Sunday, September 25, 2011

Annihilation of ego

"Fanaa (فناء) is the Sufi term for extinction. It means to annihilate the self, while remaining physically alive. Persons having entered this state are said to have no existence outside of, and be in complete unity with, Allah.
Fanaa is similar to the concepts of nirvana in Buddhism and Hinduism or moksha in Hinduism, which also aim for annihilation of the self. Fanaa may be attained by constant meditation and by contemplation on the attributes of God, coupled with the denunciation of human attributes."

The 'self' to be annihilated refers to the ego, while 'Allah' is the Self of the universe.
The term Jihad originally referred to the struggle against one's own inner enemies: the false desires and aversions, and ego that drag us away from the Self. Like so many things in religion, a spiritual, internal concept has been debased into a physical, external one, and has come to be interpreted as war against others instead of the ego-self.

"In western societies the term jihad is often translated by non-muslims as "holy war". Scholars of Islamic studies often stress that these words are not synonymous. Muslim authors, in particular, tend to reject such an approach, stressing non-militant connotations of the word."

The Goddess fighting demons (symbolising inner enemies such as lust, greed and the ego), Art Gallery of New South Wales.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

The Goddess in Shelley

Alastor: or, The Spirit of Solitude

Mother of this unfathomable world!
Favour my solemn song, for I have loved
Thee ever, and thee only; I have watched
Thy shadow, and the darkness of thy steps,
And my heart ever gazes on the depth
Of thy deep mysteries.

Saturday, September 10, 2011


Mughal miniature painting of a princess cooling her feet in a pool of water.

Meditation is the best way of connecting with the Universal Self, beyond thought. Often, especially with busy modern lifestyles, the subtle energies in the body are not in balance, which disturbs the attention and makes it difficult to go into a state of thoughtless awareness. One method to balance the energies of the subtle body, as an adjunct to meditation, is to use water as a treatment. Foot-soaking is a simple and relaxing technique taught by Shri Mataji Nirmala Devi, the founder of Sahaja Yoga. It is used to cool down the fiery sun channel on the right side of the subtle body, to bring it into balance. For an even more cooling effect, a bag of ice can be held on the right side of the body over the liver.
When I was a child, if I was feeling unwell, my own mother used to fill a basin of water with salt in for me to put my feet in. This seems to be a traditional treatment that has been forgotten about.
You can footsoak at the sea, as the water is salty. The salt acts to absorb the negative energy and toxins from the body. The soles of the feet seem to have larger sweat pores that can exude the toxins more readily.

Thursday, September 01, 2011

Shri Ganesha Chaturthi Greetings

Shri Ganesha, Bangladesh, 11-12th century.

I was a little late posting this; Ganesha Chaturthi was on Thursday this year, and it's now the early hours of Friday. Anyway, this Hindu festival is an auspicious day sacred to the Elephant-headed son of Lord Shiva and Lady Parvati. Chatur means 'four', referring to the fourth day of the lunar cycle, at this time of year. The number four is associated with Lord Ganesha, who is connected with the earth and the foundation of all things.
He is usually depicted with four arms, (though often with more) perhaps representing the four directions of space, as He gives us our sense of direction. He also rules over the carbon atom, which has four valencies, and is the basis of life.
In Australia, the land of Shri Ganesha, this special day also coincides with the start of Spring, when the earth becomes fragrant.