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Wednesday September 15, 2004: Indian deities

Be sure you've read September 15: Intro to Mystic Experiences before continuing....


.....Early in my marriage, my husband introduced me to his Indian guru and friend, Dr. V.G. Kulkarni. Rob and V.G. had been on a pilgrimage together in India. Rob had been one of the yoga students who had nursed V.G. through a serious illness. Since then, their relationship had been as much father and son as teacher and student.

   V.G. was shorter than either Rob or I, and had eyes that twinkled. He was fast to joke about his dark skin and large nose. We, in turn, teased him about leaving the warmth of southern India to visit Cleveland every winter......

            ........I kept meditating with V.G. every year when he visited the states.  He would usually stay for three or four months in the winter.  The months between visits, I avoided meditations unless they were rigidly controlled.  My reaching meditations--the ones where I opened completely to the divine--grew more powerful each year, and I only felt safe with V.G.  If I channeled too much power, he would poke and prod and mutter Sanskrit and I would feel better.

            Now, as much as I liked V.G., I still did not care much for Indian culture.  I did not like Indian food, preferred not to listen to Indian music, and found Indian art unappealing.  Yet, in these meditations with V.G., I found myself working with Indian gods and goddesses.

            That was definitely freaky.  I believed in the divine, the Absolute, without form or limitation.  I had no desire to see gods and goddesses; I had no reason to worship Indian deities.  None of my objections, however, changed the reality.  I'd expand into higher states of consciousness only to find Indian deities appearing, disrupting the peace and harmony I sought.

            I don't know how to explain what I was seeing, whether it was an archetypal vision created within my own mind or an actual entity.  The question did not arise when standing before a god or goddess.  The question arose days afterwards when I struggled with internal doubts.  By my thinking, people relied on images of gods in human form because they couldn't relate to or comprehend an all-inclusive divine.  No rational person interacted with actual gods these days. 

            I sighed.  On my more skeptical days I could only be confident that there was a definite power or presence before me.  It lay so far beyond the human potential that I couldn't imagine how these godforms (as I came to call them) might appear to others of their kind.   Locked in a human body with a limited awareness, I could never be confident of these entities' true appearance.

            To be fair to the deities, on my skeptical days I might be just as caught up considering the reality of the everyday world.  The physical world became reduced further and further until matter dissolved into nothing but energy. Everyday reality was not really solid, had never been solid.  That was a truth, obvious not only from quantum physics but from several states of higher consciousness.  Wasn't this why mystics considered the physical world an illusion? 

            Eventually I would go back to being practical.  The physical body had developed systems to interpret and categorize perceptions, systems that allowed us to relate to the world in which we lived.  You could say the body helped create the reality it lived.  The mind searched memory banks to pull together whatever existing images could match the current awareness. 

            Surely the mind's search to perceive could end with symbolic representations.  It was an idea that brought up major doubts.  When confronted with a god or goddess, could I be activating a Jungian archetypal symbol?  Was there something buried deep within a collective consciousness, a symbol that had always existed within universal humanity, something centered on basic human issues?  I imagined an archetypal vision being somewhat like the dream symbols my mind used to express my individual struggles.  No.  Forget that.  I was sure what I was seeing was not just a symbol. 

            Symbols, such as those of the dream state, seemed flat in comparison.  In a lucid dream, focusing beyond a symbol allowed you to recognize an emotional connection with some past event, a psychological truth, or an archetypal identity underlying the symbol's appearance and actions.  To analyze elements of a dream later brought a deeper emotional and intellectual clarity.  The deities were not like that.

            To stand before a deity was to sense a purity of power beyond thought and emotion, radiating outward, complete and unstoppable.  Afterward, even reflecting back on the deities pulled one back into higher states of awareness, beyond the awareness of self.  It was never a casual occurrence. 

          If I had to deal with deities, then I was grateful the deities set up their own procedure, toughening me to these encounters. First I saw just a blue-skinned foot with a snake curling around it--just a foot--except that could never describe the awesome shift in consciousness I experienced.  When I recovered from this a week later, I was shown the back of a hand.  A week later, the back of a head.  Then, the elephant trunk of the deity Ganesh.  A short glimpse.  Another week to recover.  It was a gradual procedure, but it still left me unprepared for the first time I looked into the eyes of Shiva.  Those were eyes that turned reality inside out.

            If Rob and I had not been meditating weekly with V.G. in our home, I know me, I would've avoided meditation all together.  Instead, I gradually became resigned to seeing and interacting with deities.  All I could do is keep asking my husband, "Now, who am I seeing if this happens?  Who looks like this?" Not that I ever got comfortable with the idea. During the experience, I remained caught in awe.  Afterwards, my emotions alternated between frustration and resignation.  I did not want these experiences.  Neither could I stop them from occurring within my meditations....  


Posted on Wednesday, September 15, 2004 at 04:56AM by Registered CommenterThe Skeptical Mystic | Comments1 Comment

Reader Comments (1)

It's very good of you to describe such a powerful experience.
September 15, 2004 | Unregistered Commentermike brown

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