Tantric: “… The formless Absolute is my Father, and God with form is my Mother …” ~ Kabir
We first started exploring some of Andrew Harvey’s work through a poem-post: Peaceful – An Invocation from the Vedas, which is from his anthology: Teachings of the Hindu Mystics (full attribution at the bottom of the post) … and we continued this exploration in the 2nd poem-post: Realize Through Meditation – Highest Mystical Teaching …
As humanity continues to navigate the unrelenting mayhem from COVID, it’s ensuing economic devastation, and the ongoing social unrest … we still have to deal with the other equally large, if not “larger,” disasters unfolding due to the climate crisis and the environment destruction … and Andrew posits that the ancient Hindu Tantric tradition offers a way to navigate and resolve not only the “larger natural” crises but also other fundamental human “behavioral/life/living” issues (a most fascinating perspective on the Tantric tradition): “… The Tantric vision of a samsara that is also nirvana, of an earth that is also heaven, of a body ensouled and a soul embodied, can help us live in the creation as in a temple, transfigure banal desire into holy celebration, and love our lives with sacred passion and so gather our powers to protect and honor the lives of all beings with courage and wisdom. Only such a passion, courage, and wisdom—and the hope born from them of a divine life in an increasingly divinized world—can give us now the fire and the strength to save our world from disaster …”
So, we’ll – very briefly – touch upon Andrew’s remarks on this tradition … along with a pertinent poem from Kabir …
… but before that …
As we’ve done since the COVID crisis began … we want to honor and highlight the “heroes” that continue to ensure our health and safety in the midst of the pandemic: Go Fund Me has organized many campaigns targeted towards the COVID-19 relief efforts. All of these campaigns are worthy of our attention … but for now we want to highlight TWO critical ones that we are supporting personally and also as Stillness Speaks (through donations):
We are all facing financial challenges but IF your situation allows you to donate and help then …
… please visit Frontline Responders Fund’s Go Fund Me page … and help deliver crucial supplies to these frontline responders …
… and/or visit America’s Food Fund Go Fund Me page and help feed the neighbors in need.
And, we again, express our deepest gratitude to a) the COVID-19 Frontline Responders (all the healthcare professionals – doctors, nurses, hospital/medical-services staff – firefighters, law enforcement, volunteers, and any/all the people involved in keeping the “system-at-large” functioning for ALL of us) … and b) Go Fund Me for organizing America’s Food Fund to feed the needy.
And now … back to Andrew … and a very brief glimpse into his views on the Tantric tradition … taken from the Introduction of his anthology:
“… Of all the different streams of the Hindi mystical tradition, it is, I believe, the Tantric that offers most to us today. At a time when the natural world is itself in danger, the last thing the human race needs are mystical theologies addicted to transcendence. It is this addiction to otherworldliness, to a vision of freedom or “heaven” that lies outside the body and matter and time that has, in all the major religions, abetted our coma of denial about our connection to our bodies and the world around us, a denial that is now lethally abetting our destruction of the environment. The Tantric vision of a samsara that is also nirvana, of an earth that is also heaven, of a body ensouled and a soul embodied, can help us live in the creation as in a temple, transfigure banal desire into holy celebration, and love our lives with sacred passion and so gather our powers to protect and honor the lives of all beings with courage and wisdom. Only such a passion, courage, and wisdom—and the hope born from them of a divine life in an increasingly divinized world—can give us now the fire and the strength to save our world from disaster …
“… In our contemporary danger, “salvation” is a vision of the world, creation, and our lives as inherently blessed and potentially divinely empowered, just, impassioned, and creative. From such a vision—that of Tantra at its highest and richest—can spring astonishing powers of sacrifice and invention, stamina and hope. If we are going to find the strength as a race to band together to save the planet, it will be in the name of a world and a creation seen and known as holy, not “unreal”; as the sacred ground on and in which miracles of divine human evolution can still unfold, if we can only honor its laws.
The key to an integration of the Tantric vision into every aspect of our lives and actions is, as I have already hinted, an exaltation and adoration of the Sacred Feminine in all its forms and powers. It is this exaltation and adoration of the Mother aspect of God, the Tantric mystics assure us, that will restore to our deepest understanding the divinity of creation and enable us to flood our lives with sacred tenderness, joy, and power.
Kabir wrote, “The formless Absolute is my Father, and God with form is my Mother” … …”
And, here’s Kabir making the case for spiritual practice that’s only worthwhile if it is “here and now” …
The Swing of Consciousness
BETWEEN THE pillars of spirit and matter
the mind has put up a swing.
There swings the bound soul and all the worlds
with not even the slightest rest.
The sun and moon also swing,
and there is no end to it.
The soul swings through millions of births
like the endless circling of the sun and moon.
Billions of ages have passed
with no sigh of relief.
The earth and sky swing,
Wind and water swing,
Taking a body, God Himself swings.
Kabir, the servant of God,
has seen it all.
O brother seekers!
Only while you are alive
is there hope of finding Him.
While you are alive, meditate.
While you are alive, contemplate.
Only while you are alive can liberation be found.
If you do not cut the noose of your karma while living,
what hope is there of liberation when you are dead?
It is a hopeless dream to think that union will come
after the soul leaves the body.
What you get now is what you get then—
Otherwise, all you get is a stay in hell.
Embrace the real,
Recognize the true Guru,
Have faith in the power of the Name!
Kabir says, “Only spiritual practice will get you across;
be addicted to this practice.”
All of the italicized text in the blockquotes and the above Kabir poem are from: Teachings of the Hindu Mystics, edited by Andrew Harvey.