the passions


meditating in the temple of desire
with the radiance sutras, a new version of the vijnana bhairava tantra
by dr Lorin Roche

I am in the middle of a fight with my girlfriend. Electricity is humming and crackling in the air This is my first time living with a woman; I am 19, and bewildered. At this moment, my Tai Chi teacher strolls in and says, “You don’t know what that fight was about, do you?” “Not a clue,” I said. “She just wants space, man,” Gary said. “She’s gotten too close, too intimate, and this is scary, so she is picking a fight as an excuse to take some distance. She wants to feel herself as a separate being. Women give you everything. They let you into their bodies. Sometimes they lose themselves in love. You have to let them run wild with their emotions, explore and find their way to feel their power.” I stopped in my tracks in wonder. All of a sudden everything was funny. I realized Joyce was just moving energy, doing emotional asana. We had been practicing Lust and now she was exercising a little Wrath.

In the Vijnana Bhairava Tantra, one of the yoga practices is:

When possessed by lust, anger, greed,
Arrogance, jealousy, envy —
STOP!

Enter the elemental motion of emotion
Fire burning, illuminating,
Water gushing, cleansing,
Air inspiring, soothing,
Earth supporting, holding,
Space expanding, embracing.

Go deeper still and rest in essence,
Awake to infinite spiritual energy
Surging into form.


कामक्रोधलोभमोहमदमात्सर्यगोचरे।
बुद्धिं निस्तिमितां कृत्वा तत्तत्त्वमवशिष्यते॥ १०१॥

kāmakrodhalobhamohamadamātsaryagocare |
buddhiṁ nistimitāṁ kṛtvā tattattvamavaśiṣyate || 101 ||


This sutra sings of desire in all its forms — and what happens when there are obstacles to the fulfillment of desire. In 32 syllables it lays down a driving beat taking us on a journey from wildness to wild serenity. Notice how Sanskrit words tend to have a rich spectrum of meanings.

Kama - desire, longing, pleasure, enjoyment. Love, especially sexual love or sensuality. The God of Love. A stake in gambling. A kind of temple.
Krodha - anger, wrath, passion, a name of the mystic syllable hum or hrum (hrūṃ,) the name of a sruti in music.
Lobha - perplexity, confusion. Impatience, greed.
Moha - loss of consciousness, bewilderment, distraction, infatuation, delusion, error, folly. A magical art employed to bewilder an enemy. Wonder, amazement.
Mada - hilarity, rapture, excitement, inspiration, intoxication.
Matsarya - envy, jealousy.
Gochara - a range or pasture ground for cattle. The range of the organs of sense, anything perceptible by the senses.
Buddhi - the power of forming and retaining conceptions, intelligence, reason, . . . ready wit, an opinion, view, conjecture, meditation on, intention. From budh - to wake, wake up, be awake; To recover consciousness (after a swoon). To observe, heed, attend to. To perceive, notice, learn, understand, become or be aware of or acquainted with.
Nistimitam - motionless, without agitation.
Kritva - having done this.
Tat tattvam - that tattva, that essence, that truth, principle. Tattva - true or real state, reality, element or elementary property, essence of substance of anything.
Avasis - to be left as a remnant, remain.

The text gives us the names of six passions: lust, anger, greed, infatuation, intoxication, envy, and each one has many nuances. Kama is not just sex, it is all forms of desire, love, and sensuality. When any of these come into the range of your senses, right there as the energies begin to rise, wake up! Here is a doorway into the motionless mind. When you witness from quiet mind, emotions are a light show. A fireworks display.

In the morning, after pranayama and asana, take a moment to actively welcome in advance all the passions that may rise during the day. In your mind, lay down an asana mat for the emotions and intend to use them as tools of awakening. If you welcome all human emotions in advance you will be ready to learn from them as part of the yoga of everyday life.

At the end of the day, do a Passion Scan. Lie down and notice any residual sensations and emotions anywhere in your body. You might start with your hands and arms. Did you want to slap or punch anyone today? Then check in with your heart. Were your feelings hurt by anything, do you miss anyone? Simply notice any leftover sensations that need tending. Be tender toward yourself.

We each have to balance the passions in our own way. When we do it right, our relationships thrive and our internal organs flow with health. Oddly enough, it is possible to have too much serenity. Some meditators get too good at stilling the passions – they get overly attached to the “undisturbed state” and become dull and lifeless, and unavailable for love. In this practice, you don’t act out, nor do you suppress — you let each surge of passion propel you into a psychedelic state in which you are perceiving the magic of prana at play, shaping itself into the energies of desire.


Further study:

Check out this list of
emotional experience.

and a list of
emotions.



Brief Glossary: 101 words by my count

Kama - desire, longing, pleasure, enjoyment. Love, especially sexual love or sensuality. The God of Love. A stake in gambling. A kind of temple.
Krodha - anger, a name of the mystic syllable hum or hrum.
Lobha - perplexity, confusion, impatience, greed.
Moha - loss of consciousness, bewilderment, distraction, infatuation, delusion. Wonder, amazement.
Mada - hilarity, rapture, excitement, inspiration, intoxication.
Matsarya - envy, jealousy.
Gochara - The range of the organs of sense.  
Buddhi - the power of forming and retaining conceptions. Intelligence. Ready wit.
Nistimitam - motionless.
Kritva - having done this.
Tattva - true or real state, reality, essence of substance of anything.
Avasis - to be left as a remnant.

Transliteration

kāmakrodhalobhamohamadamātsaryagocare |
buddhiṁ nistimitāṁ kṛtvā tattattvamavaśiṣyate || 101 ||



Devanagari text:

कामक्रोधलोभमोहमदमात्सर्यगोचरे।
बुद्धिं निस्तिमितां कृत्वा तत्तत्त्वमवशिष्यते॥ १०१॥


Devanagari as an image

78 Devanagari v 101