In My Meditation Today. I noticed that when I checked in to see how I was feeling, there was hesitation; a sense that I was not sure how I felt. There is the task I had to finish at work; I had not been in the best mood when my husband was here last weekend; I was unsure if I was as kind as I could have been to my dog and I was not satisfied with my last conversation with my son!
In other words, each interaction I had ever had with everyone had to be just absolutely right before I could allow myself the luxury of feeling okay about myself.
The AHA? I have to let go of this perfectionism to live my life in the now. Allowing myself to be okay, and yes, even lovable, just exactly as I am at this moment.
The Grand Story of the Divine Mother is told in three parts. Each section describes a battle between good and evil, and most often, the story is interpreted as the forces of good and evil external to us.
However, a more useful interpretation is that it represents the battle between my basest instincts and my highest potential.
The battles are bloody and gory because the fight to live from your highest potential is hard, ugly, and metaphorically bloody and gory.
It is easy to settle into the space of being okay with our sense of lack, of not being enough, and the self-hate and anger that an unfulfilled life generates. The inertia of that settling is represented for me by Mahakali in this story. When we let go of this inertia or work with her to let it go, magic is created.
The First Story of the Myth.
Sumedhas ( Good Knowledge/insight) continues the story of the Divine Mother.
The Hindu Creation Story. The story occurs at a time when the extant universe has dissolved back into potentiality.
The Hindu creation story sees the creation and dissolution of the universe as a continually recurring cycle.
Before a world comes into existence, all that exists is energy that has the potential to assume form. For inexplicable reasons :), this all-pervasive energy decides that she wants to experience the limitations of form, and the endless, absolute energy takes form. Thus, everything from a pebble to a mountain, an amoeba to a human, is believed to be an expression of this Absolute.
The form of the absolute that creates is Brahma; the form that maintains creation is Vishnu, and the form that dissolves it back into the Absolute is Shiva.
In the Great Story of the Divine Mother, the Absolute is considered the energy of the Divine Mother. According to Hindu Myths, each cycle of manifest existence lasts 3 trillion human years.
The Allegory. This story starts when the universe has dissolved into the unmanifest; Vishnu is in a deep sleep on the coils of a gigantic serpent that represents time, and Brahma, seated on a lotus emanating from Vishnu’s naval, is in deep meditation. Two demons, Madhu and Kaitabha, who have arisen from Vishnu’s ear, play around in the waters of the primordial ocean that surrounds Vishnu for a long time and eventually have questions about their existence. Seeking answers, they are led to pray and meditate upon the Divine Mother. After years of penance and meditation, she finally appears to them and grants them the boon of “Icchamrutyu,” i.e., the power to choose how and when to die. Convinced that they cannot be killed, Madhu & Kaitabha decide to take on Brahma and destroy him. Awakened out of his meditative state, Brahma, who is not a warrior, realizes that he will need Vishnu to help him defeat Madhu and Kaitabha. But Vishnu is asleep. He is in a state of inertia induced by Mahakali.
Brahma begins to sing the praises of the Goddess. Responding to Brahma’s entreaties, the Divine Mother – Maha-Kali, emerges from Vishnu’s sleeping body and wakes him up.
Vishnu engages them in battle. He fights them for 5000 years. Finally, the demons intoxicated by their power, offer Vishnu a boon. “All I want is to kill you,” Vishnu says, “ What other boon could I ask for?”
Looking at the ocean covering the entire Universe, Madhu & Kaitabha say, “ We grant you the ability to kill us in a space where there is no water.” Vishnu stands up, holds Madhu and Kaitabha on his thighs way above the ocean, and slays them.
Interpreting the Allegory. The interpretation of the meaning of Madhu and Kaitabha varies depending on which reference one chooses. Madhu means “honey,” and Kaitabha can be translated to mean “like a bee.” Thus, the two together represent unrelenting, focused desire, much like bees searching for honey.
Another interpretation is that the demons represent Kama = desire/lust; Krodha = anger, which often accompanies frustrated desire; and Lobha = greed, which can be thought of as the worst type of desire because it results in a complete loss of empathy.
The battle here then represents one between Vishnu – infinite energy and the ability of the darker aspects of desire and anger to take over our consciousness. Vishnu is asleep when Madhu & Kaitabha gain power; sleep represents a state of ignorance or a lack of awareness. Thanks to the presence of Brahma, the creative force within us, Vishnu is awakened, and knowledge triumphs over unmitigated greed, anger, and lust.
Back to my AHA. One of the problems with interpreting these myths is that we begin to label entirely human emotions such as desire, anger, and greed as “bad.” By extension, we label ourselves “imperfect” whenever we feel these emotions. So instead of acknowledging the emotions, we find one more way to find fault with ourselves and keep ourselves small. That is what my meditation today revealed. There is a sense that we are supposed to be perfect, that we should not feel any “bad” emotions.
Does the slaying of Madhu and Kaitabha mean that we never feel, desire, anger, or greed again? No! Remember, the fight took 5000 years. In other words, this is a battle that we face again and again over time. It means that our creative force and higher self together work to make you self-aware and self-compassionate. It means you acknowledge and embrace all of you and overcome feelings of inadequacy repeatedly. The entire myth represents a journey toward enlightenment.
What is enlightenment? It is the knowledge that you are a representation of the divine. That there is nothing about you that is not okay. That you are not here by accident. You have a purpose – that you live a life you love, not one prescribed by others.
My book, ” More than Peace, Power & Presence through Meditation, ” focuses on learning to love ALL of you.
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