The teachings of the Samaya Srividya Tradition and Himalayan Lineage as taught by Swami Rama are explained.
The teachings are handed down from Master to student, who then in turn becomes a teacher. Our lineage is known as the Himalayan lineage and is said to be older than 6000 years. The Himalayan Lineage is an unbroken lineage dating back to legendary teachers such as the great sages Dattatreya and Vasishtha and historical masters such as Adi Shankara and Swami Rama.
The Himalayan Lineage is one in a family of lineages that share similar qualities and whose lineages also trace back to these legendary sages. This family of lineages together is called Sampradaya. Sampradaya translates as tradition. Since our tradition is the custodian of the teachings of Samaya Srividya, it is the Samaya Srividya Tradition.
Samaya means “One with the Divine Mother”. Srividya means auspicious wisdom. Samaya Srividya is a privileged option for those who have reached an advanced stage in the cycle of death and rebirth and seek to end this cycle and attain enlightenment in this lifetime.
There are three stages of initiation given according to the Himalayan Lineage of the Samaya Srividya Tradition.
- Mantra, breath awareness and meditation
- Inner worship of Srividya and Bindu vedhan or piercing the pearl of wisdom
- Shaktipata and leading the force of kundalini to the thousand petalled lotus called Sahasrara chakra.
The Teachings of the Himalayan Lineage
The teachings of our lineage are based on the 3 streams of:
- Samaya Srividya Tantra
In the Himalayan Lineage of Samaya Srividya, Yoga as explained by Patanjali, is a preliminary step. Samkhya philosophy forms the basis of the first stream of our lineage and tradition.
Yoga focuses on discriminating between consciousness and matter at all levels. This stage of practice is dualistic.
In our tradition and lineage, theory and practice must never be divorced from one another. Yoga provides a step by step approach to the highest goal of spiritual liberation. Yoga, in its pure and pristine form, is a method of unlearning behavioural and thinking patterns. It presupposes spiritual insights or mystical experiences.
The emphasis is not on mere information or knowledge but wisdom. The focus in not on intellectual gymnastics but intuition. Yoga, practiced the traditional way, has nothing in common with the modern schools of yoga that are merely forms of gymnastics and acrobatics. It also has little to do with institutes of therapy or new age esotericism.
The second stream of Advaita is expressed in the Upanishads. The Upanishads are estimated to have been written in the period from the fifth to tenth centuries BCE, although the principles had been taught orally for a very long period prior to that; some say since around 6000 BCE.
The prefix “A” means “non”, the word “dvaita” means “two”. Thus the word Advaita means “not two”. Advaita is a non-dualistic philosophy of life. This non-dualistic approach to life, goes beyond all dualities such as joy and sorrow, birth and death, young and old, embracing all of life as the One Divinity. It removes all separation between Knower and Known, between God and Devotee, between the Beloved and the Lover.
This mystical approach is far from intellectual and seeks to know the Atman, the center of individual consciousness, which is ultimately found to be qualitatively the same essence as Brahman, the universal consciousness or the Absolute One all pervading Reality.
Samaya Srividya Tantra
There are three forms of Tantra, of which Samaya is a purely internal form, whose sole goal is spiritual liberation or enlightenment. It deals with the higher energy centres, up to the energy centre at the top of the head, the crown chakra. The lineage of the Himalayan masters, emphasizes this higher Tantra Yoga.
The third stream of Samaya Srividya Tantra deals with the energy systems of our being, going directly to the heart of consciousness. It emphasises the creative aspect of consciousness called shakti and following that creative aspect back to it’s source.
Shakti is the Mother principle and Shiva the Father principle. Shiva the Father principle is the centre of consciousness and Shakti, the Mother principle is the creative aspect or the world that manifests out of the centre of consciousness and returns eventually to its source.
The Paths of the Himalayan Lineage
Raja Yoga, or the Royal path of Yoga, encompasses the other paths. It is also known as Ashtanga Yoga, referring to the Eight Limbs of Yoga described in the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. Ashta means eight; Anga means limbs. It is important to note that the phrase Ashtanga Yoga has recently become known in the west as a system of physical postures, this is not consistent with the original meaning of the term.
In Yoga the aspirant must:
- Develop a healthy lifestyle
- Gain insights in to the essential yogic concepts of non-harming, truthfulness, non-stealing, purity, contentment, self-study and surrender
- Learn to cultivate a regular time for meditation
- Develop a steady meditation posture
- Develop a serene breath
- Cultivate Sankalpa shakti or the power of the determination
- Learn to let go of distracting thoughts
- Learn how to reduce the colorings (kleshas) of ignorance, ego, attachment, aversions and fear.
- Develop the quality of introspection
- Cultivate a razor-sharp discrimination
- Systematically move inward in a process of attention, meditation and deep absorption
- Seek to know mind and matter as separate from Pure Consciousness.
While the modern approach to Advaita is increasingly intellectual, the Himalayan Lineage of the Samaya Srividya Tradition emphasizes the need for a practical approach. It does so by providing contemplative means of self enquiry and exploration. This contemplative meditation suggested by the Himalayan sages complements the meditation of the Yoga Sutras.
Vedantic Meditation or the practical approach to Advaita is generally called Self Enquiry or Atma Vichara. These practices are contemplative and generally complement the dualistic practices of Yoga.
In Advaita the aspirant must:
- Learn to witness the four functions of mind: manas, the coordinator of actions and sensation; chitta, the powerhouse of memories, emotions and desires; ahamkara, the false identities; buddhi, which is the higher faculty of knowing, deciding, judging, and discriminating.
- Explore in contemplative meditation the three levels of reality: waking, dreaming, deep sleep; conscious, unconscious, subconscious; gross, subtle, causal.
- Contemplate on the center of consciousness, seeking to experientially go into the heart of the question, “Who am I?” using the traditional practice called Atma Vichara
- Contemplate step by step on the Mahavakyas, the great sayings of the Upanishads
Samaya Srividya Tantra
Samaya Srividya is the path of mastery. The aspirant is no ordinary seeker but one who has “adhikar”. Adhikar literally means “having the right”. The seeker must have the necessary qualifications or prerequisites to be initiated in to the subtle and sublime secrets of Samaya Srividya. The three qualities are necessary for this path:
- Power of Discrimination
- Ethical standards and values
- Desire to end the cycle of life and death
The seeker who possesses the above qualities is called an adhikari. In our Lineage we initiate all adhikaris irrespective of their gender, religious background, race and socio-economic status.
Under the guidance of and with the support of the Guru, Lineage and Tradition, the adhikari will learn:
- To master the internal energies of the chakras
- To balance the two sides of the subtle body, ida and pingala, sun and moon, or the Ha and Tha as these dual aspects are known
- To open the central stream of energy, sushumna, the subtle counterpart of the physical spine, allowing the latent energy to awaken, flowing upward in this channel, so as to reach the point from which it originally emerged.
- Use mantra to dive in to the deepest levels of the unconscious mind and invite the hidden to come forward
- To master the process of raising the kundalini and bringing it back to its resting place
- Deep reflection and meditation on Tripura, the one who lives in the three cities (tri=three; pura=city) of conscious, unconscious, subconscious and waking, dreaming and sleeping
- To “see” that mind and matter are grosser form of manifestation that emerge from the pure consciousness.
- To know the pre-existing union of Shiva and Shakti, which are the latent and active aspects of manifestation, sometimes called masculine principle and feminine principle.
Texts of the Himalayan Lineage
Yoga Sutras of Patanjali
Yoga, as described by the great sage Patanjali, is a foundational practice, and is codified (arranged or systematized) in the Yoga Sutras. The word codified is commonly used because the Yoga science was recorded by Patanjali over 2000 years ago, although the science itself was not new, having been known for thousands of years before that time. Patanjali codified Yoga into 196 sutras (literally threads) outlining the path of Yoga.
Of particular importance is the introspection of the waking, dreaming, and deep sleep levels of consciousness, which have as their counterparts the gross, subtle, and causal planes of reality. It means examining not only the conscious, but also the unconscious and subconscious levels of mind, so that these can ultimately be transcended. These levels are summarized in the Mandukya Upanishad, a practical Vedantic text, which deals with the 4 layers of the Om mantra.
The Yoga Vasishtha is a part of the great epic Ramayana. It is a dialogue between the Sage Vasishtha and Prince Rama. The Prince, who is an adhikari asks the sage about the nature of the world, the meaning of life and the most fundamental question, “Who am I?” The Yoga Vasishtha is a truly monistic text, uncompromising in its approach to Advaita.
This is a unique tantric text. While most spiritual texts exalt the Divine in its masculine form, this text refers to the Divine as Her. It is unconventional for its teachers are a princess, a woman hermit and the goddess Sri Tripura Sundari.
It is unrelenting in its approach and reveals the Highest as nothing other than Pure Consciousness.
Saundarya Lahari means “Waves of Bliss and Beauty”. Those looking for esoteric explanations on chakras and kundalini will be disappointed. Saundarya Lahiri is a collection of mystical verses in praise of the Divine Mother, She who represents all levels of reality.