Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Ardhanarisvara or Ardhanari - Notes (in construction)

A modern cult of Ardanari draws upon its ancient manifestations but differ in many important respects. For example the historical Kaulas worshipped a Goddess possessed of special abilities including the ability to produce an androgynous elixir or 'goddess semen'. The experts say that Ardanari was viewed as androgynous in a different way and that this does not include the production of male and female seed or both semen and menstrual blood. see (White 2003 : 278)

The modern cult would be more flexible in its mythology - but is still able to draw inspiration from older sources for the idea that the male and female adepts can be the source of a (if not the) androgynous elixir. Inspiration for this could be drawn from the Tantrik kingship rites of Bali and Java - medieval centres of the Ardanari cult:

'An Old Javanese court poem, the Smara'Dahana ("The Burning of Kama"), translated and commented by C. Hooykaas, ends on the following verses:

Such is her loveliness, moving and sweet,
to be compared with mead in a chalice;
together with her as his principal spouse
did Smara come down to earth;
King and Queen as Ardhanaresvan
continuously on the jewel lion-throne;
King Kamesvara in [the] lotus' inner part,
having as sakti the eight goddesses after their arrival.45

This poem is in fact a reference to the Indonesian royal consecration, which was Tantric. Hooykaas explicates this verse on the basis of Balinese Saiva ritual, in which Ardhanaresvan is praised in the following terms:
"Hence a rain of nectar pours down, therefore on all the limbs and junc-
tions, born from the meeting of husband and wife, this is proclaimed to be
the 'real life.'"46

Here, the king and his queen, husband and wife, embody the divine pair Siva and Uma, who together are called amrti'karam, the "making of nectar, holy water." It is at this moment in the ritual, in which nectar or holy water is said to descend from the sky to earth, that the water in the vessel before the priest becomes transformed into holy water.47

This is the central mystery of Balinese Hindu religion. On the one hand, this consecration ritual transforms a man into a king: whereas as a boy, the king may have had an ordinary name like Ayam Vuruk, the Young Cock, following his abhiseka he is given the official name of Kamesvara. On the other hand, it transforms him and his spouse into the central deities of the Tantric mandala, vivifying the world with the nectar of their union:

in the moment of their consecration, the newly consecrated King Kamesvara and his spouse are identified with Siva and Uma bestowing the nectar of their supreme bliss upon humanity.48 The mandala is completed by the array of women that surround the royal couple: the king, together with his spouse, as Ardhanaresvan, are said to be seated in the padma'guhya, the hidden recess of the lotus, where they are surrounded by their eight Saktis, perhaps the king's lesser queens.49 However, as we noted in the previous chapter, the lotus and its heart are, in Tantric parlance, none other than the female sexual organ, and certain Kaula groups represented the Sri Cakra as a yoni surrounded by eight lesser yonis.50' (White 2003 : 135)

Thus we read in
Cassell's Encyclopedia of Queer Myth, Symbol and Spirit:

'Ardhanarishvara "The Lord Whose Half Is Woman" represents a transgendered being created by the union of the Hindu deities shiva (male) and shakti (female). Ardhanarishvara, above all, speaks to the totality that lies beyond duality. In Chinese Taoism (or Daoism), this concept is symbolized by the coming together of YIN AND yang in the Tao (or Dao). Like the Greek god Hermes, Ardhanarishvara is associated with communication; the intermediate being often serves to mediate between women and men, mortals and deities, and between other entities. For this reason, Ardhanarishvara is said to dwellin the chakra (sacred center of the human body) of the throat. In tantra, this chakra is also sometimes associated with oral intercourse, linking the deity not only to androgyny but also to homoeroticism. In the past, Ardhanarishvara was served by gender variant, cross- (or mixed-) dressing, priests.

Alain Danielou* writes, "The hermaphrodite, the homosexual, and the transvestite have a symbolic value and are considered privileged beings, images of the Ardhanarishvara. In this connection, they play a special part in magical and Tantric rites." To devotees, Ardhanarishvara, like Ganesha - Shiva's non-biological son and a companion of Ardhanarishvara - brings prosperity. In artistic depictions, Ardhanarishvarais typically shown with the left half of his body being female and the right half, male. The female (Shakti, or parvati, or Uma) half is usually garbed in red and often holds a lotus, while the male half (Shiva) wears a tiger skin or an ascetic's cloth around the waist. The skin of the female half is tan, while that of the male half is light blue. His/her gaze is pensive, serene; his/her pose sensuous, inviting. The cult of Ardhanarishvara appears to have reached a pinnacle during the tenth through the twelfth centuries and again in the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, when he-she became a popular subject in sculpture and painting.

*Danielou, Alain (1907-1994) French musicologist, writer, translator, musician (especially of the vina), dancer, and sportsman known especially for his works on Hindu music, mythology, religion, and mysticism, which include Hindu Polytheism (1964), The Ragas of Northern Indian Music (1968), Shiva and Dionysus (1982), and While the Gods Play (1987). Inspired by a deeply religious mother, at age four he constructed a sanctuary in the woods with images of the Virgin Mary and small crosses. His attraction to the sacred eventually led him to explore other spiritual traditions, particularly Hinduism, and to view eroticism as a bridge to enlightenment. He described his first homosexual experience in beatific terms - he felt suddenly "infused with light." "In that moment of intense pleasure, a god of sensuousness, happiness, and light was revealed to me - that god of love whom mystics [of ancient Greek religion, Sufism, Christianity, and Tantra] write about, the god of Jalal al-Din RUMI and Saadi, of Saint John of the Cross [San Juan de la Cruz] and Saint Theresa of Avila [Santa Teresa de Avila], of Dionysian and Tantric rites."

In the 1930s and 1940s, with his lover Raymond Burnier Danielou immersed himself in Hinduism, visiting, photographing, and writing about many otherwise neglected Hindu temples. In Fools of God (1988), one of his works which depicts the interrelationship of homoeroticism and the sacred, Danielou describes the erotico-spiritual dimension of the lives of certain sadhus(Hindu ascetics). For these, he insists, "the repression ofs ex is out of the question. The path of complete abstinence is considered impossible in the age of strife in which we live... The man who wishes to conquer heaven and earth must cultivate both sexual and mental energies and at length learn to channel the one into the other." While some sadhus have female companions, others, for reasons including the desire to avoid fatherhood, have male companions Danielou confirms that "relations between person same sex are . .. very widely practiced." Observing"this connection between homosexuality and spiritual life, and the sacred view of this kind of relationship, are well known in all religions," "Sex allows the pupil-teacher relationship to achieve fullness in which the flowering of the body leads to ennoblement of the soul."

see also

david white the alchemical body
david white, the kiss of the yogini
Sahajanath's Tantra Sadhana

website: O Grand Bucca, both Dark and Fair, divine androgyne, be in all heartsand on the tip of every tongue. For your time has come again as it does with the beginning of each moment! )http://www.geocities.com/cronnekdhu/Traditional_Cornish_Witchcraft.html