red mala

108 Steps to the End of Time

When you ask a question about numbers and their significance in Indian spiritual traditions, you are likely to encounter a pyramid scheme of ever-proliferating, arcane explanations.

What is the significance of the three prongs on Shiva’s trident? Turns out there are way more than three contenders for the best answer. Why do scriptures say that the human body contains 64,000 subtle channels? Why are female deities so often described as being fifteen or sixteen years old? How long is the Kali Yuga? Careers spent proposing answers to this last one just might account for a significant percentage of India’s economy.

But the question I get most often is:  Why does a mala have 108 beads? Read On…

Immunize the Resistance by Protecting Your Ojas

According to Ayurveda, the ancient healing tradition of India, your immune system is most supported and nourished by two things: love and honesty.

Dhanvantari

Dhanvantari Lord of Ayurveda – painting by Dinesh Shrestha

Ojas refers to both the gross and subtle essence of immunity. Healthy ojas makes you cheerful, loving, compassionate, generous and resistant to both physical disease and more subtle negative influences. It gives you strength, stamina, equanimity and clarity. Healthy ojas means that we have enough “juice” to deal with life’s natural ups and downs.

When ojas is depleted, we can feel chronically malnourished, dry, disappointed, bitter, under attack, defensive, territorial, miserly, fragile and unable to handle or digest circumstances. We can tire or give up after only moderate effort. Our ability to see things through or “surf” life’s difficulties is impaired. We are also more likely to fall ill. Read On…

Spirituality, Political Engagement and Non-dual Tantra

A Conversation with Shambhavi Sarasvati

Shambhavi got together recently with Jacob Kyle from Embodied Philosophy to chat about the intersection of spiritual practice, politics and social justice. In the video, Shambhavi responds to criticism she’s received about being a politically engaged spiritual teacher, and she talks about the Tantrik View of manifest life as a theater of engagement and participation.

This is the 1st in a 5-Day Series exploring the intersection of yoga, spirituality and politics. Join Jacob on his Facebook page in the coming days for conversations with Erica Mather, Dana Slamp, Carol Horton and Miles Neale.

Radical Body Conference  February 24-26

Shambhavi and ten other teachers and scholars of tantra will be participating in Embodied Philosophy’s  3rd Online Conference: “Radical Body: Living Tantra for Modern Life”. Join these teachers as they explore the teachings and practices of Tantric Shaivism, Kundalini and the Chakras in 11 talks over 3 days, February 24th – 26th, 2017. You can sign up to watch for free as the talks air, or to purchase a pass that will allow you to download the whole conference and receive other materials.  Check out the conference now.

Can a Woman be a Crazy Wisdom Teacher (and get away with it)?

Crazy wisdom is at play when a spiritual teacher embodies uncompromising compassion paired with over-the-top creativity. These powerfully and magically transfigure the scene of teaching in order to help students to wake up.

Crazy wisdom is a “by any means available” situation. Some of the moves associated with crazy wisdom are rapid pivots from tenderness to fierceness to hilarity, or just fierceness in general; acting in ways counter to the expectations that students have of spiritual teachers, or generally provoking, or scaring or shocking students; refusing to treat anything as nonspiritual, a.k.a. using every and any circumstance as a vehicle for practice; and energetically engaging students in the wild creativity that is fundamental to existence.

Trungpa July 4th

Trungpa celebrates July 4th.

Although Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche coined the phrase, stories about crazy wisdom teachers are a part of the spiritual inheritance of every direct realization tradition. Even in the absence of a specific crazy wisdom teacher, traditions offering a more direct approach to self-realization, such as Dzogchen, Trika Shaivism and Chan Buddhism, naturally embody crazy wisdom in their teaching methods to some degree.

For instance, both of my traditions, Trika Shaivism and Dzogchen, deploy specific sharp mantras to induce mild shock and clear conceptual mind. They also feature a more playful, unpredictable and fierce style of teaching. I heard this memorable aphorism during a teaching with the wonderful Kagyu meditation master, Lama Wangdor. “When the lion of Mahamudra roars, many are scared off. But the cubs come running for the milk.” Read On…

Podcast: Donald Trump as Spiritual Practice

On January 29, the Jaya Kula community got together for a conversation about doing spiritual practice with the circumstance of a Donald Trump presidency. We talked about how we are bringing Donald Trump onto the path and working with others and our reactions through the lens of our practice, or not.  Give a listen to this special podcast with Shambhavi.

Shambhavi Sarasvati’s twice-weekly dharma talks are about self-realization, death, love, devotion and #stayingwoke while living in a messy world. Free in iTunes, Google Play Music, Soundcloud, or any podcast app. Please review on iTunes if you like. Thanks!