Method of TranslationHow did I arrive at my version of each sutra?
Here is the Sanskrit for what I call the Hridayam Akasha Dharana. This is sutra 26 of The Radiance Sutras, and verse number 49 of the text, because there are 23 verses of Devi’s questions and banter back and forth between Devi and Bhairava, which I do not number.
hṛdyākāśe nilīnākṣaḥ padmasampuṭamadhyagaḥ |
ananyacetāḥ subhage paraṃ saubhāgyam āpnuyāt || 49 ||
Keep in mind that this text was composed to be chanted. It was never intended to be written down, that came later, a thousand or more years later. It comes from a time before writing. And it was written according to the conventions of the time. Opening up the Sanskrit a little we see and hear:
hridaya akaashe nileen aakshah
padma samputa madhyagah
ananya chetaah subhage
param saubhaag-yam aapnu-yaat
This is how it looks if I take the Sanskrit out of Panini’s rules, undo the contractions, let the basic words be visible, (and scandalize thousands of Pundits who want everyone to obey every one of the four thousand rules of Sanskrit grammar.)
hridayam - heart
akasha - space; in the space of the heart
nilinaksah - with closed eyes
padma - lotus
samputa - repetition of a mantra (such as sarva dharman sharanam aham, according to Lakshmanjoo).
madhyagah - in the middle
padma samputa madhyah = the mantra of the lotus in the middle of the heart chakra.
ananya - with no other, without deviation
chetah - awareness (citta) (I use the “chetah” spelling, even though inaccurate, because I just love looking at the word spelled this way.)
subhage - embodiment of good fortuneparam - highest
saubhagyam - spiritual realization (good fortune + peace of mind)
apnuyat - achieved
My first thought when I look at this is,
Come listen to the singing bowl of the heart.
Then I start hearing sentences such as:
-Find the center and listen to the unending song there.
-There is a mantra always resonating in the center of your heart
-O embodiment of good fortune. go there and listen, and be blessed.
-Sacred sound are emanating from the temple of your heart
-Always blessing you, always saying, come rest in me
-Always saying, go forth and love
-Dwell here and be blessed
-Come to this place and be blessed
Going toward the most literal translation, we could say:
Close your eyes, O Embodiment of Good Fortune, and listen to the mantra resonating in the middle of the lotus of your heart. Listen with one-pointed focus, and the highest spiritual realization will be achieved.
That is sort of useful, but also not as interesting or enchanting as the original Sanskrit, which has hypnotic sounds, hridayam akasha. So what I did was I meditated on each individual word of the Sanskrit and wrote an entire page about its usage throughout this tantra, and its meaning in Kashmir Shaivism, and its usage in the Upanishads, Vedas, and other scriptures. I went into the images and energies behind each word, then again meditated on what is the technique being described here.
This is the version I did in 1992:
There is a place in the heart where everything meets.
Go there if you want to find me.
Mind, senses, soul, eternity, all are there.
Are you there?
Enter the bowl of vastness that is the heart.
Give yourself to it with total abandon,
listen to the song that is always resonating there.
Quiet ecstasy is there —
and a steady, regal sense of resting in a perfect spot.
Once you know the way
the nature of attention will call you to return,
again and again, and be saturated with knowing,
“I belong here, I am at home here.”
Answer that call.