In the rich lore and stories from the mythology of Indian spiritual tradition there is one that I have been contemplating as an acharya (teacher) of Neelakantha Meditation. It is the story of the wandering mendicant who was the sage Durvasa, an embodied form of highest Consciousness or Shiva. This story is very pertinent to our meditation practice.
Indra, the King of Svarga, once while out riding on his 3-headed elephant Airavata, came across Sage Durvasa who offered him a special garland given to him by a nymph. This garland appeared as a necklace of flowers, but was actually a jeweled necklace of mystical potency and priceless value. Indra accepted the gift at first, but then tossed it carelessly onto the trunk of the elephant in order to demonstrate that he was not an egoistic deva. Of course the elephant represented Indra’s ego. The flowers of the necklace had a scent that attracted some bees. Annoyed by the bees Airavata threw the garland down and stomped it into the ground. This enraged the sage as the garland was a dwelling of Śrī (goddess of all goodness and fortune) and was to be treated as a prasada or religious offering. Durvasa cursed Indra and all devas to be bereft of all strength, energy, and fortune.
[Some of you may recognize that this episode is the opening that sets the stage for “The churning of the ocean of milk” myth (Samudra Manthan) that is a metaphor for our meditation practice and source of the name Neelakantha (Blue Throat).]
The Jeweled Necklace represents the gift of our meditation practice for indeed it is the treasure of a lifetime. How can it be that some who have received this true liberating practice would not recognize its value and cast it aside, abandoning it? Yet this sometimes happens. They do not recognize its value because they do not understand how it actually works. And this is in two ways or domains of action.
First, the effortless and innocent practice of our meditation provides connection to, and opens us to the direct experiential knowledge of the transcendent nature of our own true Self: That great Light of Consciousness, the deepest truest Source is our identity, and not the temporary and limited body-mind and personality. That is the great “I AM” which is utterly free and Whole and one with all life everywhere. This liberating knowledge comes in degrees unfolding over time. Or it may come all at once one day. This happens. But it certainly does come, through deep and regular meditation that is our Neelakantha practice. And through it, this life is transformed and liberated (set free) by the lived connection and knowledge of one’s own highest Source-Self.
The second way that our meditation “works” is through the domain of our embodied human apparatus or nature. It is the up-leveled flow of the very life-breath-force, the pure energy (Śakti) or Grace that sustains us. Every time we go inward in meditation, even to the tiniest degree for the briefest moment, it flows very strongly into and through us. Like a river that is in flood it streams into every layer of our being, our person. From the most subtle levels of the deep mind, to our operating or thinking mind, our emotions, our breath and through our physical body it flows. And this river of goodness we call Soma systematically removes any limitations, errors, imperfections, patterns and traces due to our past experiences, the residues of stresses and traumas. Thus it aligns and refines our human body-mind apparatus so that, as unique humans, we can become transparent to the transcendent.
So do not ever cast aside the jeweled necklace of your Neelakantha initiatory meditation practice. Persist! Make it your companion and support for life.
You may invite others that you may encounter in life and recognize they are also seeking fulfillment and Wholeness in their own lives. Those whose hearts have been touched by Grace perhaps, who are no longer satisfied with the pursuits at the surface of life. Invite those ones to connect with an acharya to receive this practice for themselves. In this way you are offering them the jeweled necklace, the treasure practice of Neelakantha Meditaiton for themselves. Once learned, it is their own practice for life.
With kind regards,
Paul Van Camp MD, Acharya