When practitioners set foot on a spiritual path, we want to bring our whole selves—our ethics and values, our commitments to social and environmental justice, and our embodied interbeing with all animal and plant species, water-bodies and air-bodies, soil and rock.
Rivers are sacred because they carry you toward the source, yet contain the source— water—themselves. They are a metaphor for life. They describe the journey from birth to death. They wash away everything that has been, making new ground for growth.
Daniel Simpson teaches yoga philosophy at the Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies, on teacher trainings and online.
Phil is the award-winning author of “American Veda.”
Alex is a yoga teacher and provocateur.
Todd is a Shaiva-Tantra yoga teacher.
Two short conversations on bhakti with yoga teacher Mary and Shakta-tantra teacher Kavitha Chinnaiyan
Shambhavi is a “sannyasi householder” and Tantrik teacher.
Two short conversations on bhakti with kirtan artist Nina Rao and yoga philosopher Hari-kirtana das.
Two short conversations with spiritual teachers Miles Neale and Isa Gucciardi.
Jagar comes from the Sanskrit root, jāgṛ, which means “to go on burning, to be awake, to be watchful and to awaken.” It refers to the first state of consciousness described in the Māṇḍukya Upaniṣad—waking (jāgrat). It’s distinguished from the two other states of the conscious mind—dreaming and deep sleep—by the quality of consciousness experienced.
Māyā: the very name conveys a sense of mystery. Cognate with the English word magic, māyā does, indeed, refer to something magical. Like magic, māyā involves the diversion of our attention from the real to the unreal, or from reality to the appearance of reality.
Illusory experience isn’t inherently problematic. The question is whether or not we can access the part of us that has some awareness of entering into or experiencing illusion. In other words, is there a part that can offer needed reality checks, helping us stay curious about an illusory experience without conviction of its veracity?
Māyā simultaneously displays the infinite attributes of the divine for our benefit while also veiling the fullness of the divine from our sight. So it is also with our own simulations, which we can develop as models of being that can help us navigate in and beyond māyā or that we can take as reality itself, thereby closing ourselves off to our own divine depths.
My understanding of illusion is that we are its source. It is our own ignorance, interacting with the reality of existence, that gives rise to illusion.
Dreams, the act of dreaming, and the elusive identities of the dreamer play a central role in the philosophy of the Yogavāsiṣṭha. Reality in this text is always virtual; nothing has fixity. The only constant is change, tempered and formed according to the principles of karma.