The Fire (by Ana Pinilla)

Notes on the symbolism of fire in some yogic texts and disciplines of the Tantric tradition of India and revealed.

Fire is a universal symbol. According to CG Jung, universal symbol is one in which there is an intrinsic relationship between the symbol and what it represents. That is, if we understand fire as power, knowledge, passion and grace, when used as a symbol, we express a concept characterized by the same elements that get in sensory experience, a psychic modality specific, as defined Jung.
 
The sacredness of fire is evident in almost all cosmological traditions of the East. For Mazdeist is the symbol that represents Aura Mazda, the supreme igneous substance, whereas the Buddhist tantric tradition of the fire element manifestation of all Buddhas is the consort of Buddha Amitabha (see The Five Buddha Families), Benzarahi, which allows the supreme knowledge. In the Hindu tradition revealed the fire is personified by the god Agni or first element created just after Brahman. That is why Hindu philosophy elaborates the cosmic relationship of self and Brahman through the fire and its symbolism. The sparks and fire, according to the Upanishads, are in the same ratio as the individual souls with Brahman. In this regard, the Katha Upanishad the god Shiva is also associated to the fire because, as he also hides components being: "The magnanimous man says, beaming, I give you one last favor. This fire will take your name. Thanks multiforme gift! ".

Burning, knowledge and glory

The Upanishad also gather that the god Agni has three connotations: the heat, the light coupled with the knowledge and glory, and the spirit. Agni has a hidden life and other states, is also present in the ground fire, celestial, cosmic, magic and ritual, in the heat, digestion and anger. Therefore, the Brahmins are careful in maintaining the perpetual fire in the temples and sacrificial role, as Agni is the intermediary for the gods to get the gifts. Thus the Upanishads say that every man carries within himself a flame that allows him to enter the divine world and allows constantly dying and being reborn.

In this analogy between the creator god, or primordial substance, and fire is interesting to note again the ideas that Jung described in his study of alchemy in which Mercury, the god of matter, not the chemical element, but a substance philosophical ground substance of the universe, "a water not wet hands. At the same time, Mercury was also a fire, "the natural light that carries the heavenly spirit," "hell fire hidden in the center of the earth" and also "the fire that burns in God's divine love." Following Jung, in "germinal vesicle" consciousness and life are still a unit, inextricably mixed "as the seed of fire in the furnace refining:" Within the germinal vesicle is the fire of the sovereign. It is where work has started all wise. "

All this analysis is concerned, ultimately, a kind of a process of Alchemy, of refinement and ennobling of speaking several spiritual teachers. In this regard, Siddhartha Gautama, the historical Buddha in his teachings contained in the Dhammapada (The Path of the doctrine), gives a good account of what it means to have achieved the status of nobility through ethical refinement. "That sage who knows his previous life, he perceives heaven and hell, which has reached the end of knowledge and has attained the Supreme Knowledge has completed its work and living a holy life, him I call it noble."

For its part, Advainta Vedanta philosophy of India also welcomes the analogy between fire and knowledge, holding that the individual soul consumed by fire of knowledge caused by the hearing, reflection and meditation, "to get rid of all impurities , alone shines like gold that glitters. " In this regard, the relationship between hearing (air) and form (fire) is discussed in a very interesting article by Rene Guenon, entitled "Namas-rupa", which tells how the Hindu religion in the individual soul is considered the result of the union of these two elements.

The practice of inner fire and the way of the diamond

Tantric discipline, according to major Hindu and Buddhist texts of this tradition, attaches vital importance to yogic practice of inner fire development to achieve high levels of consciousness necessary for the State of Mukhti or release. In the Darshana Upanishad Dattateya describes how in the middle of a large fire burning body "as bright as molten gold" and offers the following tips for achieving the mystical sound, associating with lighting, through the Army's internal fire: "Stand on atman, listen to what teachers teach, consider installing an ashram located in a nice place on top of a hill near a river ... and exercise in the positions, taking care to have the body erect and motionless and with the mouth closed. Introducing the inspired air on Channel going belly up, pondering the fire burning in the middle of the body, you will perceive in the sound (nada) perpetual, then blow air through Pingala channel .. Then do the same way by replacing Pingala; practices and at least three times a day and six runs every time .. It could help purify your nadis, your body will become bright, shining, because of inner fire, and clearly hear the mystical sound.

When referring to the meditation practice Dharana, Dattateya describes the five elements and their physical counterparts and corresponding deities. "In the space in the center of the body must keep outer space and, similarly, the outside air should be kept in the prana and the fire in the abdomen should also keep water in body fluids and soil in the earthy parts, that's Dharana.

In the Agama Sri Vijnana Bhairava Tantra, Tantrism vital text of Kashmir Shaivism, states that when the technique is practiced with Kumbaka pranayama (breathing exercises with dilated air retention), we get experience of Shakti (primordial energy or spiritual) shanti known as "amounting like sunshine from the root" and through the peace that emanates from this experience, it reveals the bhairava or consciousness:

"One should meditate on the inner space of the central nadi (sushumna) to, through the devi, get divine revelation. Whenever you meditate on the subtle fire on the front gives a stirring, followed by a dissolution and absorption in the cavity of the heart. The adept at hearing the sound anahata ininteruimpidamente achieved the status of Brahman. If, after meditating on the shakti is entering the space of the heart and meditating there without interruption, you get the release. (68) One should pull the mind to fire the center of the navel or air or heart center (Anahata) and so reach the state of grace. "
 
As for listening to that sound practice of the heart (Anahata) has done to achieve the supreme state, one can establish a curious connection with the use of drum damaru or bids or tantric rituals. Tantric Buddhist tradition for playing the absorption symbolizes damaru dakinis (female deities) in our body and external manifestation of inner dakini, the clear light, as a result of internal fire burning. This instrument is also played as a musical offering to the Buddhas in the bid offering Vajradaka fire, a purification ritual in which faults are transformed in the form of black sesame seeds offered to Vajradaka, located in the fire to extinction. Similarly, in the bidding of the Advaita tradition of India, conducting a practice very similar in which seeds are thrown into the fire for purification of the ego, an offering that addresses the god Shiva, fire dancer, who always is portrayed wearing a damaru in his right hand.

Taking up again the importance of Kumbaka practice in relation to the work of inner fire can also set this element's association with the desire in certain Tantric texts. In the "Hatha Yoga Pradipika" highlights how the sadhaka or tantric practitioner of such discipline must in their daily practice, perform this exercise by contracting your chest, allowing the breath to remain there as possible, while the base should be monitored throat ... "after the snake that sleeps in the Muladhara center set on fire awakened by the power of desire for this element.

The Hevajra Tantra essential work of Buddhism Tantricexplains that candali (prajna) or wisdom, burns in the belly: "She is able to burn the five Buddha, the land and all the other elements (ego), then this same center the moon or Bodhiçitta. " In this regard, and as to the importance of burning the five elements, "Pandro Dhuni" or the yogic technique of the five fires burning is an ancient practice performed by yogis in India, particularly the Naga sadhus or naked bhavas as repas (hermits) or followers of Milarepa in Tibet to show their nakedness the successful practice of inner fire. Alexandra David Neel, in his book Mystics and Magicians in Tibet "describes how diners are able to lead a simple cloth wrapped around the body in winter thanks to the technique of tummo (internal fire).

In the Kagyu Lineage of Tibetan Buddhist tantric practice of Yoga of Inner Heat or tummo (Tibetan term meaning "inner fire") is essential for those who wish to be free in one lifetime. The tummo refers to internal fire which is located in the center of the powerhouse or the navel chakra. For Evans tummo Wenz is the mental strength needed for the spiritual quest, the means for reaching the holy ascetic goal. He practices practicing exercises, breathing and strict sexual restraint. By studying the "Six Yogas of Naropa" of Naropa in the book "Tibetan Yoga and Secret Doctrines", Evans Wentz examines the doctrine of psychic heat and commented: "Entering the central canal toward the navel region from the perineum The life force surfing the four central and psychic centers becomes the fiery force of the wisdom of psychic heat. Some authors relate the great goal of the Earth tummo outer Pure Dakini is achieved by completing certain practices or sadhana as Vajrayogini. Chodrak Khenpo explains in "The Life of Naropa," this state "would be like reaching the world of pure appearances. In the Lotus Sutra "Ornament for Clear Realization", explains that when the minds of sentient beings are completely purify "their environments will become a pure land of Buddha." I include this anecdote in this regard. "Once, someone asked how Milarepa was the Pure Land in which he had attained enlightenment, and he said, pointing to his cave. The one who asked the question could only see a cold, empty cave, but for Milarepa was a pure land ... Since we are ordinary beings and ordinary appearance, we are unable to experience even a single object as if it were quite pure and perfect ... " .

At this point I dare make the following association of the Pure Land thus A. Coomaraswamy called the "city of Brahma", inhabited by those who have made the way the diamond - Purusha, cosmos or expression that is present in every human heart and the heart of every culture.

The death of the ego and the secret

In "The Life of Naropa" Chodrak Khenpo explains that once Tilopa (cashmiri pandita Naropa teacher) went to the fire and said "If I had a student who was devout relamente jump into the fire" and immediately Naropa boldness and was burned, which caused him terrible suffering. Tilopa came towards him and asked "that happens to you now?" What Naropa replied, "My body has been burnt and my mind is suffering." Tilopa replied: "Well, burn the ego-clinging is very good and I have practiced and instructions to the fairness of the elements", then the skin of his beloved disciple was cured completely and the fire was gone. Etas instructions are listed under the name of "The Six Yogas of Naropa. As underscored Evans-Wentz in his aforementioned "Tibetan Yoga and Secret Doctrines" such practices are secret and require careful preparation prior to engaging in it. In this regard, the monastery Khampagarl, Kagyiu Drukpa tradition in the town of Tashijong, Losal Khenpo (Master of the Institute of Tibetan Studies in a monastery) warned me to successfully perform this yoga teacher is first necessary to be done and second rigorous retired, this is the reason that not only taught in secret and under the retirement of at least three years (ideally three years, three months and three days). To give some indication of the sense of this practice, Khenpo Losal explained to me that the principle of the sadhana to enlightenment we need to purify the three poisons, which are ignorance, anger and desire. As regards the poison of desire, tummo practice is essential because the burning desire all the fire of wisdom so getting to the end of such practices remains only the purity of mind, the pure land of dakinis . The great practitioner of Mahamudra, Tilopa, gave these instructions on the banks of the Ganges at Naropa, "after he had passed twelve rounds. This text also bears the name "Mahamudra in twenty-eight verses."

Regarding the concept of secrecy in these yogic disciplines of inner fire, the Katha Upanishad so also warns: "You are educated, O Death fire that leads to heaven, show me to me that I have faith. The part of the celestial world of undeath. This is what I choose as a second please. I'll show you, stay tuned! Naciketas Oh, I know the fire that leads to heaven. Means to an infinite world and foundation (this world), but know that this fire is deposited in secret ".
In the practice of Kundalini Yoga and Hatha Yoga psychic counterpart, the purpose of such discipline is to develop and purify the six centers in the etheric spine, so that the kundalini fire is released from the seventh center. That is, it's about learning to consciously control the breath, the activities of the energy centers or chakras, kundalini fire and deposited at the base of the spine. In the book Kundalini Tantra, Swami Satyananada manipura stresses that the center (belly button) lies the fiery energy is directly related to the Ajna or third eye center (sixth center). Therefore, yoga practice or display of fire Tratak helps awaken this center and thus to enlightenment. Shadakas the eyes of many great practitioners of Tantra and not in vain, are characterized by burn like fire.

Finally, as to the symbolism of fire and its association with the lotus of the navel, in Sanskrit udiyana, or powerhouse of the body, I write these reflections. Evans Wentz explains how the doctrines of 6 Yoga is a "Shakti Tantra" inspired by Lawapa of Urgyen (a country which in Tibetan means navel and that today is in the Swat Valley - Pakistan), which later would be taken to India by Guru Rimpoche or Padma Sambhava (literally born of the lotus in Sanskrit), also Urgyen or Udiyana. For some scholars Udiyana is not only the center of the energy body but also the etheric geographic center of the earth. Moreover, it would be the entrance to the mythical kingdom of Shambhala, from which the Kalachakra tantric teaching. The work of cleaning the center of the navel or Manipura (jewel in Sanskrit) is the way of diamond or Vajrayana. The mantra om mani padme um literally means the shining jewel in the lotus.

What is given away mysterious secret jewel in the Kalachakra teachings? According to Nicolas Roerich points, reveals scientifically based, how humanity can use the natural forces of the elements. "When they tell you that the shortest route is through Shambhala, through Kalachakra means that the achievement is not an impossible ideal, but something that can be achieved through a sincere aspiration and labored here in this land and to the incarnation. This is the Teaching of Shambhala. ".

Ana Pinilla
Sociologist and journalist specializing in Indian culture