8/11/2017

The Dance of Non-Duality is Devotion

What is 'non-duality'? So many speak of it, yet few taste the bitter sweet berry of God's name. A love-fermented river? A nectar stream? A sparkling continuum where subject and object, Shiva and Shakti, Lord and Paramour swirl and merge in the oceanic splendor of bewilderment?

Here is a secret: those who drink from the One never regain their sanity. They become Two, and rumba. They are inebriated beyond language. When they do resort to words, they cannot bear to discourse on the dry abstractions of Advaita, but can only sing the lyrics of Bhakti.

For they must speak on behalf of the pain and yearning of a universe in labor. They must speak for the hornet and the jack hammer, for both the quarry and the uncut diamond, the wound and the tooth alike.

The healer is drawn to the bruise like the black moth to a flame. The heart has two chambers. Our soul is not a flat-line but a pulse of light and shadow. The dance of non-duality is devotion.

Even the vulture has a sacred task, to polish our offered bones. Even Adi-Shankara, the fountain of Vedanta, could not contain the bursting wine in his heart. He was a pomegranate, after all, spilling seeds like you and me, mumbling hymns and prayers to the Goddess, to the Guru, to Shambo, Lord of Dissolving.

Video: Adi Shankara's masterpiece, Shiva Manas Puja, from 'Sacred Chants of Shiva' by Craig Pruess, excerpted translation below:

"O Lord, abode of compassion, O Pasupati, deign to accept my mental offerings of a gem-studded seat, a bath with cool water, divine garments inlaid with precious stones, sandal paste scented with musk, a garland made of jasmine, champaka flowers and bilva leaves, incense, and the waving of lights...

"O Sambhu, You are my very Self, my intellect is Goddess Parvati, your attendants are my vital airs, my body is Your temple, all enjoyments of sense-objects are Your worship, my sleep is samadhi, all my movements on my feet are circumambulations of You, whatever I speak is praise of You, and thus whatever action I perform is Your worship.

"When a devotee totally surrenders to God, then, giving up all sense of being a doer and an enjoyer, whatever that devotee does is God’s will.

"Whatever wrongs I may have committed with my hands, feet, speech, body, ears, eyes, or mind, in any action whether prescribed (by the scriptures) or not, deign to forgive all of them. O Ocean of compassion, O Mahadeva, O Sambhu. Hail to you." (Translated by S. N. Sastri)

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