IS BHUTA SHUDDHI A TANTRIC & VEDIC TRADITION?HOW CAN WE PERFORM BHUTA SHUDDHI MEDITATION?TRUE T
IS BHUTA SHUDDHI A TANTRIC & VEDIC TRADITION?-
1-Sri Krishna condemns hatha practices in the Uddhava Gita as placing to much emphasis on the material body. Adi Sankara recommends in his Aparoksanubhuti (143.) only for beginners and only in conjunction with raja yoga as a means to help teach the body to sit for long periods of time for meditation.
2-According to tantra, body ,and mind are comprised of five primal elements known as earth (prithvi), water (apas), fire (agni), air (vayu) and ether (akasha). These tattwas are the manifestation of the primordial 'Shakti', and it is due to them that this entire universe exists. Of course, we can understand each tattwa in its gross state as earth, water, fire, etc., but here the word tattwa or element applies to something much more subtle than that.
3-These five tattwas comprise particular pranic vibrations of the one Shakti, just as white light is broken up into the different colours of the spectrum. In the body, earth tattwa represents solidity from the cellular structure; water tattwa, fluidity- blood, lymph fluid, etc.fire tattwa, heat - appetite, digestion, thirst; air tattwa, motion - expansion and contraction; ether tattwa, subtle vibration and emotion.
4-The tattwas, as part of the mind and psyche, arouse the sense of smell, taste, sight, touch and sound. From this level they connect to the corresponding organs, nerve plexi and energy centres or chakras.
5-In tantra, the practice of bhuta shuddhi is used for transforming the pranic flow of the tattwas back to their original unmanifest form as primordial 'Shakti'. As long as the prana flows outward through the sense organs, awareness will be engrossed in the external world. However, if we can realise these tattwas or pranic flows operating in their subtle form, independent of external stimulus, then the experience, knowledge and illumination can arise from the inner dimensions.
6-The purpose of this practice, as in all tantric practices, is to free the consciousness from its attachment to external objects in order to realise the true inner nature.
7-The first step towards this is purification of the basic physical, mental, psychic and pranic structure. In yoga there are various forms of purification which are meant to achieve this: prana shuddhi, nadi shuddhi, vak shuddhi, manas shuddhi, etc., but the practice of bhuta shuddhi, as described in the ancient tantras, covers the entire range of man's existence.
8-In the 'Srimad Devi Bhagavatam' (Ch. 8), it says that bhuta shuddhi purifies the body elements by 'respiratory attraction and replacement'. By concentrating on the yantra and bija mantra of each tattwa at its specific location in the body, the internal vital capacity and awareness becomes dynamic and active. At that time, sensorial awareness drops as you merge into the realm of vibration and form within.
9-These days there is a tendency for many to plunge into vama marga, because they think it is a philosophy synonymous with free lifestyle and living. But this practice and other forms of purification, such as manas shuddhi, prana shuddhi, deva shuddhi, mantra shuddhi, should become a daily discipline before taking to the practices of vama marga or any other marga, Tantra is very clear on this.
10-Vama marga is only for those who have control over their minds.Tantric practices start with bhuta shuddhi, which begins from the moment one wakes up. You are taught the daily disciplines of bathing, brushing of teeth, etc., from a very early age so, you do them without a second thought. But if, for some reason, you are unable to complete them on any day, you feel uncomfortable and ill at ease.
11-In the same way, this practice too should become a part of your daily routine. Perhaps it should have greater importance, because it is not only conducive to physical hygiene but also to mental hygiene. That is precisely the reason the shastras and scriptures stress the fact that only after the discipline of bhuta shuddhi is perfected, is atma shuddhi or purification of consciousness possible.
HOW TO PERFORM BHUTA SHUDDHI(the preparation)?-
1-Bhuta Shuddhi can transform a human being in miraculous ways, by imprinting the right kind of information on each of the elements.To perform this kind of bhuta shuddhi, begin with 15 minutes of simple stretching asanas and some pranayama breathing exercises to warm up and relax the body.
2-Then continue with 30 minutes of meditation on the chakras. Starting with the root chakra, work up the spine, allowing three to four minutes of chanting the appropriate bija mantra.
3-Continue back down the body through each chakra with 30 seconds of meditation on each. End with 15 minutes of regular meditation practice, focusing on either the anahata or ajna chakra.
4-During the process,You are lead from the gross sensory experience to the root cause of attachment in this world- the ego, which is represented in the form or mandala of 'Papa Purusha', the sinful man, represented as a hideous dwarf living in the abdomen. By the use of the tattwa bija mantras and breath, you mentally purify, dissolve and reconstruct his being inside you into a golden egg, like hiranyagarbha.
5-This actually helps transform your own individual ego. Then, by considering yourself to be the supreme knowledge or consciousness (Shiva), you finally attain that state.
6-When you bring yourself back slowly in the reverse process, to the manifestation of Shakti in the elements and finally envisage Shakti in the mandala of Devi, both consciousness and prana become absorbed in the diverse manifestations of the one energy.
4-Ideally bhuta shuddhi should be practised three times a day; morning, midday and at dusk. However, the number of times can be reduced according to one's lifestyle. Practice of bhuta shuddhi is not restricted to a particular sect or cult; anyone can practise it.
5-This practice should be done in the early hours of the morning after bathing, to purify yourself before the oncoming day. Traditionally it was undertaken as a sankalpa made before the guru to be done three times daily: morning, noon and sunset on a long or short term basis, e.g. twelve years, six years, three years, six months, three months, one month, six days, three days, or even one day.
6-It is said to -be most effective when performed in the months of Shravan (July-August), during the time of intense Shiva puja, according to the Hindu philosophy, or in Ashwin (October-November), during Navaratri, the nine nights of puja or worship to Devi.
7-The most important requirement, is that it is done under the instructions with full faith & without expectation of fulfilling any desires through the practice. Only then is this sadhana truly sattvic and a pure state of 'being' attained.
1-First think of kundalini rising from mooladhara chakra (sacral plexus) up to sahasrara chakra, along the sushumna canal. The practitioner is to meditate on the mantra Hamsa and consider himself united with Brahman (supreme consciousness). Then bring your awareness from the legs to the knees in the form of a square yantra.
2-Consider this square to be composed of the earth tattwa (element) which is a golden colour and is represented by the bija mantra Lam.
3-Next bring your awareness to the portion below the navel. Imagine there the form of a semi-moon with two lotuses at each end. This is surrounded by a circle of water, white in colour and represented by the bija mantra Vam.
4-Then bring your awareness from the navel to the heart and imagine there a yantra of triangular shape, with swastika marks on each of its three sides. This is the fire tattwa; it is red in colour and is represented by the bija mantra Ram.
5-Next bring your awareness from the heart to the centre of the eyebrows, and imagine there the form of six dots in a circular shape. These are symbolic of the air tattwa, which is of smoky hue and is represented by the bija mantra Yam.
6-Then bring your awareness from the region of the eyebrows to the crown of the head and imagine there the akasha mandalam or the region of ether, beautiful and clear, with Ham as its bija mantra.
7-Thus ponder on the earth principle dissolving into water, its cause. Then water dissolving into fire, its cause. Then fire dissolving into air, its cause, and air dissolving into ether, its cause.Now imagine akasha dissolving into ahamkara (ego), its cause.
8-Then ahamkara dissolving into maha tattwa (the great principle). And maha tattwa dissolving into prakriti, prakriti into the supreme Self. Then consider yourself as the highest knowledge, pure and absolute.
9-Imagine now that the 'papa purusha' or sinful man; who is about the size of your thumb, is situated at the left of your abdomen. His form is ugly , black as coal, with fiery eyes, big teeth and a large belly. In his hands he holds axes and shields. Inhale air through the left nostril, mentally repeating the bija mantra Vam for water.
10-Perform kumbhaka and imagine that you are purifying the sinful man. While doing kumbhaka, repeat Ram, the bija of fire, and think of the sinful man being burnt to ashes. Then exhale the ashes of the sinful man through the right nostril.
11-Next meditate on the water tattwa again, repeating the bija mantra Vam, and imagine the ashes of the sinful man being rolled into a ball with nectar from the moon.Think steadily of this ball being turned into a golden egg, while meditating on the earth tattwa, represented by the bija mantra Lam.
12-Repeat the bija mantra Ham, ether tattwa, and imagine yourself as an ideal being pure and clear. Create the elements afresh in the reverse order from Brahman the absolute, then ether, air, fire, water and earth and locate them in their respective positions, in the forms described earlier, represented by their bija mantras.
13-Then repeating the mantra Soham, separate the jivatma or individual soul from paramatma or the cosmic soul and locate the jivatma in the heart region. Think also that the kundalini has returned to mooladhara via sushumna, piercing the chakras.
14-Next meditate on Prana Shakti, the vital force, seated on a red lotus in a vast red ocean. She has six hands
which are holding the trident(त्रिशूल), bow of sugarcane, noose(फंदा), goad(अंकुश-ankush), five arrows and a skull filled with blood.
15-She has three eyes, highly decorated breasts and her body is the colour of the rising sun. Thus meditating, one should apply ashes on the body.
WHAT IS THE BATH OF FIRE?-
On completion of the meditation, it is essential to wipe bhasma or ashes on the body for purification of the tattwas. In the ancient vedic and tantric tradition, bhasma is vital for arousing the higher consciousness and purifying the body.
2-Bhuta shuddhi, done with the use of ashes and fasting during a particular time according to the solar/lunar phase, helps control the animal instincts and awaken the consciousness. Therefore, it is also known as Pashupati vrata and Shiva vrata. Applying ashes is called the 'bath of fire', which burns attachment to sensorial experience and the lower nature.
3-In the 'Devi Bhagavatam' (Ch. 9) it says that, "Through this Shivovrata, Brahma and the other devas were able to attain their Brahmahood and devahood. The ancient sages, including Brahma, Vishnu, Rudra and other devas, all performed this Shivovrata. All those who performed it duly became sinless, though they were very sinful in every way."
4-In this practice, it is important to use cow dung ashes, especially from the fire ceremony, and wipe them over "the body, particularly the forehead, while repeating mantra. Then say: 'Earth is ashes, water is ashes, fire is ashes, air is ashes, ether is ashes, everything whatsoever is ashes'. In this way the vibrations of the mantra are transmitted throughout every cell in the body.
ARE SIDDHIS ASSOCIATED WITH TATTWAS?-
1-In the process of awakening the vital capacity of the tattwas, particular characteristic signs of perfection arise. In tantra these are known as siddhis. In occidental(relating to the countries of the West) countries they have been called supernatural, occult or magic powers, but it must be understood that these powers arise from within you as a result of your own effort to intensify and concentrate your mental and pranic energy.
2-In Patanjali's Yoga Sutras it says that, "By sanyama or concentration on the gross, basic, subtle and interpenetrating states, and the purpose of the bhutas, mastery over them is attained."
Awakening of the tattwas develops sensitivity to subtle vibration and to the higher faculties of clairvoyance, clairaudience, telepathy and intuition. 3-In the Gherand Samhita ;it says that, "Concentration of the prana for two hours in the earth tattwa brings steadiness; in water tattwa, destroys unbearable sufferings and sins; in fire tattwa, eliminates the fear of death; in air tattwa, gives the experience of flying in the air; in akasha tattwa, opens the doors to liberation."
4-The tantric texts also enumerate other attributes associated with the awakening of the tattwas. Earth tattwa is responsible for levitation(the action of rising) freedom from disease, and creation of astral smells. Water tattwa removes fear of water. It equalises the prana vayu and gives knowledge of unknown sciences, the power of astral travelling, and the ability to create various taste sensations.
5-Fire tattwa gives material wealth, detachment, the ability of transforming base metals into gold, discovering of medicines, entering another's body. Air tattwa gives knowledge of the past, present and future, fulfilment of desire, contact with astral entities, ability of psychic healing, inner peace and harmony, compassion.
6-Ether tattwa gives knowledge of the Vedas, longevity, endurance without food or water, psychic projection faster than the speed of light.
7-These are the powers which are associated with the tattwas but they should not be delved (search for something)in as it is very easy to be misguided by the phenomena of the subtle realm. It is necessary to put them aside and conserve your energy to arouse an even subtler awareness - that of the Atman.
WHAT IS FIRE CEREMONY?
1-Homa is the most ancient and sacred ceremony in the Vedic tradition of Sanatana Dharma. It is a fire in which forms of the Divine are invoked through the power of mantra and profound spiritual intention.
2-Special offerings are cast into the fire while Sanskrit mantras are chanted, and the combined energy of the fire, offerings, and mantras generates powerful spiritual vibrations that bless and purify everyone present, spreading peace and healing through the world.
3-The smoke that rises from a homa contains a powerful healing energy, and as it rises to the heavens it purifies the atmosphere, both physically and subtly, encouraging a peaceful environment and gentle weather.
4-Even the damaging effects of natural catastrophes can be reduced through the performance of homas. The energetic vibrations that are invoked during a traditional Vedic fire ceremony represent the most powerful presence of the Divine on Earth.
5-The element of fire is associated with the upward motion of the divine kundalini energy and is considered to be the most powerfully purifying element. Every kind of negative karma can be purified by the sacred homa fire, due to divine grace.
6-Many sacred materials are offered into the fire that contain specific natural energies which are transformed by the flames and prayers.Perform the homa Full & Dark Moon... yourself , sitting at the homa altar, and tending the fire with offerings including ghee, herbs, and flowers.