Unit VII.  Supreme Bindu


1.  Supreme Bindu    
3.  Emptiness vs Form
4.  Unity
5.  SatCitAnanda
6.  Divine Mother
7.  The Guru
8.  Implications for Practice

Materials needed:  Journal, drawing paper & colors

Books needed:

Kundalini Vidya
Light and Ecstasy (optional)
The Biology of Transcendence
Shakti Yoga CD


Conscious Mind and Life
The Biology of Transcendence, Pt. I
Subtle Energies


Tuning the Mind

The Supreme Bindu is one of three major bindus that are found in the head.  We have already met the second bindu at the sixth chakra.  The parabindu was found at the Mahanada level, and this one is located in conjunction with Samani.

Supreme Bindu

Supreme Bindu This bindu is said to be the first cause of all.  It is composed of the Void (Shiva) surrounded by Maya (Shakti).  This means that, in some way, the power of consciousness is limiting the infinite space of the void because it forms a circumference around it or around some part of it.  Genesis 1    indicates that creation begins with a separation between heaven and earth.  The earth, then, is formless and void with darkness upon the face of the deep.  The deep is not defined but perhaps refers to water since the spirit of God moves upon the face of the water.  It is not until the third verse that God says, “Let there be Light.”  Since time immemorial, the void has been a symbol for the unknown and the unconscious, or that of which we are not conscious.  It is the abyss out of which everything comes.  The Absolute Reality.

So we have consciousness as Shiva united with the power of consciousness as Shakti as the first cause of everything.  Then, since Shakti is both Maya and Mind, we have a seed that is consciousness limited by mind.


Samani is the level of dissolution that is associated with the Supreme Bindu.  Samani is an interesting term.  With an “i” ending, it has feminine connotations.  With an “a” ending, it would be masculine.  Both forms are found in the literature with a slight predominance of “i” endings.  “Sa” means “with” and “man” means thinking or mind.  Therefore, this level has a mind component.  “Mani” with a dot under the “n” means “gem.”  So we have the same interpretation dilemma here as we did with Manipitha.  Are we discussing mind or a gem, or both perhaps.  One could think of mind as a gem?

As we go further into the teachings, we find Samani defined as a point with mind plus prana (life).  So this gives us a clue as to its meaning.  What we have here is a level of consciousness with both mind and life.  Since it is also defined as the Shakti-tattva, we know that it is the power of consciousness that has both mind and life.  At this point the energy is unmanifested.  As the Shakti-tattva, it is referred to as the second cause, the first cause being the Supreme Bindu which is the topic of this unit.

Now, let us put this together.  You will recall that Visarga, which is another name for Shakti, is the two feet of the guru on the Manipitha altar.  The two feet of the guru are mind and prana, or life.  Shakti is also the power of consciousness; and, as such, must be both mind and prana/life since she surrounds the Supreme Bindu and she is also defined as a level of consciousness with both mind and life in our definition of Samani. Also we have seen earlier that mind is the power of consciousness, so it all fits together.  The picture we get is that of Consciousness surrounded by mind and life which give it definition and working potential.  We are also told that Shakti is Maya.  Maya is defined as the form of the formless.  So the circumference of this bindu is the first limitation of Consciousness by form, that form being a combination of mind and life.  We could call this duo Purusa and Prakrti to indicate a second level of differentiation.

Just to round this out, the Shiva-tattva is the 25th tattva and, as such, is Cit, formless consciousness.  The Shakti-tattva is the 24th tattva and is the causal form body as Sat: Being, form and life.  The union of the two is the 26th tattva – the Supreme Bindu.  This is called Tattvatita which is the fifth state of consciousness.  In Kashmir Shaivism there is a different ordering of tattvas which adds 10 more tattvas to further refine the upper levels.  In that schemata, the 24th tattva is Prakrti and the 25th is Purusa or Samani what would be, in this case, Samana.  However, in terms of function, we are talking about the same thing.

The Buddhist ideology follows the same pattern of two emerging from one.  The two are Prajna which is feminine and represents wisdom and Upaya which is masculine and stands for compassion.  If we combine compassion with maitri (loving kindness), we have Love.  Wisdom and Compassion taken together are Bodhicitta which is Enlightened Consciousness or Liberation.

Exercise: Samani

Get a large piece of paper and see if you can diagram the relationships of the Yogic and Buddhist relationships at the Samani level of consciousness.  Add any other information you may have from other traditions.  It could be interesting to try to draw a mandala to represent these ideas.

Seed of the Universe

The supreme Bindu is the seed of the universe.  We could think of this as the conception between the parents in our procreation model.  Woodroffe  (1973) refers to the gram, a canaka seed which has two halves, as the model for the Supreme Bindu.  This is two in one.  So now we have the first division into mind and life that we discovered above.  Visualize a circle with two parts somewhat like the yin/yang symbol which represents the same thing.  This reminds us of the polarization that takes place early in creation and of the function of consciousness as the ground for the activity of its powers.  Positive and negative electromagnetism.  Vibration.  Movement.  Potential for change.


Out of this union comes Light, a great deal of Light, so much that we could not look directly at it.  St. John 1 brings a new concept to the idea of creation: the Word.  Word is one translation of Logos the term associated with creation in the New Testament.  Logos also means Life as Light and essence.  In Genesis 1, the third step is the creation of Light.  This is known in Sanskrit as Jyotir and/or Tejas (heat).  In the myth, the union of our two parents results in their desire to manifest and, consequently, sparks of Light going out in all directions.  We have 360 rays divided into sun (106), moon (136), and fire (118).  These you will recognize as the kamakala triangle.  And the numbers plus the role of sun in producing day and night suggests that we now have the potential for Time and the sequencing of events.

Light is often associated with Truth as well as all of the other positive outcomes we hope for in life while darkness is presumed to be evil because it is unknown and misunderstood.  With Light, we are able to see – to understand.  So, from this point, the light motif persists throughout all the levels below this one.

Light is connected to consciousness also because it has connotations of coming awake.  We wake up in the morning when the sun comes up, and our conscious life begins for the day.  When one is “born again,” we say, “S/he saw the Light.”  The body of an enlightened person is suffused with Divine Light that can be seen by other people, often as a halo about the head.  A Self-realized person is said to be enlightened.  So Light is a very powerful symbol worth keeping in mind.  If you think about it, you can see why people in earlier civilizations worshipped the sun.

The supreme Bindu is the source of this Light, so it seems to be a product of the conscious interactions of mind and life if we stay with our model.  Think about this for a minute.

What would it mean to lead a conscious life with a conscious mind?  Obviously, we do have moments when one or the other is conscious, or self-conscious, but you have to admit that most of the time we run on automatic pilot. This is so important that one of the primary practices in Buddhism is that of mindfulness.  This means deliberately holding your attention consciously on whatever you are doing at the moment without letting your mind wander.  In meditation you are doing the same thing.  If this idea is projected into life as a whole, it would mean staying in the Now moment all the time and never letting your mind or attention wander.  It could even extend into sleep.  Later in this guidebook you will have an opportunity to read about what it feels like to lose the self-conscious mind and the self-center which forces one to live with conscious mindfulness.  You may not want to go there, but it is an option.

Exercise: Conscious Mind and Life

Select a day to practice when there is not going to be much pressure on you.  It would help to be alone.  Begin your day with the Divine Light Invocation (Appendix A) and renew it whenever your resolve wavers throughout the day.  Hold an image of yourself as a body of Light moving through the house and engaging in your activities.  See it extending out from your hands as you do your work and moving into the items you have to deal with.  See it projecting from your third eye into everyone you meet or with whom you have interactions blessing them as well as yourself.  When you become aware that you are conscious of something, acknowledge that it is not your consciousness but Spirit’s.  Allow  yourself  to feel the Light coming through you as Spirit’s Light, not ego’s.  Practice casting it upon everything you see or experience as if it were a miner’s headlamp fastened to your head.  You may bless your garden, your children, your spouse, your friends, your animals, your home, everything.  In the evening, sit for meditation and express your gratitude for the Light that enables you to see and to feel divine.  You might enjoy reviewing Light and Ecstasy by Pir Vilayat Inayat Khan (1998) for more details and ideas for practice.

Light is a subtle energy and we feel it as well as see it.  That is why fire is one of the manifestations of the Greater Light.  In its physical form it comes to us from the sun which is why earlier cultures worshipped it.  It is reflected from the moon in a more serene form.

Emptiness vs Form

Aksobhya is the Wisdom Buddha who stands on the cusp of creation and, like the god Janus, looks in two directions.  Or, rather, It reflects light in two directions.  Its function is mirroring which, incidently, is symbolized by water.  In creation, or involution, light as consciousness is projected outwards as form.  In dissolution, or evolution, that same light peers into the void of dissolution.  In creation, it is the first step in unfoldment of forms.  In dissolution, it becomes the integration of opposites.  Think of the mirror as the Mind. Mirrors must be clean in order to reflect light, so the mind must be pure and clear in order for this function to work.  All of this suggests that, to return to the Source, one must dissolve the Mind in Light, i.e., go into the Light.  This can be done by using the Divine Light Invocation.  Also note that the implication is that with the Mind we can comprehend both the emptiness and the universe of forms.  However, it can only be done with the clarity of the Higher mind.

Let us look at mind and life in this framework,  since they are the first evolutes of consciousness and polarity, in order to see what we can learn about manifestation and differentiation


The Universal Mind, which is what is under discussion here, is the precursor of all the creations that follow it.  What we have been looking at so far are some of the stages it goes through to produce the universe and life as we know it.  We also assume that it is echoed in the mind and mental functions of human beings.  If so, we might be able to learn more about it by studying human minds.

Joseph Chilton Pearce (2004) published a book called The Biology of Tramscendence in which he describes the evolution of the human brain and then goes on to discuss the developmental implications for transcendence and survival.

The brain has four major divisions of which the first three correspond to our triad of knowing (neo-cortex), feeling (limbic system) and doing (reptilian brain).  The prefrontal cortex interacts with and governs these three and appears to be an historically recent development found primarily in human beings.

What was especially interesting to me was the distinction that can be made between the combination of intellect and ego in the left hemisphere, and the  intelligence that is a joint function of the heart, limbic system, right hemisphere and prefrontal lobes of the brain.  Pearce (2004, p. 36) notes that there are very few direct connections between these two systems as a whole.  However, there are some linkages though the functioning of the left hemisphere is not as wholistic as the more complex system associated with the right hemisphere.  Relatively speaking the left hemisphere is pretty isolated which might account for its perception that it is the big chief.  Remember that the left hemisphere is the location of the rational, analytic mind and sequential information processing, i.e., manas.  The right hemisphere handles information simultaneously and symbolically.  It is the location of artistic abilities and spatial orientation and roughly corresponds to the buddhi mind.

A closer look at the processes involved in creativity and in spiritual transformations indicates that the real action is in the more complex system connected to the heart and limbic systems.  Pearce’s discussion of how these events occur and break through like a bolt of lightning is riveting.  What is most encouraging is that a passionate focus on finding the answers connects us to the vast field of knowledge or wisdom through the heart’s electromagnetic resonance with larger fields of information.  Pert (1997), Pearsall (1998) and McTaggart (2002) would probably all agree with this.

These insights are then relayed to the left hemisphere via the corpus callosum; but, since the right hemisphere does not speak the same language as the left, it downloads as a wholistic burst of meaning that must then be translated into conventional terminolgy in order to be communicated to others.  And this download cannot occur when the left hemisphere or little mind is busy about its affairs but only when it is inactive as in reverie, dozing, meditating, or sleeping.  The comparative magnitudes of these two systems resembles that of a computer vs the Internet, and there may be other correlative functions as well.

The implications of all this are that we can learn how to prepare ourselves to receive the information we need from sources “outside” ourselves.  I use quotation marks around “outside” because in reality we are already part of the whole field though the little mind is not tuned in to it.  We can prepare the mind to achieve the resonant frequency and then relax it to allow the downloading to occur.

This is all related to resonant frequencies of vibration.  When Shakti enclosed a portion of the void, she put an insulator between us and the whole field of vibration probably as protection from the high powered frequencies.  But the membrane appears to be permeable under the right conditions.

    Manas Mind.  Mind is the basis of dualism according to Dzogchen (Norbu, 1996, p. 98).  This is echoed by Govinda (1982) when he says that a fundamental principle is that “. . thinking is making” (p. 135).  This is especially true when working with mantras as we have seen.  In addition, the firing of neurons in the brain is simply “on” and “off,” and some systems in the brain are arranged hierarchially,  so they lend themselves to categorical information processing (Pribram, 1971).  It is necessary to make a distinction between the Universal, luminous Mind and the ordinary, working mind of everyday life.  The Universal Mind is the mind of the Supreme Bindu.  Its counterparts in our lives are Manas, the intellect, and Buddhi, the discriminative and creative mind, i.e., Antahkarana.  The Universal Mind radiates consciousness like a gem sends out fiery light.

The ordinary mind that is conditioned by society as we grow up is the one that veils our reality and is the cause of both bondage and liberation.  So what can we do about that?  Norbu (1996) says that the mind is like a reflection in a mirror.  If we enter the mirror’s capacity to reflect, it will no longer be dualistic but we will find ourselves in the condition of wisdom instead.  That is a state of presence – our primordial essence.  The mirror is that part of ourselves that can look both ways and “see” both emptiness and form.  By “see” I mean experience both.  It takes practice, but it is possible to experience both at the same time.  Initially, we alternate back and forth between them as we come and go in and out of samadhi.  Then, gradually, we are able to maintain the liberated state for longer and longer periods of time until, eventually, we can remain in it at will.  Finally, the rational mind takes on the status of a useful tool which is employed only when it is needed.  The implications for practice are obvious.

Practice: Tuning the Mind

 Find a CD or tape of  Shakti Yoga recorded by Russill Paul available at www.therelaxationcompany.com or call 800-788-6670.  This CD contains “Om Namah Shivaaya, Devi (Shakti) mantras, Bija mantras for the chakras, Tantric mantras, and Swara Yoga (meditation on the seven primary musical intervals) in which the tonic symbolizes the mother and the fifth the father.

Listen to the whole CD first to see which mantras speak to you.  Then either sit for meditation or lie down with earphones on or position your head between the speakers and listen to one mantra chanting along with it.  When it is finished, turn off the player and allow yourself to go into deeper meditation.  When you come out of that notice how your body and mind feel, especially your mind.  Make notes in your journal.  Continue this practice on other occasions.  You can either focus on one mantra to explore how far it can take you [which I recommend] or use different ones for different practices.  Usually a mantra requires extensive practice on a regular basis in order to give up its secrets.

Exercise: The Biology of Transcendence

Secure a copy of The Biology of Transcendence by Pearce (2004) and read the Introduction and Part One on “Nature’s Transcendent Biology” which will give you more details on his ideas discussed above.  Give some thought to how these discussions pertain to your own life and make some notes in your journal.

    Objectification.  Finally, on the subject of mind, we need to look at what this means on a wholistic level.  Woodroffe (1973) says that the dual aspect of single consciousness is called the Siva-Sakti-Tattva, and it is composed of the transcendental changeless aspect and the creative changing aspect.  This is experienced as the nirvikalpa state in which there is no distinction of “This” and “That” or of  “I” and “This.”  Shakti is the negative aspect of this pair.  [Note: The Sanskrit spelling omits the "h" because the initial "s" before a vowel in that language is pronounced "sh."  I have been using the Anglicized spelling for clarity sake.]

The first thing that happens is that Shakti

            . . negates Herself as the object of experience, leaving the Siva conscious-
               ness as a mere “I,” “not looking toward another”. . This is a state of mere
               subjective illumination (Prakāśa-mātra) to which Sakti, who is called
               Vimarśa again presents Herself, but now with a distinction of “I” and “This”
               as yet held together as part of one self.  At this point, the first incipient stage
               of dualism, there is the first transformation of consciousness. .”
               (Woodroffe, 1973, p. 33)

Prakāśa” means manifestation of what is not manifest.  And “Vimarśa” is another name for Shakti.  Think of Shiva as “I” and Shakti as “This.”

This passage reminds me of the first time my son  rode off down the hill on his tricycle without looking back.  There is an element of independence in it.  And it looks very much like the first incidence of self-consciousness in the Divine Consciousness.  What we have here is the first separation.  Such a separation is essential in order for an individual identity to develop.  Soon after birth, the infant perceives that it is no longer part of the mother (cf. Mahler, 1975).  And not much later, the child finds that it has to cope with being alone in its crib without the source of nurturance available for a time.  There are now two beings.

So, what we have here is the separation of one into two as the first transformation of consciousness.  This is followed by three more stages in which first the “This” is emphasized, then the “I” is emphasized and, then, in the third by emphasis on both equally.  After that, “. . Maya severs the united consciousness so that the object is seen as other than the self and then as split up into the multitudinous objects of the universe” (Woodroffe, 1973, p. 33).  [In this process, we find the five top tattvas when the count is 36 of them.]

In this account, we find an exploration of what it means to be separate.  It is like an infant in its crib playing with a mobile kicking it with its feet and watching what happens.  And, in fact, what is happening is that the child is learning what is its own body and what is not.  So a kind of self-definition seems to be going on.  It takes some time and experimentation to discover what is “me” and what is the rest of the world.  Woodroffe (1973) explains Shakti as

          . . that state of active Consciousness. . in which the “I” or illuminating aspect
           of Consciousness identifies itself with the total “This.”  It subjectifies the
           “This,” thereby becoming a point (Bindu) of consciousness with it.  When
           Consciousness apprehends an object as different from  Itself, It sees that object
           as extended in space.  But when that object is completely subjectified, it is
           experienced as an unextended point.  This is the universe-experience of the
           Lord-Experiencer as Bindu. (p. 34)

What this looks like is that Shakti identified Herself as a separate entity and then turned around and engaged in union with Shiva, but now as an independent entity.  This would make a good model for our return to the Source.  We have spent a lifetime viewing ourselves as separate individuals.  Now, we are called to downplay or control  that identity in order to share the Enlightened Consciousness.
Each person must make an independent decision about whether or not to do this.

So, to summarize, we have Mind as conscious awareness or self-consciousness, a feeding back upon itself of consciousness.  It is the power of consciousness able to look at consciousness as the larger entity.  It has an identity component, but it is not an individual identity yet, merely the pattern for it.


The other aspect of Shakti is Life.  We all take it for granted, but have you ever asked yourself what it really is and where it comes from – where it goes at death?

An example of the process described above with respect to gaining information from the larger field is what I experienced in trying to figure out what life is.  First I made a list of all the things I know about life.  Then I searched my library for books that might have some clues, and I read the relevant sections in them and took some notes.  These came to a head when I found a section in The Body Electric (Becker & Selden (1985) that explains the  processes required for an  entity to be called living.

There are three main ones: 1) ability to do information processing, 2) regeneration, and 3) rhythm – defined as cyclic activity tuned to circadian rhythms.  These three criteria are met by semiconducting crystals which are piezoelectric [pressure], pyroelectric [fire] and photoelectric [light] a very interesting set of characteristics given our context.  Three other characteristics are:  4) a genetic system using DNA or RNA, 5) sexuality/reproduction, and 6) right and left-handed molecules, one or the other but not both (referring to their electrical charges).

The authors then go on to explain how life might have originated on earth way back when.  And they explain the development of nervous systems beginning with a crystalline photocell (p. 260).  The electromagnetic details were fascinating, but too complex for me to try to explain here.  The gist of my story is what happened next.

As I was dropping off to sleep last night, I was pondering the question of how I was going to explain life to you.  As I became drowsy, I “saw” that life in this context is the whole objectification/separation process.  That means that Life, expressed as Prana in the division of the power of consciousness into Mind and Prana, is a prototype of the entire biological schema.  It is the procreation process itself.

    Prana.  Here is what Woodroffe (1973) has to say about prana.  Prana holds the gross and subtle bodies together and vitalizes them [through breathing].  Prana evolves from active energy in the subtle body.  [Recall that the subtle body is composed of energy (prana) and two levels of mind (manas and buddhi.]  Individual prana is a manifestation in all breathing creatures of the creative, sustaining activity of Brahman represented by Kundalini.  Prana is the life duration of all.  Life is not a vayu though prana and its five-fold functions are sometimes called vayu.  Prana as vitality is a common function of the mind and senses, both sensory and motor which result in body motion.  Life, then, is a resultant of the various concurrent activities of other principles or forces in the organism.  Vedantists see prana as a separate, independent principle and “material” form assumed by Consciousness (cf. our model of the Supreme Bindu).  It is believed to be unconscious [i.e., is an object of consciousness].  Prana is an homogeneous, undivided whole which permeates the whole body, has no specialized organs and it ensouls the body as its inner self.  Pranas are involuntary, reflex actions.  Atman (Higher Self, Witness Self, the Real I, Pure Consciousness within) gives life to earth organisms through terrestrial prana which is one manifestation of the energy from Shakti.

    Vayu, on the other hand, is a manifestationof life that is the self-begotten, subtle, invisible, all-pervading, divine energy of eternal life.  It determines the birth, growth, and decay of all organisms.  It radiates through the body as nerve force instantly in currents.  It maintains equilibrium in the root principles of the body (dosas and dhatus).  It is known in its bodily aspect as prana, the universal force of vital activity.  There are ten functions of vayu, five of which are primary:

1.  Breathing – called prana.  This is the force of respiration, but not the physical breath which is a gross body function.  Prana on the earth plane is created and sustained by the sun, solar breath.  The solar sun is the manifestation of the Inner Spiritual Sun [Supreme Bindu].  It is the counterpart in humans of the Siva-Sakti-Tattva –  the soul of the universe (p. 77).  

2.  Apana – downward breath which pulls against prana.  It governs excretion.  Its function is rejection.

3.  Samana – kindles the body fire, governs digestion.  Its function is assimilation.

4.  Vyana – diffused breathing throughout the body.  It causes division and diffusion and resists disintegration.  It holds the body together in all its parts.  Its function is distribution.

5.  Udana – ascending vayu, upward breathing in the throat.  Its function is utterance.

Prana is generally conceived of as the force that sustains life in the body.  It is a vibrating field of subtle energy and, as such, is the vehicle of Consciousness.  We have met most of its forms already.  Vayus are subtle energies that move throughout the body as needed for various functions.  Svaras are patterns of flow of the life force that are carried on the vehicle of the breath.  Nadiis are subtle energy currents that move the vayus.  The three main ones are Ida, Pingala and Susumna.  Chakras are subtle energy centers, tattvas are subtle elements, and dalas are subtle brain centers.

It has long been known in Yoga that the breath is capable of uniting the body and mind.  Pranayama consists of practices to do this and is used in conjunction with Hatha Yoga to train the mind and to become conscious of every part of the bodymind.  Svarodaya consists of practices to gain conscious control over prana and the mind with specific kinds of breathing.  Svara Yoga establishes a particular pattern of breath flow for a specific time or activity such as a certain event in daily life or even the dying process.  It is also used to explore the chakra system.  One needs a teacher to explore the esoteric forms of these practices.

Exercise: Subtle Energies

Read chapter 2 in Kundalini Vidya (Harrigan, 2002) on The Subtle Body.  As you do so, think about how her explanations refer to life as you know it.  What are the interactions between mind and life as served by the breath?  Is the breath life itself?  If so, why do you think so?  If not, why not?  What is life?  Is there life without a breathing body?  Without a mind?  Is there a mind without life?  Is one more important than the other?

Write a reflective paper on life and the mind.


Hamsapitha is the place of prana in our system, and it bears the guru’s footprint [Mind + Prana].  It seems to be synonymous with the Soma Chakra, the 12-petalled lotus.  the twelve petals are Ham + Sa  X  6.  In other words, this is the Ham in the apex of the A-Ka-Tha triangle plus Visarga which is the Ksa and Lla in the other two corners.  We already know that Visarga is the power of consciousness and Ham is consciousness itself.  In the Serpent Power (Woodroffe, 1973), the Hamsapitha represents Purusa and Prakrti, so we are back to our original twosome.  Since it is the guru’s footprint, it is composed of mind and life.  


We have been discussing unity all along because that is what the Supreme Bindu is symbolic of.  But there are some other interpretations of what unity means that we can add to our collection to give it more depth of understanding.  Here are a few that seem to be occurring at the same level of consciousness.


Bodhicitta is Enlightened Consciousness.  It is the result of the union of life and knowledge which leads to radiation or Light. Govinda (1982) says that life is blind without the power of conscious awareness, and that the power of knowledge is the poisonous intellect without the unifying primordial force of life to temper it.  

       Where, however, these two forces [knowledge and life] co-operate,
         penetrating and compensating each other, there arises the sacred flame
         of the enlightened mind (bodhi-citta), which radiates light as well as
         warmth, and in which knowledge grows into living wisdom and the blind
         urge of existence and unrestrained passion into the power of universal love.
         (p. 165)

So, here we have our parents giving rise to Love.  The “Yoga of the Inner Fire” is a series of practices that can lead to “. . a state of inner unity and completeness in which all dormant forces and qualities of our being are concentrated and integrated like the rays of the  sun in the focus of a lens” (Govinda,  1982, p. 165).  This refers us back to the mirror and the Light.  The symbol of perfect integration is the flaming drop (bindu) which, in addition to Light, has all the qualities of fire such as warmth, purification, fusion, radiation, transfiguration, etc.  Its seed mantra is Hūm.

Govinda also says that an Enlightened One combines both sides of reality, the physical as well as the mental and spiritual, including the creative primordial power of life and the luminous, all-penetrating power of knowledge. Also that life and knowledge lead to radiation and Bodhicitta the latter of which is a joining of knowledge (prajna) and compassion (karuna).  The only difference from what we have been discussing is that, in Buddhism, the active and passive roles are reversed.  The masculine Karuna is active and the feminine Prajna is passive.  Notice, however, that, in both cases, knowledge is seen to be passive while life and love are active principles.

Later on, Govinda (1982) says that, in the process of “breaking through” to universal consciousness, intuitive knowledge  and spontaneous feeling are “merged into an inseparable union” (p. 198).  We will return to “breaking through” in the next unit.  However, notice the combination of knowing and feeling linked together once again.  Amitabha is connected with both the life aspect of breath as well as with the knowledge aspect of mantric sound that leads to the distinguishing Wisdom of Inner Vision.


Another Wisdom Buddha, Ratnasambhava, symbolizes life and love.  In this role, we have a union based on the knowledge of non-duality plus an emphasis on the equality of all beings.  Note that the word used is “beings,” not human beings, so we are talking about all life forms and possibly all forms because they all vibrate.  The wisdom of Equality destroys the object differentiation of the world which leads to the subject as living being.  In talking about "Rinzai’s Fourfold Contemplation," Govinda (1982) says:

           In the Wisdom of the Great Mirror we destroy the subject (and the subjective
             conception of the world) in favour of the object (the objective ‘suchness’);
             in the Wisdom of Equality we destroy the object (the separating differenti-
             ation of the outer world of appearance) in favour of the subject (the living
             being); in the analytical Wisdom of Inner Vision we destroy the subject and
             object (in the final experience of sunyata); and in the All-Accomplishing
             Wisdom we neither destroy the subject nor the object, i.e., we have reached
             that ultimate freedom, in which we, like the Buddha after his enlightenment,
             can return into the world for the benefit of all living beings, and this without
             danger to ourselves, because we do not cling any more to the world. (p. 264)

If you are canny, you will notice that the subject referred to here is the “I” and the object is the “This” of Shakti’s first movements toward objectification only here we have a description of the return trip, i.e., dissolution.  That paragraph bears some intensive reflection if you are seeking an “how-to.”

Also, please  note that the end result is assumed to be a return to help others in the world.  This is the Bodhisattva role.  Maitri (loving kindness) plus Karuna (compassion) leads to the urge to give, and Ratnasambhava is the figure who nurtures and feeds, a symbol of abundance, truly a Divine Mother image.  This is One who has feeling for others, an inner participation and identification with all that lives.  As such, Ratnasambhava transforms the feeling skandha.

Ratnasambhava’s symbol, called (guess what?) maņi, is the three jewels which represent the three vessels of enlightenment: Buddha (the Enlightened one), the Dharma (Truth), and the Sangha (community of those on the path).  I  once thought of this as “I am the One,” “I know it,” and “Everyone else is too.”  Consciousness is the precious jewel.  Maņi is the prima materia of the human mind, the faculty of higher consciousness.  As cintamaņi it is a wish-granting jewel.  It later came to be  symbolized by the vajra or Diamond sceptre, the highest spiritual power.  In any case, we have another triad here.  See if you can fit it into the overall schema.


In Christianity, unity consciousness is equated with union with God the Father.  Jesus, as the Christ, came into the world to show us how to live the life of the Divine One in a body in the world.  His teachings paralleled those others presented here including the triadic unity of God the Father, Christ the son, and the Holy Ghost.  The purest source of Jesus’ original teachings is probably the Gnostic Gospels.  There is also evidence in Tibet (Bock, 1995; Connelly & Landsberg, 2004; Palmer, 2001) that Jesus traveled to the far east to study with the gurus who were then in bodies there.  He also studied in Egypt as a young boy and adolescent.  In the Bible, the “Gospel of St. John” gives us the rendition that is closest to the mystical teachings.  It is essential that we remember that the events presented in the Bible do not need to be historically factual.  It is the symbolism of them that is crucial just as that is true of all other spiritual traditions.  The book of “Revelations,” also by St. John, is a good case in point.  In fact, there is one commentary (Pryse, 1910) that interprets “Revelations” as a treatise on the seven chakras.  Swami Radha also viewed that book as a symbolic treasure.

The main point to remember about union is that it is a state in which all the aspects of dualism have been overcome, and the initiators of it are in a condition of serenity and peace  however temporary that might be.  And lest you think the journey is over, there is still a way to go to reach the pinnacle of Liberation.  We still have a few guides who have traveled that territory to help us along.  But that is a story for the following units.

Remember the creative pattern of: One leads to two which leads to three to seven and thence to multitudes:  1 –> 2 –> 3 –> 7 –> many?  We have already examined the triads in the preceding levels of dissolution, but at this level we find a triad that bridges the duo and the rest of the triads.  It is SatCitAnanda.  This is so because we are still with the Supreme Bindu, but SatCitAnanda connects it to the actual acts of creation.

SatCitAnanda means Being, Consciousness and Bliss.  You will recognize Being as Shakti as Life and Mind, Cit as Shiva or Pure Consciousness, and their relationship as Ananda or unconditional Love otherwise known as bliss.

These three concepts can be translated into any of the triads such as Sun, Moon and Fire; Light, Love and Life; Mind, Voice and Body; Essence, Energy and Nature; Presence, Movement and Calm; Sattva, Rajas and Tamas; and the Kayas: Dharmakaya, Sambhogakaya and Nirmanakaya, not necessarily in these orders.  


Sat means Being or Presence.   As represented by Shakti, this Being would be self-aware, alive and possessed of a functional mind.  It would have all the characteristics and functions we discussed in the section on Emptiness and Form.  And, as such, it would be the forerunner of the universe and all life on earth.


Cit means Pure Consciousness.  As such, it is represented by Shiva, Brahman, Buddha, the Atman, The Ma or anusvara of Bindu, and the Sun.  As Cosmic Intelligence, it is Truth and Light.  This aspect is awake and aware of what is going on, but is believed to be inactive serving as a grounded pole for the activities of the Power of Consciousness.  For us to experience this dimension of the triad, we must enter nirvikalpa samadhi which is formless, vast and dark because it is a part of the Void.  Consciousness is in all life and holds the body together while supporting the tattvas.  In itself, it is non-dual.


Ananda is the bliss of unconditional Love.  It is represented by Amrita the nectar and joy of the union of the Supreme Bindu.  It has a counterpart in human experience when samadhi releases endorphins in the nervous system. That is  called Maithuna.  If we include Ratnasambhava in our theory, we would be able to add Love to this mix.

    Nirvana-Kala.  This is the part of the Bindu that is in a state of absorption or nirvana.  This means that all awareness is withdrawn into the center, and there is little or no contact with outside reality.  Nirvana-Kala is associated with the Tattva-jnana or spiritual wisdom which is granted upon occasion usually in connection with samadhi.  Nityananda or pure consciousness is within Nirvana-Kala.  

    Samadhi.  There are two forms of samadhi relevant to this level:  1) Savikalpa which is accompanied by the meditator’s consciousness, and 2) Nirvikalpa which is beyond normal consciousness.  In this Bindu, we would be dealing with Savikalpa samadhi as a personal union with the light of consciousness; that is, conscious awareness of the experience.  Sometimes called Sunyata, this state is composed of the Void plus Mind which would enable a conscious perception of the supreme Bindu itself.  This state is accompanied by bliss unlike nirvikalpa samadhi which is entirely serene and in which the personal consciousness is not active.

There are two forms of bliss: 1) Rasa which is the bliss of moksa.  This is a controlled mind which concentrates its entirety on the Sahasrara Padma and knows it is freed from rebirth.  A person who experiences this is called a Jivanmukti.  Muktananda was a good example of one.  2)  Virasa is the bliss of the Shiva-Shakti union.  From this arises the universe and the nectar of amrita.

In order to come to samadhi, one must practice Vairagya or detachment.  Usually this is done through a commitment to renunciation.  This means not being attached to anything, good or bad.  It does not mean we must live in a cave in the Himalayas.  We have our usual lives, but we could do without them if necessary.  Most  renunciates get rid of all their excess baggage, and many go to live in spiritual communities where they have the benefit of supportive companions.  There are layers and layers of attachment especially in the western, materialistic, consumer-oriented nations.  So, if you are a member of one of these societies, be prepared for a real struggle.  It is no accident that renunciation is a primary vow of the mystics.

Woodroffe (1973) says that “. . if the Citta [mind] be not in the heart there can be no union with the Paratma [Supreme Atman]” (p. 285).  This does not surprise us since we already know that the real mind is in the heart.  However, the implications for practice are that all the centers of the body must be purified.  And this is connected to another primary vow, that of chastity.  Chastity means not only sexual abstinence but purity in every sense you can think of including the senses, perceptions and mental activities.

Finally, samadhi brings us to the realm of Satyam Loka – Reality.  Satya means Truth, Brahman or the Absolute.  We have arrived at the essences of the creative process and discovered that we are one with them.  They are Us.  Tat Twam Asi – That Thou Art – I am That.  Or, as God said to Moses, “I am that I am.”  We are Pure Consciousness, Light; we are Pure Being, Life; and we are Supernal Bliss, Love.  Light, Life and Love.  That is easy to remember.

Divine Mother

Ah, Divine Mother!  When I first went to live in the Ashram, I couldn’t figure out who Divine Mother was.  Why was She so important and why did everyone worship Her, talk about Her, play Her mantras, etc.?  It took a while for me to find out.  Finally, in one workshop, I had to write a paper on Divine Mother, so my perplexity finally came to a head.  As I sat there with my question, I suddenly realized that, for me, Divine Mother was black because the person who had nurtured me as an infant was a black woman in Alabama.  Then it all made sense.  Divine Mother is the the aspect of the Divine One who takes care of us, nurtures us and protects us.  In Hinduism, that is Kundalini Shakti; in Buddhism, it is Tara; in oriental Buddhism it is Kuan Yin; and in Christianity, it is Mother Mary or the Holy Ghost.  Every religious tradition seems to have a mother figure to meet this need to be taken care of.


Inside Nirvana-kalā, we have Nirvana-Shakti who is the giver of life and the life of all beings.  We noted the change aspect of the moon.  That change is life’s movement.  Here we are referring to True Life: the simplicity, clarity and oneness of the Great Flow (Roberts, 1985, p. 33) and to the Truth that remains when there are no experiences left. (p. 35).  The amrita mentioned above is the giver of life.  You might say it is a tool of Nirvana-Shakti.

It is Nirvana-Shakti who forms the circumference around the void to create the Supreme Bindu.  She is the form of the formless, the first limitation upon  Pure Consciousness.  It is as if She carves out a bit of the formless for Her own territory.  Nirvana-Shakti manifests as Nada and Bindu plus Light which leads to the desire for change.

Nirvana-Shakti works through the subtle body: the etheric, manic and buddhic kosas.  She is the inner spiritual director, the Divine within, the Light of all Lights.  As such, She controls the life energy and maintains Jiva consciousness, life and awareness.  She is sometimes called the Cinmatra-Tattva which includes the Bindu (Ham) plus Visarga (Sah) combination that you will recognize as the Hamsapitha.  These two entities are also called Purusa and Prakrti who, together are Parama-Hamsa.  Parama means “the Highest” or “Supreme.”  Prakrti is the unmanifest energy potential for life and creation while Shakti is the dynamic or manifesting form.


Nibodhika is an elusive and somewhat nebulous concept that is associated with Nirvana-Shakti.  It means fire and life.  Woodroffe (1973, pp. 448-9) described it as fiery and as the unmanifested Nada, i.e., a phase of Avyakta-nada or unmanifested sound.  The other two phases are Bindu and Nada.  Translated this means Moon, Sun, and Fire.  Bindu is the Moon,  Nada is the Sun, and Nibodhika is the Fire.  In another association, Iccha is the Moon, Jnana is the Fire, and Kriya is the Sun.  It is said that Iccha is the Moon because Iccha is the precursor of creation and is eternal, Jnana is Fire because it burns up all actions, and Kriya is the Sun because, like the Sun, it makes everything visible.  It is your choice which way to interpret it.  These relationships may be clearer in Table 7.  If you consider the last two rows, you may discover some reasons for the first interpretation.
Table 7. 
Three Mandalas

     Feeling or Willing

Nibodhika means “Giver of Knowledge.”  This is meant in the sense of negating the operation of the principle of unconsciousness and working toward a positive state of pure consciousness, a kind of pruning effect.  This pure state of consciousness is experienced as Samadhi and occurs after the absorption of Life and Mind and the cessation of all thinking.

Nibodhika is also associated with Life as the accompaniment of heat and light.

So what significance does Fire have for us personally?  Fire destroys, warms, purifies, and acts as a catalyst in both cooking and chemistry.  As such, it has the power to change the combinations of elements and molecules.  So it appears that Nibodhika plays a major role in the purification and preparation of the bodymindspirit  for spiritual advancement.  It facilitates and may even force us to change.  If your house burns down, you must change your way of living.  We light a candle to signify the presence of the divine during our worship.  So fire also symbolizes Light, and consequently insight and understanding.

Exercise: Nibodhika

Sit for meditation and do a little reflection about the combination of Heat and Light in your practices and in your life.  Why do the two qualities go together?  Consider that fire is one of the four elements, and it governs the third chakra whose sense is sight which requires light.  Ego’s home is in the third chakra.  Is that significant?  What effect might heat and light have on the ego?  And, in that case, what would heat and light represent to you?  If the ego were refined,  as the senses can be, what would you have then?  Take one of these questions or come up with your own and relax into meditation waiting to see if an answer comes to you in the twilight zone prior to samadhi.

The Guru

The Guru is symbolized in the Sahasrara Padma by the circle at the top of the mandala that is sitting on the inverted A-Ka-Tha triangle.  It is called Parama Shiva and is said to be in the pericarp of the 12-petal lotus or Soma Chakra.  The Guru is placed in Nirvana-Kala on the Hamsapitha.  That means It is in deepest meditation and Nirvikalpa samadhi.  We could think of that as unconditional consciousness.  Parama Shiva is represented by the Surya Bindu which accounts for the Light that emanates from it.   Because it is the Parama Shiva, it is the Supreme form of Consciousness or Cit. 

       Consciousness (Cit) as the ultimate experiencing principle, pervades and is
         at base all being.  Every cell of the body has a consciousness of its own.  
         The various organic parts of the body which the cells build have not only
         particular cell-consciousness, but the consciousness of the particular organic
         part which is other than the mere collectivity of the consciousness and its
         units. . . the organism as a whole has its consciousness, which is the individual
         Jiva. (Woodroffe, 1973, pp. 162-3)

I offer this quotation because each of these forms of consciousness has its own individual name which can be confusing.  Woodroffe (1973) goes on to say,

       The seventh or supreme centre of Consciousness is Parama-Siva, whose
         abode is Satyaloka, the Cosmic aspect of the Sahasrara in the human body.  
         The Supreme, therefore, descends through its manifestations from the subtle
         to the gross as the six Devas and Saktis in their six abodes in the world-axis,
         and as the six centres in the body-axis or spinal column.  The special operation
         of each of the tattvas is located at its individual centre in the microcosm. (p. 163)

Let us examine some of the guru forms.


Brahman is the name you will find used most frequently to represent the highest deity.  Shankara in The Viveka-Chudamani (Prabhavananda & Isherwood, 1975), after a long discussion of both Brahman and Atman says that they are the same.  Both are the Absolute.  However, it appears that the Atman is the inner aspect of the Guru in human beings whereas Brahman is an exteriorized figure.  Cidatma is Brahman as Cit or Pure Consciousness.


Shankara (Prabhavananda & Isherwood, 1975) says that Atman is nature, pure consciousness, the Real I, the God within; Infinite Being, Wisdom and Love (cf SatCitAnanda).  We experience It as the Witness state or the Higher Self which is detached from ordinary concerns and which observes what we do.

Pure Presence

The Dzogchen description (Norbu, 1996, p.p. 116-7) of Pure Presence sounds like Atman.  Our actual existence is said to have two states: 1) a calm state and 2) the  movement of thoughts which arise and disappear.  In contemplation, there is no difference between the calm state and movement,  so one should try to maintain the same state of presence in either state.  In meditation, there are two phases: 1) shinay – the state of calm, and 2) lhanton – inner vision, a kind of awakening of consciousness.  Shinay corresponds to voidness [the calm] and lhanton to clarity along with integration of the state of presence with movement.  “Movement” here includes prana or life.  In this state, every aspect of body, voice and mind is integrated with contemplation.  The Dzogchen point of view is that we do not need to do anything to arrive at Enlighenment since we are already there.  The practices are directed at helping us to realize that.

       Everything has already been accomplished, and so, having overcome the
         sickness of efort, one finds oneself in the self-perfected state: this is con-
         templation. (Norbu, 1996, p. 119)


Isvara is what we might call the personal god with attributes.  It represents the combination of Brahman and Maya and is the cause of the universe.  Its job is to rule Maya (which is Brahman’s power) and to create, rule, and destroy the universe(s).  It is the creative principle.  Although this comes close to describing Shakti, She is not specifically identified in the Viveka Chudamani version from which this information was taken.  


This is your favorite deity, the one you perceive as your teacher and personal god.  This is the one who answers your spiritual longing and so becomes the object of your adoration and love.  The whole discipline of Bhakti Yoga revolves around this concept of worship.  Japa or Mantra Yoga is used to achieve darshan of the Istadevata.  Darshan means insight, a way of seeing or a vision of Reality.  Repetition of the Holy Name can lead to higher consciousness when practiced long enough and in the right frame of mind.  Tyberg (1970) says that, “Japa is a vehicle for Power to decend into one’s being” (p. 156).

Guru Mantramaya-pitha

Aim This is the Guru mantra in the form of Aim which is pictured as the Sanskrit figure in the center of the Sahasrara mandala. Aim is the bija of Sarasvati, the goddess of creativity and the arts.  Aim represents both the body of the Hamsapitha and  the  petals of the Soma chakra which is the 12-petaled lotus.   According to  Harrigan  (2002), the phoneme “ah” means “Destroyer of death,” and the phoneme “im” means “Nourishing giver of benevolence” which fits with our concepts of Shiva (the destroyer) and Divine Mother (the nurturer).  The combination, “Aim,”  means “Captivator of men, giver of purity and peace” (p. 66).  This seems a fitting description of the Supreme Guru.

So you can see that we are observing several different levels of the concept of guru.  This gives you a generous collection of guru forms from which to select your own.

Implications for Practice

What is at stake here is one’s absorption in the union of Pure Consciousness and Mind.  It means bringing the ordinary, little mind to complete stillness, so the nirvana state can be experienced.  When that happens, both thinking and conscious awareness stop.  Although the Great Mind in union with Pure Consciousness is an aspect of the Supreme Bindu, it is not the thinking, everyday, ordinary mind.  Instead, we could imagine it as the Universal Mind.  Our little minds get in the way with their incessant chattering, so that must be silenced in order to venture beyond.  It can take years of meditation practice to achieve the stillness that we call contemplation or absorption.  The process is called “dissolution” because it means exactly that.  We must literally dissolve all our sentient activity into space.  This can be scary because it feels like losing one’s mind or like a loss of that precious identity.  However, it usually happens gradually which enables us to get used to the new state of beingness.

You may reach a kind of plateau of ecstasy in this union, and many decide to remain here enjoying the rapture at the same time engaging in life in the world.  However, if you wish to continue, there are practices designed to take you further.

What follows are some ideas for practice at this level of the journey.

Mantra Practice

If you decide to work with mantra, you will need to seek the one that vibrates for you and fits your special kind of longing.  In the Buddhist tradition, Foundations of Tibetan Mysticism (Govinda, 1982) offers considerable detail around mantra practice and how to do it, along with a few key mantras themselves.  For various types of Yoga, you can find tapes such as “Om Namah Sivaya” at www.timelessbooks.org . The chant “Om Mani Padme Hum” is in their Bhajans  at Yasodhara Ashram songbook.  The chant “Shri Guru Gita” can be found at The SYDA Foundation, and this is a classic that they chant every day there.  For “Shakti Yoga” and other Yogic chants by Russill Paul, go to www.therelaxationcompany.com.  In the Christian tradition,  the Taize Community in France has made a series of tapes such as “Laudate” (you will have to Google this one as I do not have the web address).  At the top of your Christian list should be Gregorian chant (there is a set of four CDs called “Festival of Gregorian Chants” produced in Canada that is marvelous).

Om is, of course, the quintessential mantra since it is the sound of the universe.

Hu which is uttered as a whisper is a Sufi mantra for the Divine One.  Note that the combination of “Hu” and “man” in the word “human” means “Divine Mind.”


Meditation is the practice of choice at every level, and it is associated with Raja Yoga which will take you to the end of the line.


Since the world is created by the mind, one way to deal with this is to begin to withdraw your projections.  Since we cannot experience the inner lives of others, we attempt to understand them by projecting our own experience into them. This is a source of considerable error since we are not at all identical. Usually this occurs when we get emotionally upset.  So that is another point at which work can be done.  If you are subject to emotional upheavals, there is still a challenge at the third chakra level.  But projection is such a universal phenomena that we all do it a great deal of the time. So it would bear some watching.  And when you catch your-self doing it, ask how you do it to yourself and try to reclaim the energy from it.


This is a watchword in all spiritual journeys.  We need to learn how to tell the difference between Maya and Reality.  Both are acceptable experiences as long as we do not confuse them in actual life.

Laya Krama

This set of practices can be found in The Serpent Power by Woodroffe (1973).  These are oriented toward working with Kundalini Shakti and will result in unity consciousness if carried to fruition.


Along with discrimination, detachment is criterial.  As long as we are attached to things, people and events in the world or even to our spiritual journey, we are still entangled with Maya.  That, in itself, is not particularly bad, but it will not result in enlightenment or liberation. You could think of enlightenment as liberation from attachments.  Granthis are the points where attachments become most problematic.  You can review those in your Johari (1987) book.

These are just a few ideas.  There are endless sources of guidance for this journey.  You must be careful in selecting the ones you use especially in choice of a teacher.  A little book called Guru and Disciple by Swami Satchidananda (1979), which may be available at www.timelessbooks.org or at Yasodhara Ashram lays out in easily understood terms what criteria to use in selecting your teacher.

We have been exploring the various aspects and implications of the Supreme Bindu near the apex of our spiritual tree.  Our focus was on consciousness and the forms associated with it as a result of Maya.  Part of that had to do with emptiness vs form or the mirror function of Aksobhya.  We looked at the roles of Mind and Life as the basic forms of Maya as well as what constitutes Unity and SatCitAnanda.  Finally, we had a look at Divine Mother and The Guru.

In Unit VIII. Visnu Vakta, we begin to walk the tightrope between life as we know it and the beyond because this point in the journey represents the threshold of dissolution.


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