processes of our work, and obstacles were disintegrated almost as quickly as they arose. On the third night, after appropriate preparations and purifications, I tossed 3 pinches of Ash, the refined essence of more than a dozen Dhuni rituals, into a crucible of bronze casting grain, and transmuted it to liquid in the dragon mouth of super heated flame. Intentions crystallized and mantras were offered as we poured molten metal into the investment flask that, one day before, had solidified around the wax models of the Trishul’s head and tail pieces.

After cooling, the newly born triumvirate and its counterweight were freed of their embryonic casings for clean up and final heat treat, giving the pieces a two-tone finish. Bright, high polish on the bevels and a dull, hammered patina on the center eye. This eye, also symbolic of the Primordial Plenum of Cosmic Yoni, disgorges Shakti as seen in the raised, oblong ingot sliding further down the ferrule – alighting upon the opened crowns of the sadhaks after performing evocations and excitations on the helical orbit. The main modes of magick used in the Nath Kula are that of Projection of Will/Intent and the subsequent Absorption of Divine Grace in the form of the subtle energy called Shakti. The Keys for success in such an enterprise are Concentration and Attunement with a nod to Intensity and Frequency of practice.

After securing the head piece and end cap to the staff with pins of the same Bronze, I began the leather work portion. Spiral wrapping the center shaft, first with black leather and then Brass wire, I drew the color of the metal between tip and tail. Completing the detail of the Central Nadi are Turk’s Head Knots fashioned with red leather thong; three passes below and two above.

The Inaugural Rite with the newly constructed Trishul was a grand success, and it proves to be every ounce effective in its purpose. To complete its installment in the Zonule, I tapped two other craftsmen to make a leather cowl for the head piece and a steel base stand, nearly completing my vision of the project.

As I wend my way in to the mountain valley, her sentinels of Cedar, Fir and Hemlock speaking quietly to one another, I hear the Shaman’s rattle and smell incense as I approach Umbra Caelestis Dhuni…. The brush of a Tengu’s* wing welcomes me back into the Sacred Circle and I plant the Trishula firmly in the Earth at her rim, next to the Dragon Seat – where the Alchemagick of Becoming begins again with a deep prostration, a focused Will, and a spark.

Om Shri Nivritti Marga Paramahamsaji Namaha

*note: Tengu (as they are known in Japan) are powerful but reclusive and occasionally benefic spirits that protect and reside in the forested mountains. Described as winged and beaked, or ruddy and long-nosed, these magicians represent formerly human spirits in transition to higher, more subtle realms of being – closely akin to the Garuda of South Asia.

Trishul on a dark background.
On Shakti

On Shakti

Shakti can be described in a number of ways. The straight definition is that Shakti is the energy or power by which the Cosmic Spirit manifests itself. Now I will go through some hypothetical definitions and respond to each:

A power to be controlled and utilized—That is siddhi. To the extent that the individual spirit has realized a deep connection to the Cosmic Spirit, Shakti can be expressed through the Will of the magician.

A divine being to be worshipped—Yes, absolutely for sure. That’s how the connection is made and expanded.

Pure individualized self devoid of ego—You must mean pure UNindividualized self devoid of ego, otherwise it’s a contradiction, a self-contradiction, so to speak. Anyway, that’s a description of the Absolute, or Cosmic Spirit, and yes, Shakti is Cosmic Spirit made tangible to the refined and trained mind.

A Goddess and/or an intelligent and aware force—In mythology Shakti is usually thought of as a Goddess, consort of Shiva, and often worshiped as the Divine Mother as a way of going back to the Source from which we came. But let’s not get stuck on gender – Shakti can be generated and accessed through worshiping Shiva and other “male” god forms too. Shiva and Shakti are flip sides of a coin, inseparable, dual aspects of the One. Yes, Shakti is an intelligent and aware force. It is consciousness, after all.

Blind force, something which can be possessed, transferred, or lost—No, not blind force but quite the opposite, and “possessing” Shakti is just a casual manner of speaking where one might hear that such-and-so a siddha “has a lot of Shakti,” but of course the meaning is not to imply literal ownership, as it is the siddha who is a devotee of the Shakti (and he must be a good devotee if people are saying he has a lot of Shakti).

Shakti can be transferred to another person if they are properly receptive, which is the basis of an initiation lineage like the INO. It can be projected into an object as well. It is not the same as prana. Prana is life force associated with the body; Shakti is a cosmic spiritual force. Every living person experiences prana every moment, fewer experience Shakti.

While sitting for puja, the Nath subsumes his/her prana into the Shakti as an integral part of the yoga, however ultimately it must be remembered that Clinging To Life is an obstacle to spiritual liberation. Once attained, Shakti can be lost by allowing Kleshas to proliferate unchecked.

Om.

Dhruvanath