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Suffering,  Bliss and the Mother’s Womb

by Dr. Sushil Fotedar

Sometime back, while carrying on a conversation about Mata Rupa Bhavani with a friend of mine, something very well-known about her life struck me as rather worthy of analysis. Her initial life was quite tragic and after intense tapasya, she realised the Ultimate, at least that is what most of us believe. This theme of suffering is a common thread seen in the lives of most, if not all
saints around the world be it Lalla Ded, St Augustine or Swami Vivekananda. Even in the case of those who did not apparently undergo personal sufferings the capacity to intensely feel through the “ Collective Subconscious”, the common human tragedy of an imperfect state of being-- followed at first by visions of old age, disease and death around and then within themselves --is immense, to say the least. The likes of Buddha and our own inimitable Swami Laxman Joo would fall in this category. The mythology of Suffering and Bliss and their close co-existence as two sides of the same coin, would therefore, be an interesting matter for study.

James Joyce defines tragedy as “ whatsoever is grave and constant in human sufferings”( James Joyce, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man) and it is, I feel, from this “grave and constant” that the imprints common to the mythology of Suffering and its counterpoise, Bliss, are derived. My proposition is that tragedy transmutes suffering into bliss by altering the focus of the mind. Through intense contemplation thereafter, through sadhana, a saint mercilessly strips his self of mortal dirt, thereby “spiritually cleansing” himself and one day with a cry of rapture, leaves humanity behind
leaping into the “unknowable” beyond. I would love scholars of our traditions to delve into this theme and come out with their interpretations so that we are better able to understand this transmutation!

And what is the symbol of this blissful, “unknowable” beyond ? In many mythologies including that of the Shakta, it is the Mother’s womb represented in the chakras as an inverted triangle, the “yoni”! Why so? Perhaps because the state of the child in the womb is conceived of as full of bliss which may be compared to the beatitude of realization. Additionally, as night and day cannot be differentiated in the confines of the womb, there is no sense of temporality ;not surprising that metaphors used to suggest Eternity also retreat to the womb. Abhinavaguptacharya has used these “sexual” metaphors of “yoni” and “bindu” quite profusely in his highly abstruse book, “the Shri Shri Paratrimshika”. Another matter open for assessments and interpretations!

May the Mother bless us all in one single
, massive downpour of Shaktipata!!!



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