The Means of achieving spiritual experience - Shaivism – 06 Enacting ritual and ceremony
Type of Spiritual Experience
A description of the experience
Alain Danielou – Gods of Love and Ecstasy: The traditions of Shiva and Dionysus
Communication between the different states of being, that is between men, spirits and gods, can only be achieved by means of special techniques called rites. These rites utilize the breaks, or invisible points of connection, through which communication with other worlds is possible. The points are indicated by signs, forms, and certain arrangements of elements, which may be called symbols.
By arranging the various elements in a particular way, we become conscious of messages transmitted on waves which are present all around us even though unperceived. Following this principle, the utilization of a series of elements comprising form, sound and energy, allows us to communicate with those states of being which are usually imperceptible to our senses. This role could be called the vehicle or medium of the rites.
Rites generally utilize three main components: geometric or numerical elements called yantras; sound and rhythmic elements called mantras; and symbolic acts called tantras, including certain gestures (mudras).
- Yantras are diagrams endowed with occult power. They are based on numerical combinations and geometrical diagrams creating harmonies in which certain prime numbers play an essential part. Prime numbers and some incommensurable numbers play a special role in all the structures of the universe, of which they are in some way the basic material.
- Tantras are practices of a ritual nature involving apparently gratuitous acts …, which are the means of establishing contact between the various worlds or states of being, and also of realizing the transmitting magical powers.
- Mudras are signs, gestures and postures of a symbolic character which put the human being into a state of receptivity.
- Mantras are vocal formulas of a magical nature, which are recited according to certain rhythmic cycles,
The adept must discover in the surrounding world and within himself the points of contact or connection with other worlds. He must know how to recognise in the mineral, vegetable and animal world, on the Earth's surface and in his own body, the forms and points through which he himself and the world are penetrated by those fundamental energies in which the thought, nature and activity of the Creator are revealed. Once these points have been identified, the narrow doors between two worlds, the mechanism of diagrams, sounds, formulas, rhythms, actions and gestures allows an entry to be forced and communication to be established.