The Heart as Embodied Cosmos in the Kula

The concept of "anuttara" - the Supreme - which is identified with Shiva/Shakti - is a foundational principle in the Tantric philosophy of Kashmir Saivism.

The heart is where the Supreme resides - particularly in an interior space within the heart of Siva that exemplifies and is characterized by non-dualism.

But it is in community that the Supreme is truly experienced and shared - in the "kaula" or "kula" that I spoke of in my recent blog. This was the experience of all the participants at the recent gathering of Anusara Yoga teachers in Denver. The energy of the Supreme was experienced - it was palpable and embodied as the Shakti - or Divine manifestation of the Supreme. Shiva on the other hand is Consciousness - or the Essence of this energy.

Last night, I realized that some thirteen years ago or so - I walked into a bookstore in Newport Beach in California, and picked up Paul Muller-Ortega's book - The Triadic Heart of Siva: Kaula Tantricism of Abhinavagupta in the Non-Dual Shaivism of the Kashmir, in addition to some of Paramahansa Yogananda's books. Little did I know then - how these two paths were calling me - one the forerunner to Anusara Yoga - the other to the meditation and spiritual lineage I would embrace.

I picked up Paul's book last night and showed it to my husband who was reading in bed and asked if he would like to read it. He looked at me and gently said - it really wasn't at the top of his list at the moment, and we laughed.

As I opened the book, I realize that I now understood - or at least had the capacity for understanding this book so much more after the intensive on the Siva Sutras in Denver. The chapter I opened to was titled: "The Heart as Embodied Cosmos: Kula." And I thought to myself - that was what the experience of last week was truly all about!

From page 100:

"As the Embodied Cosmos that emerges from Siva, the kula is the grand and complex structure of lived reality...Abhinavagupta equates the kula with the Heart [of Siva]:

My heart, which is composed of the emission of the quivering, flashing condition of the union of the Mother with the Father, whose body is the Supreme, the immortal, the group (kula)."

The kula is really the power of the Supreme - of the Divine - as such we embody the strength, and freedom and consciousness of the Divine. We are entrusted with a sacred task and mission. I now understood at a deeper level the impact of this past week. As a wise friend and intuitive pointed out - I could not have reaped the fruits of that experience had I not undergone all the changes and growth of the last year. Truly, doors were opened - so that the doors of an innermost sanctuary could be opened - and so that the doors to my own heart could in turn open more widely - to give and receive...


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