by Elodia Thallon, Yoga Teacher
“It is more important to love than to be loved.”
Every August a very special event takes place on the shores of the Romanian Black Sea. For one week the small seaside town of Costinesti is transformed into a heavenly paradise, as it becomes home to the Maha Vidya Special Event in which the most esoteric of spiritual teachings are revived in their traditional form in a week-long celebration of the mysteries of the divine feminine nature. Since the Maha Vidya Tara Retreat of 2011, I have very much looked forward to the next chapter in this journey along the path of Maha Vidya. It is a privileged moment for attaining more profound understandings about the nature of my existence and to especially deepen my understandings of my intrinsically feminine nature.
Maha Vidya is a form of yoga that implies the adoration of the Divine in its feminine form, as the Cosmic Supreme Mother. The feminine energy of God, Maha Shakti, is manifested in ten fundamental aspects that are considered to be the ten great paths of knowledge (Maha Vidya). Also known as the Ten Great Cosmic Powers, the 10 Maha Vidya-s or Dasha Maha Vidya offer a complete spiritual path for attaining the highest possible spiritual realization through their worship and adoration. Each Great Cosmic Power has specific characteristics that are unique to Her and together all 10 make up the entire spectrum of energies and resonances that exist universally. In fact, nothing exists outside of them, and as such as sentient beings we are all continuously existing within their spheres of force.
The Maha Vidya Special Event is kept by world-renowned yoga and tantra teachers, Advaitananda and Adina Stoian, whose are amongst the most experienced practitioners on the path of Maha Vidya today. Under the guidance of their spiritual master, Gregorian Bivolaru, they began this series of events in 2010 with Kali, the Great Cosmic Power of Time and Transformation. In 2011 they introduced us to Tara, the Great Cosmic Power of Compassion and Divine Protection, and this year theyled us into the world of the third Maha Vidya, Tripura Sundari, the Great Cosmic Power of Divine Love, Beauty, Harmony, Goodness and Truth. She is the Divine Mother of the 3 worlds, whose sublime beauty brings us silently closer to knowing God in manifestation; She is the very essence of life itself which is held together by the ‘glue’ of divine love that is our very nature and at the same time the true nature of the one and unique God, the superior consciousness that is both immanent and transcendent.
It is amazing how deeply we manage to delve into the worlds of the Maha Vidya-s in only one week, quickly reaching new heights of understanding even after years of personal practice with them.
This is a testament to the efficiency of the teachings when shared together with such a large group of people with high spiritual aspiration, especially through the use of practical methods, and also to the profound personal understanding and expertise of the ones imparting the knowledge which although coming from a very high level of spiritual realization is made comprehensible for the neophyte.
Through conferences, the practical application of tantric principles, meditations, tantric transfiguration exercises, yoga practice, ritualistic practices, and the use of relevant multi-media we are immersed into the divine realm of the respective Maha Vidya, yet it is actually up to each of us individually how far we want to go and how much we want to apply. For me this year I made the decision beforehand that I would dedicate this week solely to this experience and to integrate all aspects of my life in Her sphere of force, to give myself the chance to be part of all that was offered to us and to make the most of this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
The result is very interesting, much more subtle than I expected but no less intense or real. And now in the days after I am experiencing very beautiful repercussions of this event in my life, and I start to see the more refined nuances of Tripura Sundari manifesting through me and around me in my life.
Perfection through the Practice of Polarity
The first three days of the retreat are integrated from the perspective of the tantric principle of polarity. The principle of polarity is based on the fundamental assertion that everything in manifestation is either predominantly masculine or feminine and as such polarizes the other pole due to its predominance. Through the building up of the two poles individually we create an intense polarity and a huge energy.
This can be compared to the charging of a battery, which contains within it the two poles (+ and -), so that it will fully be able to power a machine - the machine in the case of human polarity being our individual being and also the consequent relationships that exist between men and women, and which are built on the very foundation of this universal principle.
One of the ways in which this principle is applied is by keeping the men and women separate so that they do not interact with one another over these days, meaning no communication of any sort, including eye contact, speaking etc. Each group follows a program which is tailored specifically to their needs as men and women, which are different, yet complementary. So while the men meditate from early in the morning, the women get their beauty sleep and begin their daily practice sometime later. During the conferences, the women learn about aspects specific to women on the path of Maha Vidya, while the men learn, well, I have no idea…
The fact that we are born into the body of a man or a woman is by no means an accident; it is because of the fundamental necessities of our soul in this incarnation and as such it is something to be treated with the utmost importance as a guide for how we should live our life as well as how we can best evolve towards perfection through the specificities of our gender and the lessons it brings. I personally find this fundamental universal principle of polarity to be one of the most fascinating aspects of our human existence which brings with it some of the most amazing revelations about life and the universe.
I was very much focused during the initial three days of polarity on becoming more aware of myself as a woman and the essence of my feminine nature, and this also included time spent with my girlfriends which I valued very much. This time spent only with women set up the frame for the whole retreat which became very much focused around my friendships with other women and how this enriches my own womanhood, and helps me to be more conscious in this crucial aspect of my life. I felt great joy and happiness in the time spent with these beautiful and inspiring women.
After the days of separation, men and women were reunited and we entered into a new phase. Now we stepped further along the path offered by Tripura Sundari and began to explore the double edged nature of desire, and the complex world of the couple relationship.Here we find some of the most practical ways to get to know Tripura Sundari as she is the very essence of love and is the one inspiring the couple relationships. We delved deeper into the notions of beauty, goodness and truth in their divine essences, which is something quite different from the common understanding we have about them today. During privileged ritualistic moments of tantric transfiguration we were introduced to Tripura Sundari in her aspects as Bala, Raja Rajeshwari, and her triadic aspect as Tripura, the queen of the three worlds - causal, astral and physical.
Love Actively, Plenarily, and Without Hesitation
Since June (2004 ) I have been suffering the Danish summer and longing for hot weather and warm waters, (having grown up in Australia I will most likely never adapt to the European climate), and now during this camp I certainly got what I’ve been asking for. The days were constantly above 30° and inside the conference hall, which is covered by a big yellow marquee, we sweated through most of the conferences in 40+ conditions clad only in swimming costumes and thin cotton fabrics. But come dusk, and welcomed relief from the incessant heat descended. Evenings spent on the beach were one of the most enjoyable moments of the day, when many were magnetically drawn to the shore to practice yoga, swim, take happy snaps and bask in the light of the setting sun as the whole world evolved into a soft, ethereal paradise, where everything and everyone were bathed in the angelic glow of perfection.
I realized though there was a deeper meaning to this almost unbearable climate. Throughout the retreat we were the receivers of a great number of spiritual gifts. The receiving of such gifts though does not come without effort and the effort we made to remain there even in such conditions was at times great. I believe in my heart that this was a last test for those of us who had managed to reach to being there before being able to receive the spiritual rewards offered. These rewards came in various forms, such as revelations triggered by the knowledge presented in the conferences, the states triggered in meditations, and especially in the two most important spiritual moments - the ritual in different aspects of love, and the special initiation in love presented by Advaitananda.
The ritual involved the practical experience of 12 different aspects of love, which ranged from love between friends to the love between the spiritual guide and aspirant through a series of steps which helped us to get into resonance with these specific nuances of love. In a room of hundreds of people all opening up their hearts, the atmosphere became even more alive, refined and elevated. Afterwards, the transformative effects of loving and receiving love were clearly visible, and that night we all flew home instead of walking.
What made this particular day of the ritual even more special was that earlier on we received a very spiritual initiation about love, in the form of one of the fundamental lessons revealed to us by the Great Cosmic Power Tripura Sundari. The crowning glory of the whole event, this initiation was given for the first time, and it channeled all the experiences and understanding about Tripura Sundari in a method of very precise and intense spiritual practice which can be applied by anyone at any time of their life. I will not say more about it except that it is something which can deeply and irrevocably transform our attitude towards love and loving and therefore constitutes a way for discovering the reality of love and of intimately knowing the Great Cosmic Power Tripura Sundari.
Unfortunately one who is very dear to my heart could not be with me during this week and I wondered why it had worked out like this especially considering that Tripura Sundari is the Great Cosmic Power most intimately connected with the couple relationship and its mechanisms. I had looked forward to being able to delve deeper into Her mysteries together with the man I love, but it was not to be. Instead what this week brought me was a much more personal journey in which I got to learn more about myself as a lover and how I relate to love and how I love, and to thus be more individually concerned about improving myself in this area of life.
And now that the week is over I am reunited with my lover and I have to say that I feel the experience of this event reflected now in our relationship. I see how I am better in tune with the resonances specific to Tripura Sundari and consequently I am better able to relate to my lover through Her eyes in a way which is extremely beautiful, refined and more subtle than ever.
Next year we step further into the divine realms with Maha Vidya Bhuvaneshwari, the Great Cosmic Power of Divine Space and Knowledge. Until then, the fascinating journey of self-discovery on this ineffable and mysterious path of spiritual knowledge Maha Vidya continues within me.
Taken from http://elodiathallon.wordpress.com