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Kalki Purana 30

Confused, some Brahmanas worshiped devas and even other beings.  Some Brahmanas even attempted to bewilder, trick and fraud the people to follow them in this false practice.  And some Brahmanas even conned the people that they might be worshiped them too, as if they were worthy of or deserved worship.  Kalki put a stop to all these con artists, and ended the frauds and tricksters, and corrected the understanding of the confused.  Then Kalki was able to rule and reside happily in Shambhala. 

With the false practices were at last stopped, Kalki's father asked Kalki to perform a sacrifice to benefit all the world, that Kalki might demonstrate correct worship.  Kalki agreed, saying that to do so would certainly advance the economic development, recreational enjoyment and spiritual welfare of his people.

Kalki therefore first honored the sages - by seeking their guidance in this ritual.  By their advice, he selected a place between the Yamuna and Ganges.  Having ritually bathed, he gave sufficient dakshana.  He fed everyone a vegetarian meal: Agni's fire became the kitchen fire, and Agni the cook!  Varuna happily brought water to everyone.  Anila served the food.  All the beings of every world performed their duty in service of the ritual. 

Then, Kalki himself arranged the entertainments: dancing, singing, and music!  In the joy, everyone received gifts and became wealthy.

Now, Rambha danced, Nandi played the musical instruments, and Huhu the Gandharva sang the melody.  Then the sages and true Brahmanas gave lyrics to the melody.  The lyrics evolved into narrations of the stories.  The stories brought focus onto the actions of great Kings - in honor of Vishnuyasa, Kalki's father, who commanded the ritual. 

As this kirtan was perfected, it manifested Narada himself: one day, Narada came into the assembly, playing his vina, and singing.  He was immediately greeted with great honor by everyone present.  Vishnuyasa expressed his gratitude for the opportunity to honor Narada: for in honoring Narada, Hari is honored.  By Narada, the cycle of birth and death can be brought to end, Karma itself can be sacrificed: Narada is the captain who can bring a ship across the ocean of existence. 

Standing before Narada at last, Vishnuyasa told Narada that it was his life's ambition to have that chance to ask Narada, "what is the purpose of a human life but freedom?  How can I become free?"

Narada was astonished.  "It is extraordinary that the father of Vishnu is asking me how to become free!  You, who have attracted Vishnu that he might play act the role of your son, ask me how to become free?"  Narada considered the question for a moment more, and then led Vishnuyasa away to a quieter place, to instruct him while the ritual continued.

"I will repeat to you what Maya once said to a living being when Maya saw that being desiring another body after giving up its old and useless one at death.  I think this story would benefit you, and encourage you toward freedom from the entanglements of materiality at this similar point in your life."

Narada said,

To converse with the being, Maya-dev assumed the form of an ordinary woman and said, "I am Maya, the destroyer of your life. Why then would you ask Me for another material body?"

The being said, "I want to have another material body because it is my only shelter.  Without one, how could anyone think in terms of 'I' or 'mine?'"

Maya said, "you only think that the body is the refuge of the self because your intelligence is polluted, intoxicated by the form that constrains it.  You are intoxicated by Me, because I constrain you: it is because I have limited your perception, it is because I have limited your existence, it is because I now destroy your life that you think the way you do, desiring to continue it: free yourself from Me, free yourself from your attachment to Me and the limitations I make for you, free yourself from My influence - you will attain greater understanding and see you have been mistaken.  You will mature beyond the necessity for My constraint.  Like an embryo is constrained by the mother's womb, like a child is sheltered by their parents, as you mature you must become free of Me."

The being said, "Maya, it is not I who must mature - but you.  Without me, your wisdom, your manifestations, your enjoyment would never sweeten, like a fruit harvested from the tree too soon that never matures."

Maya said, "even the unripened fruit is eaten by one being or another, and then digested, takes new form as part of that consuming being - as if the fruit never existed in the first place.  All beings move about like programmed machines, unthinking, full of action, because I am their motivation and the cause of their automation.  You are foolish - this existence, and all your past and future names and forms, is all because of me, and thus far indistinguishable from Me.  As an unchaste spouse chastises their faithful spouse, you criticize Me.  That you even beg to remain ensnared, that you are aware of your impending freedom, that you are aware of Me - this indicates you are already free, you have matured.  As a spouse renounces marriage, upon death, upon Sannyasa, you have reached another stage and must move on.  Darkness remains only in the absence of the sun - so too without Me you have no existence.  You are already beyond existence, beyond My reach.  Free yourself of your attachment to Me, however much you love Me.  Let go, as a cloud uncovers the sun."

The being was distressed.  "Mayadevi, you are like the bark of a tree: you try to separate what is inside from what is without, you remain unchanged even as the universe changes.  You see my form as separate from yours, but we are not so different: am I free from the nature you gave to Me?  My inclination toward Kama, Artha and Dharma remains.  Even through the impermanent nature of the body you gave me.  Are you and I no better for each other than the bark of a tree, or the walls of a house, a temporary shelter from the world?"

Narada said to Vishnuyasa "this is the same way you feel for your son, Kalki.  Yet Kalki is Vishnu.  Not only your life and soul, not only your son, but the son of everyone.  Try to understand, Vishnuyasa.  Try to let go.  Try to understand the Maya that intoxicates you: then you will live in this world, free of your son, free of Hari.  If you can see how you are being controlled by Maya, you will become free of the desire to enjoy the fruits of your Karma.  Genuine knowledge leads to detachment from, to the sacrifice of all material ambitions.  See Hari in the energy of all the universe, see the sustaining of the universe in Hari.  Is there a difference between spouses united in love?  Between any two beings united in love?  Fix your mind not on Kalki, nor on Hari, but the supersoul that is them both.  On that which is also you."

After instructing Vishnuyasa in this way, Narada circumambulated Kalki, and departed for KapilAsrhama. 

Vishnuyasa then understood that Kalki was truly the manifestation of Hari and sacrificing his life, left for the Vanaprastha Ashrama.  His wife, Sumati, not understanding, but trusting, followed her husband into the forest.  Residing in BadankAshrama, they performed severe austerities in Bhakti Yoga, dying free, in the embrace of his courageous wife, who, carried by the heat of her husband's Bhakti, followed her husband into death, and freedom. 

When Kalki heard of the news of the death of his parents, he made himself appear emotionally overwhelmed - tears rolled down his cheeks.  The two were burned in one pyre.  Kalki set an example of how to properly care for not only the bodies of the dead, but the dead and surviving. 

Afterward, continuing to perfectly observe good conduct, Kalki continued to reside in Shambhala, with Padmavati and Rama as he continued to rule the Kingdom, continued to the completion of the ritual.

Now Parasurama, Rama with the Axe, arrived at Shambhala, desiring to see Kalki in the accomplishment of his Tirtha Yatra, to cheer him.  When Kalki saw his spiritual master, Kalki cheerfully greeted him, and fed him many delicious foods, giving him valuable garments, sitting him on an opulent couch.  After the meal, Kalki massaged Parasurama's feet, and spoke with gentle and sweet voice, "My dear spiritual master, by your mercy, I have accomplished the three purposes of life.  I have demonstrated correct ritual.  I have accomplished the ritual of My manifestations.  Now, as you know, my wife, has a request.  Please hear it."

Kalki's wife, being thus introduced, asked Parasurama, "how shall I receive a son?

Thus did Parasurama, with the desire to please Kalki, instructed Kalki's wife.

RSVP for next free public classes

Hello! This is a reminder to RSVP for the free classes on March 20th (3:30pm) and 22nd (8:30am). The weather is going to be dry and pleasant, so we'll be meeting outdoors. This means you'll want to dress appropriately for outdoors, bring water, and be prepared for no restroom facilities.

We'll be practicing holding positions longer this week and integrating breathing and meditation into the Asana. Beginners will be instructed in less difficult poses, such as those which are sitting or laying down, and intermediate and advanced students will be instructed in more challenging positions. Students will be instructed in three meditation techniques: directed, undirected and applied. Sitting will follow instruction.

We will be meeting at a location near the Ashram: the site is being used for construction, is adjacent to existing structures, and also has wilderness aspects (undeveloped unused land). There are prairie dogs, rabbits, songbirds, raptors, quail, numerous domestic animals, and plenty of human presence as well. It is ideal for sitting meditation, which will follow the instruction.

The address (for your GPS/Siri/Alexa/other virtual assistant) to meet at is: 2472 Orion Way, Grand Junction CO 81505. From there, we will take a short walk to the location of the class for warm-up.

Instruction in Asanas, Yamas, Samadhi

In understanding the world, it is first necessary to understand the way it is perceived: accepting that we are not objective observers of our reality, but that we are affected not only by it, but by our evolving understanding of it, is necessary if we are to see, hear, smell, taste, touch and think in ways that permit glimpses of a reality beyond our own perception through logic.

Yamas and Niyamas.  First, attempt to control your mind by attempting the yamas and niyamas.  In trying to speak no falsehood, you will learn what it means to truly lie, and the impossibilities of truth. You will understand right speech.  In trying to harm no living creature, you will learn what life truly is, and discover you are also a living creature - you will understand your nature is to harm other beings, and make them your food, your clothing, your shelter, and come to perceive the true reality of their sacrifice to you.  You might become worthy of their sacrifices.  Exercise chastity, and you will discover continence.  Restrain your breath, you will discover your need for air.  Attempt any extreme behavior and you will find moderation.  Restrain all your organs in pratyahara, and you will understand their function.  What is the function of your spirituality?  Become disillusioned with ritual and religion, and you will discover true sacrifice.  Grow weary of the lyrics and you will hear the true melody of the Vedas.  Grow weary of this world and you will discover others.  Discover all your lives.  This training takes most people 12 years.  Do you have the sense to accomplish it faster?

Asana.  Everyone has one posture or another which is natural to them, which comes easiest.  What is your resting state?  What is your satisfaction, and the means to it?  What is necessary for your life, to sustain it and give it meaning?  What is the expression of your Dharma, Artha and Kama?  This is most easily discovered by difficulty and other austerities - which also gives one the strength of courage required to pursue, obtain, and succeed in these goals of Dharma, Artha and Kama.  Can you perform the sacrifice of difficulty and austerity?  Can you sit, relaxed, in victory?  Or are you too restless?  Some may not find success in this training their entire lifetime, with their progress it would take them hundreds or thousands of years to succeed.  Do you have the sense to accomplish it faster?

Samadhi.  Awareness of body leads to awareness of mind, which leads to awareness of thought, which leads to awareness of consciousness, which leads through wisdom and skill and contentment of self toward what lies beyond self, beyond consciousness itself.  Purify your self as you would remove salt from water, refine your self as you would destroy the dross from gold, seek your self as you would a lost child, win yourself as you would your lover, your devotee.

Do you think of evil things?  Do you think there are evil things?  You will soon discover what goodness truly is.  Are you aware yet of your pain?  You will discover the cause of it, and discern the ending of it.  You will understand the subtle means of ending it.  You will tame yourself, accept the reins and bear the yoke.  You will succeed.

Do not get bound by ritual - Agni Purana 14.1

Vishnu manifested as the Buddha to restore the Dharma by teaching against rituals, and proving that it is not proper for a seeker to get bound by them. Ritual is only the seed of understanding.

The Purpose of the Buddha's Enlightenment - Kalki Jayanti

Illustration by the talented Nina Paley
Kalki is filthy, wicked, fecal, deceitful, disgusting, not someone you'd associate with. Agitated, excited, playful, frolicing, sporting, boistrous - like an adolescent maturing.  Cherishing, devoted, worthy of devotion.  Like we might see ourselves. Can you love yourself?

Kalki is the Satyayurga, and can accomplish sacrifices others presently cannot.  If you could live in the Satyayurga, if you lived in the future, would you travel back in time to today and set things right? Time is an illusion, but your duty is not. Remember the people you knew, all the beings and places you knew, and return to help them. Travel to every time and place, and set things right.

But could you help yourself? Would you be your friend?

Kalki is the next manifestation of Vishnu, the result of perfecting the teachings of the Buddha Gotama, the previous manifestation of Vishnu - for manifesting Kalki was the purpose of the Buddha's enlightenment, just as the Buddha achieved Krishna's purpose.  There is a purpose to the ending of sacrifices.  There is a purpose to the giving up of religion.  Atheism is only a step in the journey.  Even as a temple is but a step in the journey from and to your home.  

The Story of Kalki
A long time ago, there was war between the gods and demons. The demons managed to defeat the Devas, who in defeat sought the protection of Vishnu. Vishnu assured them, Vishnu would manifest as a Buddha, the son of Shuddhodana. As a Buddha, Vishnu would restore the Dharma: then, all the demons, indeed all beings, would become Buddhists and live contentedly in their own worlds (lokas), at peace. The Devaloka would be restored to the gods by the demons, who would willingly give up all possessions; even the vedas would be given up.

Vishnu would manifested as a Buddha at the end of the age of Kali, when people lost the path of the Vedas. They became criminals, violating their duties - and concerned only with Artha, disregarding Dharma and Kama.  They become robbers and plunderers. When even the Kings neglected their own laws, they began to devour each other, sustaining each other like cannibals.

But Gotama turned the wheel of Dharma, his weapon, the Dharmachakra, and already the transformation is underway.  Once the Dharma is restored and all the worlds were at peace, Vishnu will again be manifested - this time as the son of Vishnuyasha, the "enjoyment of Vishnu," in Shambhala (an Asana name: place/time/action). The sage Yajnavalkya would be Vishnu's priest, he will be instructed and armed by all the previous avatars of Vishnu, and the four Ashramas and four Castes would be restored when all beings begin to again venerate the sanctity of words, and become righteous. This will utterly destroy all doubt and unbelief, all criminality will be destroyed. This will be the dawn of the Satyayurga.

Manifesting Kalki
Krishna, the manifestation of Vishnu precedent to the Buddha, taught a method of Vedasamnyasa, of renouncing the Vedas: this is not Atheism, for it is an act of renouncing not only Theism but also Atheism.  It is a total detachment from spiritual materialism, a rejection of superstition for reason and logic.  Ritual is but a tool by which we can strengthen ourselves, and others.  To properly renounce the Vedas requires taking them up: just as it is impossible to relax from an Asana without having taken it up, or to permit a sacrificial fire to extinguish itself without having ignited it.  This requires understanding the Dharma instructed by all previous manifestations of Vishnu.  This is the vedanta.

Follow in Vishnu's footsteps; manifest each avatar in its place, and discover the unspoken truth, the hidden and secret knowledge of Kalki for yourself.  Indeed, move beyond belief in things like separate times, and spaces separated by distance, reality is both tangible and may be fully explored: you are an explorer, this is your purpose, exploration.  This is not to say that they cannot be explained or expressed, only that the path leading to them is full of wonders which you will find words inadequate for - and as you will find, as with any Tirtha, pilgrimage, the journey (Yatra) is as important as the destination.

Seek the magical weapons your past and future selves hold for yourself; take joy in your being, disgusting as it may seem to you - and and destroy your own criminality; take Yajnavalkya for your personal Priest, study the secret knowledge and bring an end to the Vedas to restore your Dharma.  Then, like Kalki, you will have transformed your former criminality to become your vehicle.  Upon this white horse, you can ride forth from Shambhala with your flaming sword held high, to free the world, to rescue the gods and all the beings from their Karma!

Kalki's name connotes "wrong," a "filth" or "paste," "fecal odor," "dirty," "deceitful," like what is found at the bottom of a sick, tepid pool of water - someone you "would not associate with."  On such a journey as is required of you, you will become filthy and roadworn and weary.  Can you remain boisterous, and ever-loving?

It is a journey not only worth taking, but one which you must take: do not ever forget, victory in Yoga is your birthright.  Now is the time to lay claim to what is yours.  Success, Yogi!

Yajnavalkya Upanishad: The greatest Yagna

The greatest Yagna is the one which accomplishes the purpose of Yagna, and brings an end to Yagna. The greatest sacrifice is the one which accomplishes the purpose of the sacrifices, necessitating no further sacrifice. The sacrifice of sacrifices is not the end of sacrifices, nor the purpose of sacrifice. 

The purpose of learning geometry is not the knowledge of shape, but learning the construction of shape.  In constructing shapes, knowledge emerges.  It is in the same way that wisdom emerges from the temple: understanding shape permits understanding relationships, and this is the means to application. The sacred act of such geometry reveals what was perceived but not known: what is defined can be related, and such relation produces the conditions for what is desired.  This is the way and reason for which an altar is constructed through geometry.

As one might become disgusted with life after their friend or spouse dies, discontinuing the fire ritual, or failing to maintain the fire, as a fire may be permitted to extinguish itself, so does that which sustains life bring an end to it.

Those who have sacrificed their fluids to Indra find that the fire knows no difference between blood and water.  The ashes of wood, grass, flesh, even fluid are the same.  What difference is there between the ashes of blood, saliva, mucus, bile, semen or any of the other liquids in the body when the water common in them all is removed?  This is how by sacrifice one understands a great deal of impurity can be tolerated by Agni, how Agni takes what is pure, leaving behind what is not. Discover the limits of your own tolerance for impurity: it is not by wearing the sacred thread that one becomes a Brahaman, but by satisfying the conditions of confidence in your sacrifice. it is good enough.

How can one injure another when seeking for Brahma, in Brahmacharya? Even if one seeks Brahma upon the battle's field, you will not harm another, and in such harmlessness, succeed.  Fast even unto your death, enter into the purifying waters until you drown: you will not destroy yourself.  All limits or extremity are illusionary, yet there is nevertheless Brahma. Seek this Brahma not in the extremities, but in the exertion of the seeking.  Then you will find Brahma in the sufficiency of your moderation and self-restraint, in the limits of reality.  Indeed, one who collapses on their journey fails in it, but the one who takes it in stages (Ashramas) succeeds - and returns home.

Sages wear no distinguishing marks, and yet conduct themselves sensibly. Proclaim sufficiency!  All you do teaches, speaks, tells of sufficiency!  A child is born without clothes, as if unaffected by heat or cold, pleasure or pain, incapable of accepting anything.  And yet this child will take up the wearing of clothing, even ceremonial clothing, only to discard it later.  You are well-established in the path, incapable of avoiding the stages of your journey. By merely sustaining your life, you succeed.

Do you think Atman is in every being?  Bow before all beings and you will soon give up that thought.  Sacrifice that belief, and all others.  Having bowed to every being, you will no longer bow before anyone.  Nor tolerate any bowing before you.  You neither require nor deserve to be bowed to.

There are those who sacrifice their fluids to Indra in the hope of a child.  But this is not how children are gained.  There are those who believe that a child will bring them happiness.  But one quickly learns even a son who is unborn worries the parents: often, the mother and father worry for miscarriage and failure, even before the quickening.  And once birth is successful, the son worries his parents that he will not learn, or thrive, or mature beyond the stage (Ashrama) of his parents and fail his purpose.  And after his mother and father are dead, he then troubles himself: sometimes he might even fail because of the extent of his worrying.  Bound and attached to the success he desires, even those desires of his parents, he becomes prisoner to the victory he desires.  He avoids women, for fear of sexuality, and makes sacrifices to fires without ever achieving success - for he does not understand what it means to succeed.  Having never embarked upon the journey, he does not know lies beyond the stages.

Vishnu was perplexed: Vishnu Purana 4.6.

Chandra, the moon, was the grandson of Brahma. Chandra was jealous of the wife of Brihaspati (Planet Jupiter), Tara. Everyone warned him of his jealousy, and tried to help him, but he was driven insane by the jealousy. So, taking a small force of his soldiers, he invaded Brihaspati's Kingdom, and Brihaspati's palace, kidnapping Tara, taking her back to his Kingdom as his own. When she was his captive, he raped her, and impregnated her.

When Brihaspati discovered that his wife had been kidnapped by Chandra, he immediately sought the help of all the other planets - but they were no match for Chandra, and Chandra's armies. They sought the help of many other friends, but Chandra, were just too strong. The gods were called upon to help - and Chandra received the help of the demons, who were always ready for an opportunity to fight the gods. Soon, every being in every world was fighting on one side or another of this war.

Whenever the gods and demons fight, Vishnu intervenes. In the ceasefire, he negotiated the release of Tara, and reparations. Chandra was cured of his insanity, and performed severe penance, and even earned the forgiveness of both Tara and Brihaspati.

But Tara was still pregnant. She did not want to bear the child of her husband's enemy, her captor, her enemy. So she attempted to abort the fetus. Yet it was too late for that - and before she could abort the child, Tara gave birth. The baby was born healthy and beautiful; but then war almost broke out again. Both Chandra and Brihaspati claimed fatherhood of the child: for Chandra was the biological father (from raping Tara), and Brihaspati was the husband of the mother. Chandra wanted to make things right; Brihaspati, too, wanted things to be right. The arguments grew heated, and even Vishnu was perplexed how to avoid a new fight!

Brahma came forward to settle the dispute: while everyone was arguing, no one noticed the child had already achieved the Ashram of Brahmacharya; he therefore had chose his father, and was a child of Brahma. Brahma adopted the child as his own, calling him "wise," Budha, for knowing his father when no one else did.

The Buddha's first enlightened lesson - Udana 2.1

Understandably, the first lesson Gotama gave to human students at the Deer Park is cherished, but the very first lesson Gotama gave upon his enlightenment was to Mucalinda, the Snake.

When Gotama just realized full enlightenment at Uruvela, beside the river Neranjara, he sat for a week recovering his strength, experiencing the bliss of freedom. Now, it happened that there came a great rainstorm out of season, with cold winds, and unsettled weather. With this came mosquitoes, gadflies, and all kinds of irritations. So Mucalinda the Snake, King of the Nagas left his palace and encircled Gotama's body with his coils and covered Gotama's head with his cobra hood to keep Gotama warm, sheltered from the rain, wind, mosquitoes, gadflies, and the other unsettled weather and irritants.

When the weather cleared, King Mucalinda removed his coils from Gotama's body and stood before the Buddha, in Bhakti Yoga. Gotama said to the King, "Detachment is blissful - if you are content, have learned the Dharma and see. Such bliss is actually non-affliction; expressed by restraint toward other beings and all irritants. One who overcomes desires for pleasure and aversion to pain is blissful, this is possible by abolishing the conceit of "I am.""

Vatsu Shastra

Multiple shrines are organized into a Temple so that the practices undertaken at each shrine does not conflict with another.

Cardinal directions are utilized to divide the space: some rituals require the morning light, others the evening light, and others should take advantage of weather patterns, or other natural phenomenon.  The two directions of the sun (rising - east - and setting - west) are divided in half (north and south).  These are then divided again into a total of eight directions (northeast, southeast, northwest, southwest). 

These are then divided in three: from the northern most extent of the sun and the southernmost extent of the sun, and its average mean extent at the equinox. 

These eleven directions are then divided in three heights: above, below and upon the surface.  These heights are then divided again to below the sky and above the surface, and to what is below the surface but above the depths. 

This subtotal of 99 divisions is then divided again by major and minor divisions of time: day and night, portions of each day and night (hours), and even minutes and seconds - sometimes two practices might need the same space, but for time-sharing, this could not be accomplished.

The days are then combined into months, seasons, years, and even epochs: there are practices which are not yet inappropriate (not currently scheduled) for the Satyayurga, and even which are past-due (whose time has past).


The divisions of space and time are then grouped into domains of authority, so that organization is possible: there are far too many divisions to be managed by one authority alone.  These are understood through various Devas, Asuras, and other beings.  Many superstitions have arisen over which is primal, but as mentioned, the divisions are too great for any one authority: a degree of co-operation is required which precludes primal power.

EAST: Indra.  This is where beginnings of practice are best held.  This is where the entrance is commonly placed.
WEST: Varuna.  This is where conclusions of practice, their completed products, or achievements are best held, displayed and honored - before being stored in the Treasury.
NORTH: Kubera.  This is where fragile items are stored, where the treasuries are kept, where the requirements for practice are best kept.
SOUTH: Yama.  This is where sacrifices are best undertaken.  This is where the exit is commonly placed.
NORTHEAST: This is where long-term practices, complex practices, pujas and other practices that do not bear interruption or are of uncertain success are to be held.  These are prevented from becoming disturbing to the other areas by various Devas and friendly, helpful beings.
NORTHWEST: This is where short-term, immediate, and other simple practices certain of success are to be held.  Especially Kirtan.  These are confined to the Northwest by Hanuman, who acts in dominion over it.
SOUTHEAST: This is where the sacrificial fire is kept, and is confined and kept by Agni, who acts in dominion over it.  This is also where Kitchen and other practices which similarly accomplish the goal of sacrifice are undertaken.
SOUTHWEST: This is where storage of durable items, and heavy unmovable but necessary items are kept, like a garage or utility room.  The clutter and maintenance is prevented from becoming disturbing to other areas by various Asuras, and other grudgingly helpful (cantankerous) beings.

It should be said that such domains are not firmly fixed: if circumstances require, they may even be moved in the middle of practice.  For example, in some places, the best place to keep the fragile items in the south instead of the north - due to temperature and humidity concerns.  Or the nature of the fragile items may be such that they are not so fragile, but that an adjacent domain needs greater space.  However, this is a common division.


A Temple is a house, intended for residential purposes.  Though some Temples are in fact public facilities, their origin as a residential structure remains the fundamental guiding principle of their architecture.  This is because homelife is Ashram practice.  There is no difference between a family of monks and a family of householders. 

The principle domain of any Temple is the place where Pujas are undertaken. This domain should be given its own room or space if possible.  The northeast, as previously described, is the more typical location.  This is because it is convenient to fragile items, and the entrance.  But in your home, there may be a more suitable place for Pujas. 

It is customary for the object of the Puja, or the idol, to face westward, toward their completion.  As a pujari will face east in undertaking the practice, and then turn around at the end.  Just as a person enters the Temple to be immediately shown and reminded of their necessary exit.

Nevertheless, two different idols should be placed in front of each other, nor should any practice be undertaken in a way that disturbs another.   If more than one idol is enshrined, they should be placed in a straight line.  If more than one practice requires the same domain, at the same time, they must join in a way that is non-disruptive - so that, just as the idols do not "see" each other, the different practitioners are not even aware of the other's presence. 

The bedroom is typically in the southwest: sleep and other similar personal care is treating the body like a durable item, the body is objectified in this way.  It is stored for the night.  Like a car in the garage.  But it is typical to sleep facing north (head in the south), reminded of the finer storage items: so that when one wakes, one is reminded of the finer skills to practice, the finer things stored inside the body like experience and thought and strength and skill, the source of prosperity. One is reminded of the vast treasury produced through practice at the Temple.  One fills oneself with motivation for practice.

In similar theory, the northwestern side of the house is used for storing items of frequent necessity, like perishables - food, and frequently used tools.  And the southwest should be unlit, unheated, dark and dismal - like the grudgingly helpful and cantankerous beings prefer it.

The sitting room, living room, or parlor is an important room: it keeps visitors out from disturbing the practice of the Ashram while also entertaining the visitors attracted by the Ashram's successful practice.  Visitors are to be guarded against to ensure privacy.  But treated hospitably.  This conflict is resolved through the visiting room.  It should be adjacent to the entrance.  The furniture should face the south and west, welcoming more visitors - and delaying their entrance.  There should be no use of this room for display of treasures.  It is a highly utilitarian place: intended wholly for entertainment.

Bathrooms should be located not only where their smell and sound causes the least disturbance to all the other domains, but also where convenient to the practice areas - because bathrooms are also where the physical care of the body is undertaken - an essential practice for maintaining and honoring the chief treasure of the house: the yogis themselves.   Consequently, the washing basin, where shaving, haircutting, and ceremonial bathing is undertaken, should be in the north.  There should be considerable joy in this self-care.

In the Kitchen, try to prepare ingredients for cooking while facing east: this is an act of puja.  The food sacrifice is one of the most important practices, after all.  For the same reason, the dining hall, where the food is consumed, should be in the West: the meal is an accomplishment, intended for display and praise.  Further, the act of enjoying the meal, the family gathering, this friendship and joy is the purpose and achievement of practice.

Verandas and porches are to be constructed on the north and east sides: the cool morning and cool shade being delightful.  But, in colder places, this should be located in better directions. 

It is good practice to keep the main entrance in line with the gate of any wall or fence surrounding the Ashram, to not hinder visitors (that's what the porch or parlor or entertainment room is for!).  Any wall or fence surrounding the Ashram should be only of sufficient height to serve its purpose: it is best to have no wall or fence at all, but obviously sometimes circumstances require a defensive barrier. 

It is also good practice to keep the southern side of the house high and heavy - to shade and cool the rest of the home.  Or, in cold climates, to keep the southern side exposed for the opposite reason.  Landscaping should slope in a way that stabilizes the structure. 

Columns and beams crossing rooms of the house create divisions where there shouldn't be, and so should be avoided for better harmonization of the domains.  A well, or other community resource shared by other homes, should not be in the front of the house - it is so busy that it creates an environment unconducive to practice. 

The Ashram should not face another Ashram, in the same way that idols should not face another: it is not good to compare one practice to another, to "keep up with the Joneses."  Similarly, it is good to keep fragile treasures protected in cupboards or closets or shelves.

It is considered inauspicious if there is no roof - for obvious reasons.  Roofs are conducive to practice. 

If the previous occupant has committed suicide (intentionally or accidentally), or had a catastrophe, consideration should be made as to whether the home was in any way responsible for the misfortune. 

Keep no more treasure than is needed.  And don't become preoccupied by its accumulation - its purpose is sacrifice.  Even the difficulty of circular plots of land makes for bad neighbors: straight boundaries are easily maintained.  And boundaries formed at right angles are easily observed. 

It is highly inauspicious to keep pets, inside or outside the house.  The enslavement of other beings is prohibited by the rules of practice, as it is not conducive to success in a practice intended toward freedom and unattachment.  However, wild animals (songbirds, especially, which can be attracted by gifts of seed), and especially freed domestic animals, are highly auspicious.  Animals which are free, but enslaved by processes of domestication, conditioning and training, are considered pets.  As are wild animals which are dependent upon a person.  However, it is not prohibited to provide aid to wild animals during moments of need - so long as they are restored to their independent status as soon as is possible.  If possible.

It is not auspicious at all if while preparing the foundation, water springs up: this is a bad place to build a home. 

A pole or post in the front of the entrance is inauspicious, as it is dangerous.

There are numerous other auspicious and inauspicious practices to housekeeping and architecture, but the general rule is to ensure that housekeeping and architecture is conducive to practice, and the ease of the occupants.  Why make more difficulty and attachment?  

Uluka-Indra - the vehicle of Laxmi

Indra lights the sacred fire of Agni, is the cause of Justice, the defender of Dharma. Indra is the master of Maya (illusion, form and other magic), and the warrior who, though repeatedly defeated, persists to victory. He rescues the weak. He presents the “second wind” to athletes, he embodies of athleticism. He wars not against others, but within himself. He permits the achievement of Raja Yoga.

Indra is famous for having been manifested by Uluka, Laxmi’s vehicle. Indra is notorious for his defeats and errors, just as much as for his recovery and restoration. The owl is a nocturnal bird of prey: those who cannot see or understand Vishnu, yet would still devote themselves to the Dharma of Vishnu, are Laxmi’s vehicle. The darkness symbolizes ignorance, specifically ignorance of Vishnu, of right and wrong, of duty; it symbolizes unskillfulness; it symbolizes weakness and criminality, adharma (non-duty, non-truth, not-right, injustice).

It is because of weakness, ignorance and lack of skill that abhorrent and regrettable things are done, it is because of this that people become criminals, negligent in their duties. An owl, flying through such a mass of unskillfulness and ignorance, symbolizes the intention required to break through the darkness of misdeeds and unskillfulness. It is this intention to gain strength and skill in using that strength, to gain wisdom and improve that is the true right action.

A person who breaks the law, a person who neglects their duty, or takes upon themselves the duties of another is at fault, but only so long as they do not seek to improve their wrong-action. Like a mother or teacher, Laxmi will accept devotions of wrong action, and encourage improvement. There is no wasted effort, for our mistakes earn us honor when we sacrifice the ignorance that caused them to Laxmi by learning from them.  And Uluka (Indra) is the means of this improvement, this restoration and defense of Dharma.

Kroncha, Ganesh's Mouse

Ganesh rides on a mouse.
No, not that kind of mouse.
Kroncha is the vehicle of Ganesh. Kroncha was a clumsy God, who was always accidentally bumping into others, and stepping on toes. Kroncha was also very impolite - not because he didn't want to be, but the wrong words always came out. One day, he stepped on the toes and insulted a powerful sage, who caused him to become a mouse, so that if he ever bumped into someone or stepped on their toes again, he’d at least not cause them any harm or insult – he’d be so small and quiet it wouldn’t matter if he was clumsy.

Ganesh is not clumsy, but is not delicate, either. In the end, what is the difference between a lack of delicacy and lack of skill?  Intention, care, effort.  Ganesh breaks down all obstacles in his way without a care, and needed just such a vehicle as Kroncha: Kroncha's intention, care and effort helps Ganesh’s indelicacy at least not cause harm.

When Ganesh met Kroncha (now a mouse), it was because Kroncha accidentally bumped into Ganesh and stepped on his toes. Ganesh understood the potential for Kroncha immediately, and Kroncha saw his ability to be useful.  The two hit it off and became good friends, despite their total lack of social charm, mutually insulting each other and bruising each other.  It was only natural Ganesh would take out his lasso and throw it around Kroncha’s neck to leap on – and has ridden Kroncha as a vehicle ever since (Kroncha has carried Ganesh ever since).

Dharmic Acting and Theater

When it is understood that the performance arts remains the very best method by the Dharma, the Avatar of Vishnu, is communicated, it is better understood that while entertainment is a desired effect of performance arts, it is not the primary goal. Such Natya Shastra (representation of acts; Acting) is often the only means by which a student may come to understand the Dharma.

Such Natya Shastra has two fundamentals: emulation and creation. An Actor will on the one hand study through practices of dance/movement, speech, song/story, sculpture, painting, and various other Arts the Dharma, the nature, the duty, the phenomenon of reality sufficiently to manifest by Maya (magic, formation) a representation, reproduction, or example of the subject. On the other hand, the Actor who has sufficiently studied their art may form within their audience that very Dharma by use of the several Siddhis.

In the Samyutta Nikaya 42.2, the Buddha Gotama describes a very real danger actors face.  Maya is a dangerous weapon, as it is easy to inflict self-harm.

Siddhi is permitted only under very specific and limited conditions: It is far better to provide such an emulation of the Dharma as to make an effective communication of the Dharma than it is to transmit the Dharma by Siddhi, it is usually important that an audience come to discover the Dharma themselves, for there is much benefit in the process which Siddhi would rob them of. However, when Siddhi is required, the Actor should inspire joy in the communication: when the audience takes joy in the act of communicating, their insight will be heightened sufficiently to themselves perform (Dharmi) their duty, to achieve their nature, to embody the Dharma. Thus, the Actor performs (Dharmi) both the duty of the audience and themselves, as if the audience were an instrument or clay, shaped into the necessary form.

The conditions when Siddhi are required are few, but may be generalized as those when the audience is incapable of understanding the Dharma if it were merely communicated, such as by inexperience, disbelief, doubt, physical or mental deficiency, profound emotionality, constraint or imprisonment or other lack of freedom such as addiction, etc.

Ending Hostility - Sutta Nipata 4.15

The Buddha Gotama said, there is no security or safety from arming one's self, only fear. If arming one's self protected one from attack, or aided in one's defense, there would not be so many people presently fighting each other, having fought each other for so long. Hostility is the cause of fighting, or insecurity, of weapon-taking. Like a painful sting or thorn whose pain causes a person to run about and rave insanely, only when hostility is taken out is there an opportunity to settle down; only when hostility is removed is there an opportunity for peace. To remove hostility, one must no longer grieve, one must no longer mourn. To become beyond grief, beyond mourning, you must become dis-attached, let go of the past, and sacrifice all that is yours. All that has gone before. And all that is to come - have no hope for it. Have no fear of it.  Courage!  In sacrificing your weapon, in sacrificing your safety, in sacrificing everything.

No divine right of Kings or Republics - Arthashastra Book VI

There is no divine right of Kings or Republics. There is no natural form of government: societies organize themselves in the means most efficient to their needs and values. Leaders of society naturally arise through inherited intergenerational wealth, of financial, scientific, technical, political and industrial nature. This is mistaken for nobility. Leaders of society naturally arise through honor and reliability, through valor and courage, through reliance on experienced advisors, through personal experience, through honesty, through a cooperative and collaborative nature, through gratefulness and courtesy, through ambition, through enthusiasm, by avoiding procrastination, through self-control, through resolution, through well-skilled servants, through discipline. People will naturally give fealty to such a leader possessed of these qualities.

And when there is but one such leader, an autocrat is seen to arise. When there are a few such leaders, monarchy is seen to arises. When there are more such leaders, a republic arises. When there are many such leaders, a democracy arises.

To dominate or conquer your enemy it is necessary to become their leader; understand not only who their leaders are, but the source of their leadership; become a better leader.

The means of becoming a better leader are simple. To improve your intellect, develop curiosity, inquiry, learning, perception, memory, mental reflection before and after action, deliberation in taking action, logic (especially inference), and decisiveness. Valor, determination, purposefulness, quickness, and probity will all improve enthusiasm. Develop self-control through training, self-improvement, foresight, opportunism, good humor, leniency and mercy, freeing yourself from emotionality, smiling, and maintaining the customs of the elderly.

A well endowed land will produce a leader, or if there is democracy there, a rich people. A well endowed leader is, similarly, an asset to their people. As the highest use of wealth in the treasury is to withstand calamities of long duration, so too is the highest use of the leader to protect their people from fickle luck. Many misfortunes are apt to occur, even in a well-endowed land: war not least of them. Always be prepared for this, and all other emergencies. Not every emergency can be foreseen or prepared for, and sometimes strength and readiness are insufficient - but no leader ever failed for having become too strong, too ready.

A leader who is unprepared and unready, one who is of poor character, unintelligent, or otherwise has become their own enemy is easily uprooted. A leader who may be made to become their own worst enemy is soon destroyed. But a leader who is their own friend will persist, for persistence is part of their nature. Even if one good leader possesses only a small Kingdom, that leader will conquer the world with their leadership, and will never ever be defeated or conquered.

Annapurna Puja

Annapurna is a name that means “perfect nutrient” or “perfect food”: the eating without hunger or desire, for the pure purpose of nourishment, the nourishment that nourishes and sustains anything and everything.

Shiva once said that because all form is illusion, all things are Maya, the need for nourishment is also illusion. Though food could not be had without Himsa, harm, it would be possible, said Shiva, to not cause harm by simply not eating.  Gauri, who was a reflection of Maya, disagreed with Shiva: all food was obtained by Himsa, it was true, but still, everyone had to eat.  But Shiva was not persuaded. 

So, to prove her position, Gauri caused all nourishment to disappear: no matter what a being ate, now that food could not be had. Plants, animals, people, even Shiva suffered famine, surrounded by food.  Seeing the beings distressed, and that Shiva had learned her lesson, Gauri then produced a magic Kitchen, and fed every being what most nourished them – and in the line for nourishment was Shiva, begging with a bowl. He was humble, and said “I now understand nourishment, whether physical or spiritual, is no illusion.  I understand now you are Maya, you are the source of all all food, you are Annapurna.” Gauri, now called Annapurna, fed Shiva with her own hands, and instructed him in the Dharma, the duty and nature, of nourishment, and in the necessity for the sacrifice of food.  Not being able to refrain from harming another being, we must become worthy of the sacrifice of their lives: food is not merely intended to sustain our existence.  And we must nourish others.

The Buddha Gotama instructed that before eating, the origin and necessity of the nourishment should be understood: life is sustained by death, and the sacrifice and gift made by the beings we use for food should be respected by right living – that our strengthening succeeds in preparing our own sacrifice and gift. 

What sustains us gives us the energy (Shakti) to take form and act. Understanding this, we understand that all that begins or is created must be sustained, or it ceases to be. This includes distress: understanding distress is sustained, and how, is essential to ending that distress.