The post-equinox mood of 2009 offers an exceptional opportunity to engage one of the rarest devatas of the Shakti Cluster, Visvamata, called "The Variegated Mother." She belongs to the pentagram star around VV, and so acquires the title of Diamond Sky Dakini in Gaian Tantra. But according to the received tradition of Tibetan Buddhism Visvamata is a "Female Buddha". Her status is complicated, however, because she figures as a dakini consort in the ritual astrological system called "The Wheel of Time."
In the Kalachakra system, Visvamata engages in consort yoga with her male counterpart, pictured thus:
Kalachakra, the male devata, is blue, and Kalichakra (as Visvamata is called) is golden. The thangka abounds with specific iconographic detail, but to my eyes most of these Tibetan tableaux look tiresomely similar. Flailing arms and stock postures, flame haloes or cloud haloes, ritual implements, and so on... Tibetan and Indian religious art may be the sources of visual imagery of the Shakti Cluster but I, for one, dearly wish that the phenomenon would outstrip its sources.
My own impression of the forces at play in the Shakti Cluster is not-figurative or iconic but far more turbulent and chaotic, like this: The Kalachakra system of Tibetan Buddhism is widely known due to huge public ceremonies led by the Dalai Lama. Without delving into the intricacies of that system, I will try to extract Visvamata from the received material and present her in a new profile specific to the role of a Gaian dakini overseeing a lunar cycle.
A lunar month overseen by Visvamata is relatively rare, perhaps occuring every five to eight years. (I haven't looked back in the ephemeris for a more accurate estimate) To approach this devata, we need first to understand the special astronomical conditions that apply to her shift.
Lunar shaktis are read from observation of the real-sky zodiac of thirteen irregular constellations. The stellar patterns of the eclitic (ECL: path of earth, sun and moon) are irregular in shape and extent, not an even 30 degrees for each one. In the total zodiacal array, four constellations span an average of 20 degrees of extent on the ecliptic. These four diminutive star patterns are (using their story-book names to distinguish them from the even, 30-degree astrological signs) RAM, CRAB, SCALES, GOATFISH, The boundaries are not absolute. The GOATFISH, for instance, can be visualized to extend to 22 or 24 degrees. Compare this to the BULL with an extent of 37 degrees, or the VIRGIN, 45 degrees in extent. In most cases, boundaries between constellations are not clear and definite but ove the years I have worked out reliable estimates. I conclude that four constellations extend to 24 degrees or less on the ecliptic rim.Interestingly, these four are situated at right angles to each other.
NOTE: These four diminutive constellations of the stellar zodiac are represented in the starless format of conventional astrology by the four Cardinal Signs: Aries, Cancer, Libra, Capricorn. We may disregard this apparent correlation because the framework of sun-sign astrology is distracting to any attempt to learn about the observable patterns of the night sky. Popular, sun-sign astrology uses an abstract, non-observable format. See the relevant chapters under Sky Lore.
The problem with determining the shift of Visavmata is due to the narrowness of the constellation of the Balance or Scales, her locale. The moon moves about 13 degrees a day, so in two days, 48 hours, it can transit this constellation in its entirely. But in the first two days of a lunar cycle, it may be impossible to observe the sunset crescent. Strictly speaking, we identify the devata who comes on shift from this act of observation, not theoretically or schematically.
October 2009 typifies an ambiguous situation for determination of the new shift. On sunday the 18th the new moon (non-observable) occurred in ECL 205: in the right hand of the Virgin, conjunct the star Spica. This is in the lower torso of the star pattern of the VIRGIN (not Virgo, the starless astrological sign). At that exact moment, the moon approaching the Scales. The Virgin-Scales border lies at ECL 218. So, in one day, on October 19 at sunset, the moon would just have shifted into the Scales, but at that moment the crescent would be too thin (too close to the sun) to be visible. On the following day, October 20, the moon would be in ECL 223. it would then be observable as a slender crescent at the fulcrum of the Scales. That would ideally be the first day of observability. On the next day, October 21, it would be just three degrees (about six hours) from the boundary of the Scorpion, the next constellation. Under these conditions, there is an exceptionally small margin to time to observe the crescent when it actually stands in the Balance or Scales.
It happens that the sunset crescent in the Scaleswill only be observable every few years, not on a regular basis, every year. The shift of Visvamata does not occur annually but, as far as I can tell, every five to eight years. Otherwise the shift goes directly from Shodashi (VIRGIN) to Kamala (SCORPION) or Parnarshavari (SNAKETAMER).
This year, I could not observe the sunset crescent in the Scales from Andalucia due to cloudy conditions. Nevertheless, I determined that Visvamata was coming on shift on October 19. Although I did not have visual confirmation of her shift, the tone and topic of the transmission, as I detected those elements, indicated that this was indeed her shift, and not that of Kamala or Parnarshvari.
Anticipating the new shift, I did not know what to make of Visvamata.. References to this devata in Tibetan sources are not particularly helpful. As noted above, she is the consort of the deity called Kalachakra, "Wheel of Time." Thus she figures in the complex Kalachakra system of astrology, geomancy, and divination dating from the 10th Century CE. I have always been put off by the ritual and iconographic complexities of this system, which I disregard in my approach to Visvamata. Nevertheless, here is a choice morsel: In Female Buddhas Greg Mullin gives some information not found elsewhere. He says that Visvamata is a "Female Buddha," indicating a high status, beyond the dakini level. Her title, "The Variegated Mother," is unexplained, but she is said to embody
the wisdom of tong-zuk, or "empty form," a term referring to the Tantric operation that allows the practitioner to dissolve the atomic structure of the physical body altogether. By means of the gon-zuk application the Kalachakra practitioner can go beyond the simple rainbow body yogas of the ordinary Highest Yoga Tantras and transform the body into an utter vacuity that only appears as present due to a projected mental image, somewhat like a hologram... The Variegated Mother Visvamata symbolizes this ability.
Tong-zuk? Sounds like something you order for breakfast at a Chinese restaurant. Dissolving the atomic structure of the physical body altogether? This practice is so arcane even John Lash doesn't know about it! It takes you beyond the simple rainbow body yogas of the ordinary Highest Yoga Tantras, does it? Lordee, bless my yak-fur booties. There I was peddling along in a 45 model sprul-ku, my humble transformation vehicle, thinking I was pretty deep into the rainbow glories, or at least not doing too bad for a country boy from Maine with no lamaist training, and now I am informed that the ordinary Highest Yoga Tantras are way behind the wonders of tong-zuk. Well, that really zuks.
I wonder if tong-zuk may be just more Tibetan hype, the mystical make-believe of yogic fantasies to lure the innocent and affluent. I am inclined to blow this notion off as naive and preposterous, although I am certain that the promise of a virtual reality body will appeal hugely to some people. Especially those whose sexual life consists solely of downloading porn.
When I am unable to determine the devata on shift by direct observation of the moon, I attune to the tone and topic of the new transmission. In the interval of October 19 - November 16, I knew I would be transceiving either Visvamata (SCALES) or Kamala (SCORPION). Iwas acquainted with the signature frequency of the latter devata from last year, so I knew I could expect that the clairaudient signal of Visvamata would be different, new and distinct.
And indeed it was. In the fourth day of the shift I got this syntax:
No thought, no thing: supreme instruction of the Scales. And that is such.
I was totally stunned. This message was definitely not on the Kamala frequency as I knew it from transception last year. This language was vivid, distinct, cast in a new idiom, using a tonality I had not picked up before. At the moment this language flashed across my mind, I had the intuition: This is Visvamata signing on. This is her inceptive signal, her "call sign." But unlike other dakini transmissions that would then be continuous through the entire lunar month, the new signal began and ended with that single terse telegraphic proposition.
Reflecting on this unusual situation, I recalled what I had read about the sandhya-bhasa, "twilight language" or "intentional language" of the dakinis. According to Nyingma terton whose initials like mine are JL, when they wish to terminate a transmission the dakinis say, "Symbols dissolved!" In my experience of moniroting clairaudient channels, dakini transmission is intensely concentrated. It presents a distillation in precise syntax of the possible realizaions of a vast range of conceptual understanding. It does not run on endlessly like the unchecked bather of channelling. It is curt and incursive, not prolix and discursive. And when a dakini wishes to terminate transmission, she lets you know. In a signal comparable to "Symbols dissolved!", the transmitting devata of the Shakti Cluster will terminate with the phrase "And that is such."
I was startled by the brevity of Visvamata's transmission, but also by her distinctive use of the signal for syntax closure: "And that is such." As I understand it, this phrase carries a definite command, even something like a warning: Cease thinking about what you have received, hold it in silent mind, there is nothing in your thinking that can interpret or elaborate this message, not do you need to do so.
I was stunned by the Zen-like delivery of Visvamata's inceptive transmission. As far as possible I kept my mind in an arrested state, immersed in non-conceptual attention without pondering on that cogent proposition: No thought, no thing: supreme instruction of the Scales. I advise each of you to do the same, to savor it mentally without dissecting it or attempting to interpret it.
After that initial signal, I still did not know what to expect. But I stayed attuned to the channel on which I received it, and I awaited further instruction.
It came in the most remarkable manner. When it resumed, the tone and idiom of Visvamata was surprizingly casual. Perhaps it is characteristic of a Female Buddha (whatever that is!), this easy-chair style of communication. Her frequency was soft and fluent, like the sound of a brook running over smooth stones between two wide, mossy banks. The signal was almost muted, but upon close attention, I took this impression to indicate a style of intimacy unlike anything I had previously encountered with the Mahavidyas or the Diamond Sky Dakinis of the Shakti Cluster. From the outset, Visvamata assured that she was always on call and would discourse on length on anything relevant to her domain. Her tone was soothing, relaxed and relaxing, She inspired confidence.
As just noted, it is not the style of dakini instruction to be prolix, gushing endlessly, producing a massive rush of material, that proliferates into volumes, as so often occurs in channelling. Nevertheless, Visvamata informed me that her transmission is somethat discursive. It unfolds over time in a special manner because her style of instruction requires reflection and assimilation. She patiently explained to me that she communicates like a tour guide who walks you slowly through a site or a museum, commenting in detail on what comes up along the way. Her transmission is not cogent or brutally incisive, as I had become accustomed to expect with the other devatas. Visvamata needs to take time and show us what she teaches in the unfolding of events and relationships, concurrently as those events transpire and those relationships shift right before our eyes.
Visvamata instructed me that concurrence as the signature of her unique style of teaching, unlike the brutal samurai-blade delivery of the other dakinis.
I take it that such a style characterizes Visvamata as a "Female Buddha" who exercises extraordinary patience with those she instructs, and accordingly, adapts her teachings to their limitations. In concurrence—namely, her unique talent of reflecting insights against the shifting pattern of events and relationships—she is "variegated," skilled in versatility. I am tempted to call her the Dakini of Fractal Modes. Fractality is similarity of form on different scales. The modalities of Visvamata's Buddha Wisdom come to mind easily and accessibly because she adapts her instruction fluidically to the scale of our experience, large and small. She will teach you a universal truth respective to your experience in specific terms, in the scale of your understanding at any particular moment, relative to any transient situation. How sophisticated is that.
So far, so good. About a week into the shift, I had established a comfortable attitude of reception toward this hitherto unknown tutelary deity. Then, out of the blue, came another Zen-like bolt of instruction:
Reciprocity happens not in return, but in turn.
This proposition did not include the closure phrase, "And that is such," so I found it appropriate to reflect on the operative language, expand and interpret it. Reflecting in the framework of the SCALES, I formulated a question about reciprocity. I had been wondering for some time about the apparent lack of reciprocity in my life, whereas it seemed to come readily to others who didn't give a toss about it. I was quite baffled about this issue for a couple of months, going back to summer... Now, coming into the Visvamata shift, signaled by the sunset crescent in the SCALES (balance, reciprocity), I wondered if I might acquire some new insight.
In Visvamata's syntax I saw the clarification of what I already knew: in relationships where true generosity comes into play, one does not seek to have one's action paid back or compensated. But nevertheless, one looks for what the other person will do "in turn," in their own way, spontaneously, not out of obligation to pay back or act "in return." I would describe my attitude in this regard as one of curiosity rather than expectation: I am curious about what people will give of themselves and what they have or know or feel, purely for the pleasure of giving and not out of a requirement to return an act or a gift. Visvamata'a formula was a cogent definition of what I was looking for the actions of others toward me.
In reality, little comes to me "in turn" from anyone. My generosity (for what it's worth) can be modest or extravagant, but in either case it is exercised without expectation to be matched or compensated. Lately, however, I had begun to suspect my own behavior in this regard. In the affair with Emma especially, it was almost all give and no receive. I did not ask or expect that woman to do anything "in return," but I did wonder what she might do "in turn," acting from an innate urge to give, to care and share. With Emma that turned out to be almost nothing. This deficit of action "in turn" put me on alert that something was radically wrong in my view of reciprocity.
Now, it might be objected that looking for something "in turn" is an expectation that skews human relationships, and can be avoided. The truly, unconditionally generous person—a totally loving and enlightened person, if you will—does not look to others to do likewise, and depends in no way on such behavior, you might think. I disagree. For a spontaneously giving person, it is only natural to look for that same behavior in others. It is a natural joy to be generous, forthcoming, caring, and sharing. It is a true and essential pleasure of life. Likewise, it is a joy and a pleasure to witness that behavior in others, freely reciprocated. Not to expect it or demand it, and certainly not to feel entitled to generosity from anyone, but to observe others closely and dispassionately and wonder how anyone can live without being generous! And to consider why anyone would act in that manner, withholding what can be so freely and easily given!
Well, many people can and do, and even flourish at doing so. I learned that lesson brutally with Emma, a cool-handed and well-practiced taker. She is a frightened and ingenerous person who takes what she wants and gives no thought to reciprocation except in a trivial manner, tit for tat. This was a brilliant revelation to me, without precedent in my intimate life. I had never before encountered such shabbiness and defiance of generosity up front, up close and personal.
Tulku Short Cut
The riddles of reciprocity run deep. Visvamata's succinct formula verified my deepest intuition, as far as it went. It confirmed to me that I held a correct, verifiable view of reciprocity: I was not looking for anything in return for what I give (of myself, of what I have, what I know, feel, imagine, etc), but I was open to others acting in their turn toward me. Generally, they don't. Reciprocity of this type is almost entirely lacking in my life, especially as regards what I presume to offer as a teacher and a terton, a treasure finder. My entire spiritual output, as it were. This offering goes out to the world largely unrecognized and unreciprocated.
I am still pondering Visvamata's formula of reciprocity in human relationships. I am sure there more to learn here. Reflecting on her tacit eight-word formula, I can see how reciprocity occurs in my life, or doesn't—predominantly, the latter. But I am still puzzled by the blatant imbalance between what I put out to the world and what comes to me.
Throughout the remainder of the shift, I enjoyed more or less continual access to Visvamata's transmission. I was enchanted by her tone, a mix of casual, engaging intimacy and enlightened detachment. Visvamata informed me that she would teach me anything I cared to know, proceeding in my time, according to my limits and needs. I understood that her instruction concerned matters specific to her domain, the realm of the SCALES, i.e., balance, cosmic order, reciprocity (disregarding the spurious notion of justice often associated with this constellation). Making the Scales the subject of special interest over many years, I accumulated a mass of material on this constellation and related star patterns outside the ecliptic zone. Note well: the Scales is the only human-made object among the thirteen zodiacal constellations. I believe this archetypal image relates closely to the subject of time, the notion of compensation or karma, and the process by which things ultimately come into balance over time. Hence it fits with the Wheel of Time associated with Visvamata. Its significance is unique for other reasons as well.
Early on I observed that the Scales is closely related to the constellation of Ara, the Altar, placed in the southern skies below the Scorpion. The Tibetan word tulku, given in Tibetan sky lore to Ara, means altar. The relation between the SCALES and the ALTAR suggests some connection between "cosmic law/balance" and the mysterious process of serial reincarnation, the tulku phenomenon.
In Tibetan Buddhism, a tulku is a reincarnating lama usually reborn in a young boy. The male child is the "altar" for the recurring identity (or memory, as I view this phenomenon). I have long pondered the mechanism of the tulku without getting very far, and Tibetan insiders aren't telling us much about how this carry-over is accomplished. My guess is that the tulku does not literally undergo rebirth in the child, but takes roost in its psyche when the infant is still young, probably in the preverbal stage. I would guess this is why the cuckoo is sacred in Tibetan Buddhism: cuckoos are uniquely known for roosting their young in the nests of other birds.
In Western occultism, adepts and highly evolved initiates are also said to be able to control and direct rebirth, choosing when and where to be born. I have always been troubled by this scenario, unable to form a satisfactory view on the matter.
Reflecting on this maddening tulku business, I had the impression that Visvamata was ever-present, observing my thoughts at a complementary angle: like someone leaning over your shoulder and looking with you at your reflection in a mirror. The devata informed me that she, in her special role as mistress of the "Wheel of Time," would patiently explain anything I wanted to know about sequential lives and the process of serial reincarnation. Anything.
Now that is quite an offer. And so casually and elegantly stated, believe me. But being the extravagant Kalika that I am, I went the devata one better. In that jaunty and presumptive manner typical of me, I said, "Look, I don't have ample or even adequate recognition or reciprocity for Planetary Tantra or Kala Tantra and it looks like it ain't coming any time soon, and probably not before I check out of this movie. I am a terton seeing his treasures overlooked and disregarded, and even though I know it comes with the turf—because the treasures of a terton are intended for the future and for those who will come to benefit from them later in time—but fuck it, I am not satisfied with this classical situation."
A pregnant pause ensued. It seemed that Visvamata was attentive to my protest, as if it were really worthy of her interest. As if she were considering how to feed this petulant outburst back to me in a teaching fitted to my limitations. Generally, I don't jive with the dakinis in this manner, but this devata made me comfortable with myself. So I continued: "Look, the best way to assure that my wisdom treasures will benefit those who come after me is for me to come after me—" Before I could finish this train of thought, Visvamata enjoined: "Fine, I can teach you how to return without recourse to physical rebirth and the necessity of undergoing childhood and adolesence." "You mean, the way to walk in?" I asked, using the New Age jargon "walk in" for an entity that takes the fast track of rebirth, the tulku short cut, by entering the body and mind of someone living at a later age. Thus eliminating the need to start from scratch, and go through the gruesome sequence of physical birth, childhood, and so forth. Visvamata replied, "Yes, precisely that."
Now she really had my attention. I said, "Okay, say I'll be twenty in 2016—if I don't live until then. That way I can pick up my own legacy on Kala Tantra in the flick of an eye and continue what I've started, and I won't have to be troubled about this apparent lack of reciprocity or who gives a fuck!" Visvamata calmly replied, "This eventuality can be taught. All you need is the time to concentrate with me." In effect, I was asking Visvamata how it could be arranged to download my current memory and knowledge as a terton into a young adult who will be twenty years old in 2016, if I am not still alive at that time. (DMD has informed me that I can live "271": 1945 + 71 = 2016) The devata assured me I could effectuate this eventuality through her instruction. I would descrie her style as firm and gentle persuasion.
The Two Fulcrums
The brief exchange about me returning as a walk-in occupied the last four or five days of Visvamata's shift. This is the period when the moods, cues, insights, and instructions of the shift come into embodiment, downloading into body-knowledge. I have consistently found that remarkable things can happen "in completion." This is the time of embodiment of insight and integration of instruction so that it becomes second nature.
On the last day of the shift, I was driving home from Malaga airport when the warm breath of the dakini wrote these words on the misted mirror of my mind:
With the cosmos at large, the fulcrum of reciprocity is dignity.
I am certain this syntax arose in response to a question I had been pondering off and on since receiving that stunning eight-word instruction from Visvamata: Reciprocity happens not in return, but in turn. I sensed that this elegant instruction was incomplete, so I disposed my mind toward the empty reflection that would complete it. I understood the first part of the instruction to refer to reciprocity in human relationships: it happens through things people do, not in return, but in turn. Fine, that is a sound formula for reciprocity with other people. But I continued to wonder, Is there some kind of reciprocity that pertains, not between myself and other persons, but between myself and the impersonal cosmos at large? This would entail, let's say, reciprocity with life itself. To venture a poetic expression, "reciprocity with the universe." I contemplated this question intensely during the last week of Visvamata's shift. Then, on the last day, the second part of the initial instruction wrote itself in the mist.
With this precise syntax in mind, I was able to formulate a visual image of the Scales unlike anything I had conceived before. Several times when I approached Visvamata with a question about "reciprocity with the universe," I was rebuffed in a gentle manner, as if the devata advised, "No, that is not the way to the invite the required syntax." The moment before the above instruction came across my mind, I had a breakthrough: I realized there is no fulcrum for reciprocity between myself and the universe, for that fulcrum resides in myself. The only universe I know is the one that appears in my life, so there cannot be a pivotal point outside my life by which I relate to the universe in reciprocity. The moment I realized that the fulcrum for reciprocity with the universe was located within me, rather than between me and the universe, the instruction dawned.
As I reflected further—reflection allowed here because the dakini instruction is not punctuated by the signal for syntax closure, "And that is such"—a startling image took shape in my mind. I saw a kind of cup or socket, called in mechanical engineering a ball-joint. Seated in the cup was the rounded base of an upright staff. Appended to the staff on a pivot was the crossbar of the Scales. Pendant on the two ends of the crossbar were the strings on which the two pans were suspended. In the two pans were the objects or material to be weighed, such as grain, and the standards of measure, such as metal units of graduated weight, one gram, five grams, and so on.
Over the years when I taught naked-eye star lore in Santa Fe, I advised students to picture the constellation of the Scales with a pair of pans suspended on strings. In the scenario of the zodiac, this visualization is particularly precise, closely matched to the composite stars. The constellation of the Scorpion interacts with the Scales in this way: the Scorpion reaches out with its claws and jars or jounces the crossbeam of the Scales, causing the strings to lose tension momentarily, this action in turn causing the contents of the two pans to be tumbled, at risk of falling out. The northern pan, close to the Scorpion's claw, is knocked awry more severely than the southern pan, close to the knees of the Virgin. (See above, where the imagery shows the one pan displaced from a level or equilibrated position more than the other.) That pan is jarred so severely by the Scorpion's claw that it may be pictured as spilling its contents.
Now guess what is in the pan that spills its contents (northern pan, near the claws of the Scorpion) and in the other, that does not (southern pan, near the knee of the Virgin)? Which pan holds the weights, and which pan holds what is to be weighed? What upsets cosmic order: losing the standards of measure, or losing that which is to be measured?
This complex image, Scorpion-jarring-the-Balance, corresponds graphically to the observable layout of the two constellations. In fact, the stars that now comprise the Scales originally formed the claws of the Scorpion, for the Scales is a late, contrived constellation. Previous to Greco-Latin norms established around 1200 BCE, there was no constellation of the Scales and the composite stars of the two neighboring constellations were merged. Long ago the zodiac ran from VIRGIN to SCORPION, without the SCALES.
The Seat of Dignity
Over many years researching sky lore, I had put a lot of time into contemplating that arresting image, the Scorpion jarring the crossbeam of the Scales. What fantastic symbolic import did it imply? What message was displayed in this starry scenario? Nothing less than the notion that cosmic order has been disturbed, knocked out of balance! Contemplate that one for a moment, folks... I would guess that many of you would find sense in the suggestion that cosmic order has been, or appears to have been, disturbed, somehow thrown out of balance.
With Visvamata's instruction in mind, I pictured something I had previously overlooked. Now I was seeing not the crossbeam of the SCALES, but the upright part, the staff upon which the crossbeam was mounted, and pivoted. I had always assumed that the upright staff stood at right angles to a solid base, or hung from a superior fixed point, as scales often are depicted. But now that familiar visualizaton changed before my eyes. I saw a second component in the cosmic mechanism of balance: the vertical staff that held up the crossbeam had a rounded base that was itself balanced in a cup-like retainer, the socket or ball-joint. The upright beam dynamically controlled the entire structure. It determined the rectitude of measurement, for if it were not stable, no measurement would be reliable. True enough, but now I realized that the seating of that vertical staff in the cup could adjust to any movement of the crossbeam. So, even though the crossbeam might be jarred or jounced, disturbing the act of measurement, the balancing mechanism corrects itself by the rotation of the staff in its cup-like seating, the ball-joint.
This new visualization was a revelation to me. After forty years of contemplating this sidereal image, I was seeing it in a more comprehensive way under the close instruction of Visvamata. So what can be made of the modified image, the balance with two fulcrums? For starters I offer this comment: the mechanism of balance in the cosmos consists of a measuring function AND a fail-safe against disruption of that function. Even if the crossbeam is jarred, the act of measurement will be correct because the vertical staff will displace itself in its seating, leaning one way or the other to compensate for the off-balancing of the crossbeam.
For me, the immediate insight drawn from Visvamata's instruction in completion of her shift is that my balance with life and the universe at large inheres in me and it has a self-correcting function regardless of how I am reciprocated through others. But I must be able to locate that fail-safe action, to know and feel how it actually works. Visvamata teaches that impersonally, in regard to the cosmos at large, dignity is the fulcrum of cosmic reciprocity. The pivot of the crossbeam at the top of the vertical staff is a fulcrum, but so is the seating socket at the base of that staff. I understand the first formula of reciprocity to apply to the upper fulcrum: what happens between people, the measure of generosity given and received, actions done in turn, not in return. I understand the second formula of reciprocity to apply to the lower fulcrum, the seat of dignity, situated between me and the universe.
The upper fulcrum lies between people, an interactive nexus, but the lower fulcurm resides in each individual person. My inner self is balanced against my outer self on the seating at the base of the vertical staff. The reciprocity I have with the universe at large does not inhere in my interactions with other individuals. Rather, it has to be realized in the balance between my outer self, living in the cosmos at large among other people, and my inner self, the virtual fiction of my identity, how I live alone and imaginatively, totally independent of others. The lower fulcrum lies beween these two selves, inner and outer, not between myself and the cosmos. And the felt, actuated location of that fulcrum is my sense of dignity.
Driving home on monday November 16, the last day of the shift, I marveled at the skill of Visvamata to teach patiently, with almost conversational ease, using the idiom of my limited understanding, drawing upon matters familiar tome for a long time but casting them in a new light, a new mode of reflection. And how skillful she is to bring through her teaching a gift of transcendent insight in the measure of each person's compassion. How wonderful is that. I cannot express the immense gratitude I feel toward this devata.
How often throughout my life had I pondered in this way: "If you know where someone's dignity is located, then you can know that person truly and profoundly, as they know themselves—or as they would know themselves, if they did." Knowledge of this kind begins, of course, with knowledge of oneself. So where is my dignity located? Ask yourself that question. The gentle counsel of Visvamata invites and informs this subtle inquiry.