Through this initiation you can access the art in you that is waiting to be expressed! If you feel a longing to be creative, to be more creative, or if you are an artist and want to put more into your artistic creations, you can benefit from this workshop and the Art Initiation, 30th November to 3rd December at Tara. If you want a taste of what you will experience, listen to this podcast by student Vivienne Rush with artists and Tantric practitioners, Mojdeh Moasser and Radu Solomon, who have received the initiation and opened themselves to an abundance of creativity in their lives.
Foreplay carries with it the dynamic energy of the beginning and the first tender touches of the soul of our lover. It sets the tone of beauty and sacredness at the start of Tantric love making. As teachers Alina Halauca and Bogdan Radasanu explain to student Vivienne Rush, foreplay becomes an art when it is practised with imagination, patience and a great deal of heart.
Learn more about the Art of Foreplay in our workshops at Tara! We frequently have workshops on various topics related to eroticism. Next up is our Kama Sutra workshops starting 27th October 2023 with ‘The Art of Foreplay’. See more information here:
Unwavering virtue is the best of all medicines.
The Life of Milarepa is a book that reads like a poem and lifts the spirit at the turn of every page, a biography decorated with songs that seem to spring from the soul of Milarepa, where words alone seem not enough to express the intensity of his messages.
It is the story of Mila Zhepa Dorjé, also known as Milarepa, through the framework of twelve marvelous deeds: three ordinary worldly deeds and nine supreme deeds of peace and transcendence.
From a tormented first half of his life, where he succumbs to the lower aspects of reality by killing 35 people through his powers of black magic, Milarepa rises from the ashes with fervent, unbroken determination to purify his misdeeds, and finally attains liberation within one lifetime. His life is an example of an ardent pursuit to realise the true nature of reality through the path of yoga.
“Through devotion to the teacher and the practice of the path, transform oneself into a perfect buddha, where the dharma is present everywhere one turns, where everything in the outer world appears as scriptures, where the profane is sacred.”
Finding his master is Milarepa’s first supreme deed and the start of his spiritual journey. A master-disciple relationship is always full of tests and this one was no exception. Marpa the Translator puts Milarepa through insufferable and exhausting hardships even before accepting him as his disciple. As happens with many other Tibetan masters (such as Tilopa with his disciple Naropa), an untrained eye may find it difficult to understand Marpa’s nuanced love towards his disciple and may not realise at first that all the hardships are hidden teachings on Milarepa’s path to enlightenment.
For a long time, Marpa did not grant him empowerments or instructions, but Milarepa never lost faith and trusted his Guru.
Reading about Milarepa’s aspiration and his unshakeable devotion and trust in his lama opens the reader’s heart and triggers a deep aspiration within. In the following song, Milarepa highlights the role of a master for an effective spiritual journey.
“Then he sang this song: I bow at the feet of Lord Marpa the Translator. Those who wish to practise dharma: Without relying on a qualified lama, Though you have devotion, blessings are meagre. Without requesting profound initiation, The very words of tantra will trap you. Without using the tantras as an authority, Every deed you do leads you astray. Without meditating on profound heart-instructions, Saying you’ll renounce only harms yourself. Without applying remedies for mental afflictions, Your talk is dried-up empty sound. Without knowing the profound path of means, Although you make effort, little is done. Without knowing the profound essential points, Although you endure, the path becomes long. Without garnering vast stores of merit, Living for oneself alone is the cause of life’s round. Without giving up what you have earned for the dharma, Although you meditate, good qualities will not appear. ”
Milarepa’s life is a constant call to listen to our inner compass and follow our dharma, a reminder of the importance of spiritual practice over the mere accumulation of knowledge. As it is said in the Mahabharata, “Books are but a burden as long as we do not realise the truth beyond the words”. Yoga and meditation allow us to realise the truths of the teachings. Through them Milarepa was able to transcend the mind and win buddhahood. “Again and again I practised with no concern for words and forgot about literal meanings. Let scholars give literal readings of texts”. The following song gives us an idea of his teachings:
“Then he sang this song: To the compassionate one I address my prayer. Contemplating the lives of past masters endowed with compassion Is itself the very oral instructions. Hoping to accumulate many is cause for distraction. Keep in your heart the essential instructions. Much this and that without the essential Is like many trees but no fruit. They may have their merits but they are not the ultimate. Studying them is not seeing the truth. They have much to explain but have nothing of profit. Take to heart that which profits—a treasure sublime. If it’s wealth you desire, concentrate upon this. Dharma is the path of means for taming afflictions. If a safe path you’d keep, concentrate upon this. A resolute mind is a master of contentment. If it’s a fine master you wish for, concentrate upon this. Give up the whining and sloth of life’s round. A rock crag with no one around is your father’s house; A friendless and lonely abode, the deity’s home. Mind riding mind is a tireless steed; Your body, a wilderness hermitage, a temple. Unwavering virtue is the best of all medicines.“
All the hardship was not in vain. Milarepa at last received tantric instructions and departed from his lama. From realising the emptiness of worldly matters, he vowed to practise. “Those beings who want things with no essence can have them. A yogi, I go to achieve liberation”. This was his sixth supreme deed, where he detached from this world. “Even if I were a master of the entire world, I would still need to leave them aside at the time of death. So if I renounce these things now, I shall find happiness in this and all future lives. Doing so, my conduct is contrary to that of all other men, so you can say I am no longer a man.” Milarepa realises that a man, as Gurdjieff later put it, is asleep. Unless the inner eyes open, unless your inside becomes full of light, we are not awake. From the words of Gurdjieff, “Man is a machine. All his deeds, actions, words, thoughts, feelings, convictions, opinions, and habits are the results of external influences, external impressions. Out of himself a man cannot produce a single thought, a single action. Everything he says, does, thinks, feels—all this happens. Man cannot discover anything, invent anything. It all happens.”
During his intense practice in caves, Milarepa starts his awakening, attaining spiritual insights on the nature of reality. He would practise without eating, without moving his body even if that meant starvation, sickness or exposure. His thirst for realisation was greater than his fear of death. Here we see for the first time Milarepa as a master. He removed his fear of death and understood that all the phenomena of this world and transcendence are interdependent, and that only spiritual insight would lead him to transcendence. The following song illustrates poetically one of his intuitions on the essence of interdependence of all beings:
“The nourishing essence of solid earth And the light rain falling from azure skies—these two Form the interdependence that benefits beings. The essence of interdependence is dharma divine. An illusory body nurtured by parents And instructions of an authentic lama—these two Form the interdependence for doing dharma divine. The essence of interdependence is perseverance. A rocky cave in a deserted land And sincere virtuous practice—these two Form the interdependence for achieving whatever you wish. The essence of interdependence is emptiness. Milarepa’s exertion in meditation And the faith of beings in the three realms—these two Form the interdependence for fulfilling the aims of beings. The essence of interdependence is compassion. The meditator practising in rocky caves And the patrons who bring him supplies—these two Form the interdependence for reaching buddhahood together. The essence of interdependence is dedication of merit. The compassion of an excellent lama And the enduring meditation of an excellent student—these two Form the interdependence for upholding the teachings. The essence of interdependence is the sacred commitments. Initiations that swiftly bring blessings And prayers of fierce faith and devotion—these two Form the interdependence for quickly meeting. The essence of interdependence is auspicious fortune.”
Milarepa renounced worldly happiness and achieved buddhahood by taming and mastering the mind. “The stallion of mind rides like the wind. To catch him, what lasso will catch him?… To catch him, catch with the lasso of non-duality. To tether him, tether with the stake of meditative absorption. If hungry, feed him the lama’s oral instructions”.
He internalised the value of persevering in our practice, of tapas in our spiritual journey, and he exemplified the state of self-discipline, passion and courage of a perfect practitioner. He reminds us of the role that the law of cause and effect, karma, plays in our path towards liberation. “Because you have no conviction about the law of cause and effect, you have little perseverance in practice”.
Practice for Milarepa was never confined to sitting in meditation. It meant practising virtue at the cost of one’s life. “I have understood that, in order to realise insight, one must strive without distraction to accumulate merit and purify misdeeds in the periods between meditation sessions”. His practical teachings are universal and highlight the Truth that lies in our inner compass. “Act in such a way that you will not be ashamed of yourself. Do this and even if your actions contradict the letter of some texts they will not contradict the intentions of the previous Victors”.
In the last part of his life, Milarepa took the task of benefitting sentient beings through the result of his practice. This is his eighth supreme deed. Finding life precious, he did not dare to waste an hour of time.
“Doing deeds that are of no use Will harm you, so set yourself straight. The yogin whose work is complete Has no need for a pile of busywork.”
Personally, the book was an impulse for my spiritual practice. It kindled my inner fire and my aspiration, and opened my eyes to spiritual tests. The intense longing of Milarepa made it tangible and I can still feel it inside myself.
Having enjoyed the Pilgrimage to Canterbury in April again this year, I was very excited to be embarking on the second Pilgrimage of the season to my hometown, and the ancient Roman city of St. Albans in Hertfordshire. I grew up there as a child and lived in the district of St. Albans for over 26 years, so I was eager to re-visit this unique and historical city with a new perspective, with a pair of fresh eyes, and also a yearning heart.
The starting point was the village of Radlett, about 7 miles south of our destination by foot, where we gathered at 9.30am and were guided by our expert leader Andrew, to a quiet enclosed woodland green area to prepare ourselves for the aspirational day ahead. Our Captain Andrew, who has himself gathered many years of experience as a dedicated pilgrim on his own journeys, shared with us the true benefits and insights we might expect to observe and behold during this tried and tested pilgrimage route. He guided the group through consecrating the pilgrimage, and gave space for the opening meditation where each individual heart looks carefully inward, and is able to solidify and set their own intentions for the journey ahead.
As we departed the sheltered green space at 10am, I looked up and noticed the first rays of sunshine breaking through a gap in the clouds, which gave rise to a glorious day ahead, and the skies soon opened up and continued to be filled with light, depth and warmth to accompany us on our trial along the pilgrims way. God had witnessed and heard all our deep longings and intentions, and so blessed us with his presence and watchful eye, with no clouds to mask or cover us during our special, sacred journey together. My own personal aspiration for the day was a very simple and yet powerful intention to become closer to God every day, as I move ahead on my own spiritual path. I kept this clear vision in my mind’s eye and very close to my heart, during each and every step we took towards our shared destination, but more importantly towards the final goal I had personally created for myself, within the wider group of moving and aspiring hearts.
The practice of walking in mauna is recommended to us at the beginning of such a journey, where we can each silently tune in to that special space within us, to help support and even magnify our personal journey and intentions. Some individuals ardently chose to maintain this deep inward and outward silence throughout the whole day and process, which I truly admired, and marvelled at their quiet commitment and no doubt more intensely felt effects received from the shared pilgrimage. For me, I took the opportunity beyond the first 15 – 20 minutes to engage and speak to my fellow Tara pilgrims who were also receptive, and we were able to outwardly share our experiences as we gently progressed along the nature-filled trail. This was headed by Andrew accompanied by the trusty four-legged Lalla, while Kieran and Eabha (completing the pair of divine dogs) walked at the back of the group, ensuring that no one strayed too far behind, and the group always progressed as one entire body, whilst different paces were also accommodated, along with the dedicated bare-foot walkers, and those members who could not help stopping to greet animals, or photograph key moments along the way.
The route we joined on the Pilgrim‘s way took us from the sleepy village of Radlett, passing by Hill Farm, Netherwylde Farm, Waterside Farm, the Moor Mill, and quietly past the villages of Frogmore, How Wood, and Park Street (where I grew up) before passing Sopwell House and Cottonmill Bridge, and delivering us at the foot of Holywell Hill (aptly named), before our final gentle ascent towards the open grounds of St. Albans Abbey. The tried and tested trail we adopted was primarily rural, with key marker points along the way, and having passed through the picturesque and peaceful lakes and ponds of Moor Mill Fishery, we more or less followed the River Ver (short for Verulam or Verulamium) all the way to the grand Cathedral, situated on a gentle hill at the edge of the city centre of St. Albans.
I personally found that the constantly changing and ever emerging surroundings allowed me to become aware of my direct connection with a variety of abundant nature, wildlife, and country pathways, which was not only refreshing and revitalising, but this kept me very rooted in my own personal goal. In doing so this naturally brought me closer with my own connection to God, as I was continuously able to observe, appreciate, admire and also transfigure the diverse natural world that accompanied and infused our Pilgrims walk. And this was a constant reminder to perceive and value the true source and creator of all things beautiful, natural, and alive, which we encountered on the journey. A very simple yet effective mind-set with every step I took.
Once we gathered in the gardens of the Cathedral, we walked around the outside of the magnificent Abbey in our own time either once or three times, to make this the centre-point and focus of our journey and destination. The Abbey itself was founded in the 8th century, and the present building is of both Norman and Romanesque architecture of the 11th century, along with Gothic and 19th- century additions, and at 85m long has the longest nave of any cathedral in England. St Albans Cathedral stands close to the site of Saint Alban’s death by the Romans – he was the first British Christian Martyr or Saint during the 3rd or 4th century. Afterwards we gathered again as a whole group to perform a final meditation, to help crystallise the gifts that this pilgrimage had offered to us, and we also heard some beautiful personal sharings from the group.
After enjoying some free time to explore the Abbey or venture into the historic city centre, we ended the day with the Evensong, a choral evening service of prayer and praise, accompanied by the Cathedral Choir, and using the traditional language of the Book of Common Prayer. The sounds of the collective choral voices resonated through the very centre of the Abbey at the heart of the cross, and reverberated deep into the tall tower looming above us. I felt myself at such peace, and extremely blessed from the day’s events.
by Jonathan Freeman
The wisest way to look at world religions is to focus on what connects rather than what divides us. The ancient mystics deliberately hid meanings that have a profound, uplifting and unifying message within specific practices. Tantra teacher Foca Yariv had this realisation in his early life growing up in the Holy City of Jerusalem, as he searched for a common truth among the noise and hubbub of Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Foca has drawn common threads from his knowledge of these spiritual traditions, and created a workshop that explores the unifying force between them, and ways in which this force can reinvigorate the yogi on the Tantric path. Get a sneak preview of this workshop, to be held on 12th May in London by listening to this podcast. Foca begins by telling student Vivienne Rush about the challenge of living at the crossroads of three world religions.
In this podcast episode, Tantra and Yoga teacher Uriel Yariv shares with us about how to become more emotionally wise, and how to consciously heal emotions in a healthy and wholesome way, as well as about his own experience with healing emotions.
Listen to learn more about what emotions are, about what we think we ‘should’ or ‘shouldn’t’ do with emotions, and about how through awareness of emotions, a process of alchemy starts to take place.
To find out more about emotional healing through the ancient spiritual practices of as Yoga, Tantra, Mystical Christianity and Tibetan Buddhism, in combination with modern psychology, join our ‘Wisdom of Emotions’ workshop on 22nd-23rd April 2023.
I had the opportunity to attend this particular workshop at Tara Yoga Centre in London. I had heard of lucid dreaming before and I experienced it personally. Many nights I was aware that I was dreaming and I would wake up just after having realised that I was doing so. I did not know that this state could be trained so that one could enter it whenever they wished. Having had many vivid dreams where I was aware I was dreaming all my life – later I would find out they were called lucid dreams, when the opportunity arose to attend such a workshop, I immediately took it.
Our teachers were Maria and Morgan, both experienced in the field. Maria had been experiencing lucid dreaming since she was a small child, and Morgan said that every single one of us on the planet dreams, reassured me that I was in good hands. What followed was a very interesting history of how lucid dreaming has been represented throughout history. I found out that numerous ancient cultures from the Chinese to the Hindus recognised this special state, and many aspired to reach it when sleeping for numerous benefits such as clairvoyance, therapy and improving spiritual practice.
We were taught about the sleep cycle, deep sleep, REM sleep, hypnogogic states and when lucid dreaming is more likely to occur.
We learned that in the modern day in the West, lucid dreaming was first researched in 1975 and expanded upon in 1980 and most importantly in 2010. This was when modern brain scans proved lucid dreaming scientifically, and numerous experiments showed that people were conscious even when they were not awake.
Morgan and Maria taught us the 3 main ways to lucid dream:
- DILD: Dream Induced Lucid Dream
- WILD: Waking Induced Lucid Dream
- MILD: Mnemonic Induced Lucid Dream
The day also included numerous practical aspects of lucid dreaming. We did an experiment on awareness and concentrating on the five senses, as well as two lucid dream experiments based on the WILD method, for around ten minutes and thirty minutes. The second experiment gave the best results for me, in that I could actually feel myself falling asleep and start to dream, but I was also completely conscious of this happening, and could bring myself back into a waking state. I found it was very new to me and completely amazing!
I also learned ways to document and keep track of dreams, from keeping a journal by the bed, to specialised phone apps and sleep friendly screen lights, to alarms that can wake you at night periodically so that you can document your dreams.
Over the weekend I met people who had very wonderful testimonies on their lucid dream states, and we all shared from our experiences. I would definitely do such a workshop in the future! It taught me many useful things that will enrich my spiritual practice, help me overcome fears and allow me to have wonderful all night adventures in my sleep.
Happy lucid dreaming everyone!
by Cosmin Maris
When we are ill, we have one wish – to be whole again, to be healed. There is often a sense that we should not be ill in the first place and that as soon as the symptoms appear we need to get rid of them, by all possible means.
But what if we approached our symptoms with a degree of positivity, as signals and messages from deep within us that will help us not only to heal but also to progress along our spiritual path?
Deciphering those messages is an essential starting point, as teachers Kate Wallwork and Nikos Frangi told student Vivienne Rush in this podcast, outlining some of the tools and techniques in Tantra and Yoga that can facilitate spiritual healing.
Attendees to the workshop when you listen to the podcast, please note any questions you would like to take along to the Spiritual Healing workshop in London on Saturday 25th March.
Tribute to the Eternal Feminine & to the Feminine Mystery that exists in every woman
Even for the uninitiated, the feminine nature has a mysterious resonance with the poetic sentiment. In human beings who aspire to discover their soulmate, this passionate search is fundamentally about discovering the polar opposite half that we lack. In reality, this quest illustrates the unconscious desire to achieve the androgynous state. In the realm of manifestation, some human beings sense, and others even intuit, that beyond the binary pulsation of plus-minus, yang-yin, solar-lunar, masculine-feminine, lies the mysterious unknown and infinite, or God the Father, who works incessantly.
I remember that when I started practising yoga, at one stage I had the opportunity to study a Tantric text, in which I discovered a phrase that appeared to be surprising to me at the time. Here is that sutra that I memorised: “If a practitioner of the Tantra system can understand the soul of a woman – due to their state of perfect identification, or Samyama, they will thus be able to know the world, together with the occult forces that reside beyond it, and at the same time they will be able to find the Almighty and Eternal Brahmin, God, who exists beyond this world.”
This phrase appeared to me as being banal, but at the same time fascinating and enigmatic. If it would be read in a superficial way, it would make you think of a kind of cliché that we meet in some age-old traditions. The ancient archetype of the anima mundi, or the Soul of the World, has been perpetuated in the esoteric traditions of the West since ancient times. On this it can be said that in a certain way, many people have the intuition of the fascinating, intimate connection of women with the nature of the World. It is worth remembering that it is no coincidence that the 21st card of the Tarot, which represents the World, has a beautiful naked woman in the centre as its symbol, that for the initiated, evokes the Mystery of Shakti.
Regarding the sutra that I quoted, it is necessary to add that when I read it, I had a flash of intuition of a truth that was hidden behind the apparent truth of those words. It was then that I began to intuit that there was undoubtedly a mysterious “something” beyond the World, and I might say that after this, the intuition settled in my consciousness forever. The enigma that was intuited in the sutra remained alive in me for many years, and even became a leading idea during my spiritual transformation that, over time, became a guiding beacon that helped me very much.
Any spiritual transformation undoubtedly hides countless paradoxes. As a whole, as soon as they begin to indicate the tortuous path of spiritual transformation, establishing milestones and essential stages ,most traditions of wisdom do not hesitate to advise, and even often dogmatically forbid, any form of association or companionship with women. During the period in which he composed hymns dedicated to the Mother Goddess, the great sage and yogi Shankaracharya wrote (because of his rejection of woman and femininity) the following: “Of all forms of birth, human birth is the most difficult to obtain; but even more difficult is to obtain birth in a male body.”
Whether they belong to the East or West, a large number of monastic traditions – which preach asceticism and renunciation as the only way to spiritual liberation – insist irrevocably on the need to distance yourself from everything that is directly or indirectly related to femininity. In their view, femininity is the cause of all sensual and worldly deviations, being also seen as the object of many temptations.
The sutra, however, spoke about the woman’s soul and contained a secret whose intimate and deep understanding could lead to a much greater knowledge. That sutra was referring to the knowledge that lies beyond this world and even beyond it all. But we know that behind the occult energies of this world there is nothing else but GOD THE FATHER, who is also the Absolute and the mysterious Unknown. The sutra revealed a great secret. Properly understood, the sutra sought to make us understand that knowing through perfect identification (SAMYAMA) the soul of a woman can also help us to know the mysteries of Creation and, more than that, can even help us discover GOD THE FATHER.
The message of the sutra made “something” profoundly resonate in my being. Afterwards, I often meditated on the enigmatic message of the sutra . Little by little, I felt that message literally invading my entire being as if it had awakened, in a certain way, every cell. Then, that ineffable state that arose gradually amplified and enlivened my being, often causing an intense and profound uplifting thrill to appear. When the state became more and more extensive and overwhelming, I meditated deeply upon it.
I found, over time, that what settled in my inner universe by evoking the magic of the words in the sutra was a great fecundity. It was, I could say, also an intense, poetic state. The sutra therefore awakened an intimate and ineffable state of poetry in my inner universe. At the same time, a spontaneous state of transfiguration appeared, and my perception of the whole world and even of my own being became completely different. In order to define it, I could say that the state was at the same time an ineffable, poetic experience. When I entered that state, I discovered mysterious rhythms and an indescribable “music” that circulated both through everything that existed in my being, as well as through what was outside of me. At the same time, a mysterious reality began to be revealed to me, which existed simultaneously beyond all partial realities and it made me experience something mysterious, ecstatic and intoxicating. The state that revealed itself to me was magical and at the same time poetic.
Later I realised, due to the intensity of that experience, which became more and more profound and clear, that many human beings seek to live and understand in a way, I could say poetically, beings, phenomena and things. Now I could say that at that time I undoubtedly entered deep states of beneficial trance and was often animated by an almost visceral need to experience the magic and poetry of Life. That indescribable twinning of magic and poetry, which I lived fully, revealed in my being a condition of the soul that penetrates the nature of all things, to discover in all of them the intimate vibration of all they have inside. The enigmatic and essential music conveyed by their form made me discover certain subtle messages that were hidden beyond them.
When I was intensely and deeply experiencing this state, I had the feeling that it is a complex and indescribable experience. Beyond all this, however, I had the feeling that I was experiencing something that was essentially feminine. This deeply feminine something that was contained in my inner universe appeared to me as a body, simultaneously new and old, which existed in my own body. That feminine something was a body of magic and poetry.
Through repetition and gradual deepening, this state triggered deep transformations in me. Later I came to realise that in fact there is no true philosophy, no religion and no true spirituality without poetry, without transfiguration, without magic and without conscious Eros. The Eternal Feminine, that in the East is expressed by the state of shakti, gives spirituality a certain poetry, magic, transfiguration and mystery.
Regarding these states that I previously described, I could also add that, around the age of nine, an extraordinary event made me aware of my spiritual destiny. I remember that at the age when many boys are tempted to masturbate, I experienced an inexplicable and even ecstatic exaltation in my whole body, which made me enter a mysterious and magical world – a world that, in my view back then, was imaginary and unlimited. That mysterious and magical land I entered was made up of gigantic, never-before-seen arabesques and brightly coloured swirls. At the same time, the experience made me sink into a state of timeless interiorisation. In this way, bodily instincts and sexuality were in a certain way replaced in me – in fact, I could say they were sublimated – through the means of this much more subtle and intangible Eros, which travelled more through my psychic universe rather than my senses, feeding me with magical states and images, and opening in me a mystical fondness.
Although I was quiet and solitary in nature, when I sometimes returned from school with two little girls of my age, I felt the urge to tell them some extraordinary stories. I realised, especially then, that the wonderful and charming world that existed in me could only be understood and shared by those two little girls, who I remember were very attentive to everything I told them. This intimate state of listening produced in me a kind of constant stimulation, which in this way fed an uplifting, euphoric aspiration of my unconscious Eros, which was in effervescence. Now I could say that then there was a perfect symbiosis between the receptivity of those two little girls and the inner, spontaneous activity of my creative imagination.
Back then, without realising it, through everything I was doing, I was already on my way to courting the MUSE of inspiration. At the same time, I was communicating with Eros and even realised – without knowing it – the first sublimation of amorous energy, in a complete state of innocence. Much later, I came to understand that Eros, in my case, was much more mobilised by my inner femininity than by my outer masculinity. The state of listening is, without a doubt, a feminine activity that invites sharing in the most natural way, as well as inviting a liberating activation of the creative imagination.
Human beings who nurture an intense state of spiritual aspiration end up living in a mysterious intermediary world, which is tangent to two complementary realities: the reality of the Visible World and that of the Invisible Worlds. The aspirational engagement on a spiritual path aims to reconcile these two worlds in the universe of the being, eventually making them mutually interchangeable. Their respective realities mix and melt at a certain point in the reality of the being in which they acquire a unique meaning.
Through her biological, vital and psychic nature, the woman lives in a similar world, between manifested and unmanifested, within which the perception and understanding of things, phenomena and beings have a character that is more aesthetic, I could say, than moral. I want to emphasise that here I use the word “AESTHETIC” in its widest and at the same time deepest sense: the Greek word AISTHETIKOS actually expresses an ineffable faculty of being penetrated, which makes us feel in an intense and profound way the harmonious unity of things and beings. This faculty is, we could say, predominant and inherent in femininity. The woman feels intuitively before she knows, the man wants to know before he feels, the woman lives to understand, the man must understand in order to feel that he lives.
For those who look with great attention at the surrounding reality, it is deeply significant that ethe world of poetry and art in particular is so permeated by the feminine presence. This aspect is valid even if most of the authors who have given humanity the greatest masterpieces belong to the male sex. It is worth asking ourselves if it is not through them that the feminine aspect manifests itself.
Today I could say that, thanks to a mysterious inner magnetisation, whose subtlety and magnitude grew over time, I gradually became aware of the importance of the androgynous state. This process was accompanied by an ever deeper awareness of the inner feminine. Through awakening the androgynous state, that feminine sensitivity which the masculine dexterity uses is then manifested in an ample and profound way.
Spirituality, art and poetry are, we could say, a continuity of nature within the human being. When they act together, in complete symbiosis, they “fertilise” the human soul. The feminine is not only related to nature in a symbolic way. More than that, the feminine is the keeper (most often unsuspecting) of nature’s secrets and at the same time the open-air altar of its essence.
Being at the same time the giver and nurturer of Life, the woman embodies the reality of the realised human nature. She has exercised this sacerdotal mission since the dawn of history, when she “conspired” with nature, sowing the first seeds that gave birth to agriculture; while men conspired by stalking game in the forests or hatching plans that would lead them to endless wars and the organised destruction of nature.
At the present time, especially through art, the feminine manifests itself in the world. In the East, the feminine accompanies aspirants along their spiritual journey, especially through the Tantra Yoga system. Achieving the glorious androgynous state is an alchemical fusion of the masculine and feminine, which brings forth a mysterious third entity that can only be enjoyed by those who have attained this extraordinary state.
by Gregorian Bivolaru
Yoga Teacher Emeritus Gregorian Bivolaru is the author of the yoga course taught in Tara and our sister schools in the ATMAN Federation. Having dedicated his entire life towards helping people awaken to that which is divine, Grieg is recognised by many as having a high level of enlightenment and spiritual power, and as belonging to the highest category of spiritual guides, bodhaka.
From the very beginning, Grieg’s approach to yoga was recognised as revolutionary and extremely efficient, and it was not long before his teachings began to spread worldwide, with schools in 30 countries currently. The fundamental axis of the teachings is the Law of Occult Resonance, a principle at the essence of creation that governs every manifestation of the universe and how everything inter-relates. The Law of Resonance is the primary key of the spiritual practice of Tara, and through its application, a whole new dimension to Yoga opens.
When Grieg was asked to which spiritual tradition he belonged, he replied:
Countless testimonies suggest that Grieg is always present in the souls of those who are open towards his mysterious presence and spiritual transformation. His disciples say that he always helps those who ask for his support, who sincerely wish to merge with God in the purity of the heart. Emanating a special ambiance of spiritual effervescence and deep peace of the heart, in a godly way he enjoys any progress we make towards the discovery of our immortal Self, reminding us to always be grateful to God for this help.
Grieg aims to promote universal teachings that can be applied by anyone, irrespective of faith or religion, and to awaken the human consciousness so that on a planetary level a new era of spirituality, called satya yuga, can blossom, where humanity will again live in accordance with godly laws, and come to recognise God in all that exists.
Grieg’s life has always been marked by the exceptional and mysterious. In the short account below, there is a glimpse into the world of this remarkable man who has, despite many obstacles, dedicated his entire being towards helping people awaken to the divine life.
Youth and the call of cosmic consciousness
Gregorian Bivolaru, or Grieg, was born on 12th March 1952 into a humble family and grew up in the village of Tărtășești near Bucharest.
From a very early age, Grieg had a special character, with a natural inclination towards contemplation and an immense desire to know. For hours and hours, the little Gregorian would stay in the library corner of the local village store, reading all the books he could find in his modest village, in order to allay his thirst for knowledge. Grieg amazed both his family and his teachers with his profoundness, maturity and wisdom that exceeded his age by far.
Even as a child, Grieg intuitively knew that he would have an exceptional destiny. He had dreams and visions in which he experienced godly revelations – a cosmic consciousness beginning to beckon him. In the following he remembers such a ‘dream’:
Adolescence – the discovery of Yoga and the enchantment of Eastern Spirituality
During his adolescence, Grieg began to visit the large libraries of the capital where he stayed for days in a row from the opening to the closing of the library, insatiably reading books from a wide range of fields – Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Philosophy, Psychology, Parapsychology, Hypnosis, Alchemy, Sexology, Medicine.
Upon discovering the fascinating Eastern spirituality, however, he intuited that he had found something of fundamental value that could lead him towards the ultimate truth. Enchanted, he started to seek out the fundamental yoga treatises, which were kept only in the secret depositories of the libraries and which he himself would then translate directly from English and French.
Grieg went deeper and deeper into the yogic practices and study of the sacred yogic scriptures, as well as of the works of some modern sages like Ramakrishna, Sivananda and Yogananda, and he successfully practiced the techniques he encountered. By the age of fifteen, Grieg was practicing Yoga for eight to nine hours per day.
During those years, Grieg often had recurring dreams about himself being a Tibetan Yogi of high spiritual attainment. As a result of these dreams, he had many recollections of various yogic techniques that he started to practice with amazing results. Perplexing synchronistic events would link the events of his dreams with the events of his daily life. Gradually, Grieg learned to recognize the significance of these events and to later put them together into a coherent system of fundamental spiritual truths of huge proportions.
Because of this, he was able to attain in a very short time, by practicing on his own, a whole series of accomplishments that are generally considered paranormal. All these experiments culminated at the age of 19, when he had a decisive breakthrough and attained the state of spiritual awakening (the revelation of the Supreme Self, known in Yoga as Atman).
Teaching Yoga under Romania’s repressive communist regime
Grieg spent his childhood and youth under the regime of the Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceaușescu, in a country that was suffocated by the pressure of the iron curtain and was under the mute terror of the infamous “Securitate” (the Romanian Secret Service). For fear of any tendency of freeing people from the influences of the regime, as soon as any person would display any interest towards non-materialistic fields that were far away from the accepted State philosophy (namely, dialectic materialism), they were placed on the blacklist of the Securitate.
Grieg’s activities very quickly brought him to the attention of the communist authorities that were very reticent to any “stepping out of the box” and strongly condemned any spiritual activity. The Securitate began to systematically follow him and monitor his activities. When he began to share letters with certain famous spiritual personalities from abroad (such as Mircea Eliade, the famous Romanian historian of religion), his pursuit became even more incessant.
Thus, in 1971 (before his 20th birthday) the first abusive intervention of the Securitate took place. By giving a totally fictional, absurd reason (they ‘had to search for weapons that had been stolen from a storehouse’), the Securitate searched his entire house and left with all his spiritual books, all the journals and notebooks he had made related to the spiritual path, and all the correspondence with the people from abroad that he kept!
It was in that same year of 1971 that Grieg began to teach yoga. His first class was of just 14 people. Yet, in 1972, when he wished to begin a new group of yoga practice and he had placed posters around the city in order to announce this, the Securitate blocked the phone number (given as contact) on the respective posters, sabotaging his activities.
Thus, with many obstacles, Grieg taught yoga openly, in various cultural houses and student centres, until 1982 when the great scandal around the Transcendental Meditation Movement in Romania was set up, an occasion on which the Ceaușescu regime arrested and imprisoned tens of thousands of students of the Transcendental Meditation Movement (completely destroying their careers) under the accusation of ‘suspect mysticism that might lead to the destabilization of the state’.
Yoga and meditation made illegal
Following this event, Ceausescu forbid all spiritual practices, especially the ones originating from the Orient. Even the teaching and practice of Psychology as an independent academic discipline was outlawed for fear of communist propaganda being undermined. Meditation & yoga were made illegal in communist Romania, considered activities against the state, a situation that was without precedence in the entire world (not valid today)!
Nevertheless, by courageously taking on much greater risks, Grieg continued to teach yoga “underground” and in the following years the Securitate surveilled, bugged, ransacked, arrested and tortured Grieg and several of his students.
In 1984 (aged 32), Grieg was arrested and imprisoned on the aberrant accusation that he planned to make a group of yogis that would annihilate Ceausescu by paranormal means! This paranoid masquerade served the excuse for the Securitate to imprison Grieg (for an undetermined time) whilst his prosecution was pursued, during which no information about him was released, nor any outside communication with him allowed (with friends, family, lawyers).
Grieg decided to protest in a novel way to draw attention to his case and the completely abusive attitude of the state. He managed to spectacularly escape the maximum-security prison – the first and only time in the entire history of this institution – some say through using his paranormal endowments. Because there were no actual grounds for accusing him in the first place, Grieg did not hide himself from the authorities. Yet, the corrupt Romanian justice system again abusively sent him back to another prison and kept him with chains on his feet, as was done with the most dangerous criminals. Grieg spent 18 months in prison just for being a yoga teacher.
In 1989, Grieg was again arrested and sent to Poiana Mare Psychiatric Hospital, a desolate and pitiful place, notorious for being a detention centre where undesirable political dissidents of the Communist regime were condemned, often to gradual extermination. (Over the two years 2002-2003, a report showed that 155 ‘patients’ died at the hospital ). Indeed, the drug prescription to be administered to Grieg would have killed any normal man in a few weeks. Yet, the doctor who was supposed to administer this treatment risked his career and refused to apply what was demanded of him.
Grieg’s teachings spread worldwide
Following the Romanian Revolution in 1989, the communist regime officially ended in Romania. Romania was now apparently free and yoga was permitted again. A commission was urgently established and Grieg was subsequently freed from the prison-hospital of Poiana Mare. Wasting no time whatsoever, Grieg immediately opened the yoga course (in January 1990) and also legally founded MISA or the Movement for Spiritual Integration into the Absolute.
Romanians, thirsty of outer and inner freedom, literally flocked to his courses and in a very short time Grieg’s students were in the thousands. Practically he created a new avenue for the Yoga practice in Romania. He collaborated extensively with the Romanian Ministry of Health and with the Association of Psychosomatic Medicine of Bucharest, and helped many people to heal themselves from terminal diseases with the help of yoga practices, as well as establishing Ayurvedic centres.
Grieg’s teachings continued to spread further and by 2004 yoga schools offering his yoga course had been opened in more than 30 countries (all schools becoming part of the ATMAN Federation), making it one of the most comprehensive and intensive yoga courses in the world, and perhaps the largest yoga movement in Europe.
Grieg’s spiritual mission and the enduring persecutions
Although the communist regime had apparently ended, Grieg’s harassment continued more-or-less openly over the years, accompanied by a persistent ‘smear campaign’ by the mass media – having the purpose of fully destroying his public image. In fact, according to a study by Soteria International (a human rights foundation), Grieg and MISA have proved to be one of the most popular subjects in post-communist Romania, with over 8000 printed libelous articles against them and over 10,000 reports in the TV news!
History has often proved that is difficult for society to accept the inspiration of deeply beneficial, evolutionary tendencies of a revolutionary spiritual reformer (like Gandhi, for example).
The mass media have constantly aimed at distorting, despising and mocking his activities and efforts to promote genuine, universal divine values. Yet Grieg continues without hesitation with his personal mission in bringing forth the planetary spiritual revival, despite the numerous personal attacks, slanders and even assassination attempts.
When Grieg was asked many years ago about his spiritual mission, he answered:
Political Asylum in Sweden
In March 2004, in a desperate attempt to create an event that would draw the public attention away from an imminent government scandal, the prime minister of the time, Adrian Nastase ordered the arrest of Grieg, setting up a legal file backed up with the full support of the media. ‘Operation Christ’ was the largest police operation since the communist regime in Romania and involved armed troops bursting into the ashrams in Bucharest, holding down innocent yoga students at gunpoint and confiscating spiritual materials (books, etc) as well as personal items.
Forced by such dramatic circumstances and believing that he would stand no chance of a fair trial in Romania, Grieg fled the country and was granted protection and political asylum in Sweden. (Currently, this is one of the very few cases in the European Union where a citizen is protected against another state inside the Union).
Over the years, important voices from Romania’s post-communist democracy, including the reports of Amnesty International and the Helsinki Committee for Human Rights, have spoken against these glaring abusive behaviors by the various state departments against Grieg and the schools offering his teachings. Eventually, in 2010 Gregorian Bivolaru was found not guilty by the Sibiu Court of Law in Romania. The court decision mentioned that “the incriminating deeds are nonexistent”.
Currently, Grieg has residence in Sweden, continuing his rich literary activity of writing yoga lessons and books on various spiritual issues. He has written more than 35 books, and he continues to write and deliver an impressive number of lectures for international congresses and events. He also answers thousands of letters and messages from all over the world from people who ask for his advice.