Shiva Stories and Teachings from the Shiva Mahapurana By Vanamali

The traditional understanding of Shiva told through stories and teachings from the Shiva Mahapurana

• Explains Shiva’s contradictory forms, such as destroyer or benefactor, and how his form depends on the needs of the devotee

• Reveals how Shiva’s teachings allow one to see through the illusions at the root of all grief and alienation in human life

• Explores Shiva’s relationships with Durga, Shakti, Sati, and Parvati and with his sons Ganesha and Kartikeya

Shiva, the most ancient and complex deity of the Hindu pantheon, has been portrayed in many contrasting lights: destroyer and benefactor, ascetic and householder, wild demon slayer and calm yogi atop Mount Kailash. Drawing from the Hindu sacred text the Shiva Mahapurana–said to be written by Shiva himself–Vanamali selects the essential stories of Shiva, both those from his dark wild side and those from his benevolent peaceful side.

Vanamali discusses Shiva’s many avatars such as Shambunatha and Bhola, as well as Dakshinamurti who taught the shastras and tantras to the rishis. She explores Shiva’s relationships with Durga, Shakti, Sati, and Parvati and with his sons Ganesha and Kartikeya. Examining Shiva’s acceptance of outsiders, Vanamali explains why ghosts and ghouls are his attendants and why his greatest devotees are demon kings, like Ravana. She includes famous Shiva stories such as the Descent of the River Ganga and Churning the Milky Ocean as well as those that reveal the origin of the festival of lights, Diwali; his creation of the cosmic couple, or hierogamos; and how Shiva and Parvati taught the world the secrets of Kundalini Shakti. The author also draws upon Shaivite teachings to illustrate the differences between Western science and Vedic science and their explanations for the origins of consciousness.

Integrating Shiva’s two sides, the fierce and the peaceful, Vanamali reveals that Shiva’s form depends on the needs of the devotee. Understanding his teachings allows one to see through the illusions at the root of all grief and alienation in human life, for Shiva is the wielder of maya who does not fall under its spell. While Ganesha is known as the remover of obstacles, Shiva is the remover of tears.

Mataji Devi Vanamali has written 7 books on the gods of the Hindu pantheon, including Shakti, Hanuman, and The Complete Life of Krishna, as well as translating the Bhagavad Gita. She is the founder and president of Vanamali Gita Yoga Ashram Trust, dedicated to sharing the wisdom of Sanatana Dharma and charitable service to children. She lives at the Vanamali ashram in Rishikesh, northern India.

Mataji Devi Vanamali

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The Power of Silence: The Riches That Lie Within by Graham Turner

Many people find the very notion of silence uncomfortable, even alarming or embarrassing. They are gripped by a kind of agoraphobia of the spirit. Many try to obliterate silence by turning up the volume control of music or television, or the volume of their days.

The Power of Silence explores the world of silence—a mysterious and unfathomable realm, perhaps the most underused of all resources—and those who recognize its value. It is based on extensive interviews with those whose business is silence and who understand its creative and therapeutic uses.

Graham Turner explores how the desert fathers sought silence and solitude. Psychotherapists talk of the creative value of silence in their practice as do—perhaps surprisingly—musical composers. The great Catholic centers of contemplation are investigated, as are the practitioners of Zen and those who try to heal the sickness of the mind.

A silent moment is time for tranquility and reflection—something beyond ourselves. The value of welcoming quiet has become a great gap in modern human awareness, and this book seeks to restore our belief in the power of silence.

After gaining a first class degree at Oxford, Graham Turner worked for The Scotsman and The Sunday Times. He then became nationally recognised as the BBC’s first Economics Correspondent. Thereafter he worked for The Daily Telegraph and The Sunday Telegraph writing substantial features which had considerable national influence. He currently lives in Oxford.

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Future Primal: How Our Wilderness Origins Show Us the Way Forward by Louis G. Herman

How should we respond to our converging crises of violent conflict, political corruption, and global ecological devastation?

In this sweeping, big-picture synthesis, Louis G. Herman argues that for us to create a sustainable, fulfilling future, we need to first look back into our deepest past to recover our core humanity. Important clues for recovery can be found in the lives of traditional San Bushman hunter-gatherers of South Africa, the closest living relatives to the ancestral African population from which all humans descended. Their culture can give us a sense of what life was like during the tens of thousands of years when humans lived in wilderness, without warfare, walled cities, or slavery.

Herman suggests we draw from the experience of the San and other earth-based cultures and weave their wisdom together with the scientific story of an evolving universe to help create something radically new — an earth-centered, planetary politics with the personal truth quest at its heart.

Louis G. Herman, a professor of political science at the University of Hawaii–West Oahu, was born in an orthodox Jewish community in apartheid South Africa. He was educated in England, studied medicine at Cambridge University, and then moved to Israel to live on a kibbutz. After a life-changing wartime experience as an Israeli paratrooper, he turned to political philosophy. He lives in Honolulu.

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CONSCIOUSNESS – A conversation with Deepak Chopra and Stuart Hameroff


Published on Jul 15, 2013

Description: Deepak Chopra and Stuart Hameroff take an in-depth dive into the science of consciousness.*

Stuart Hameroff, MD is a physician, Professor of Anesthesiology and Psychology, and Director of the Center for Consciousness Studies at the University of Arizona in Tucson. In medical school, Hameroff became interested in intelligent behavior of microtubules, protein lattices within brain neurons and other living cells.

Hameroff developed theories of microtubules as self-organizing molecular computers, and teamed with Sir Roger Penrose on the controversial Penrose-Hameroff “Orch OR” model of consciousness. Based on quantum computing in brain microtubules, Orch OR connects brain activities to the most basic level of the universe — fundamental spacetime geometry at the Planck scale. At that level, Penrose has proposed Platonic information guiding or influencing conscious choices and perceptions. Orch OR could be seen as providing a plausibility argument for non-locality and spirituality. Hameroff is also involved with clinical trials of transcranial ultrasound (TUS) for mood and cognitive dysfunction, and co-organizes the biennial interdisciplinary conference ‘Toward a Science of Consciousness.’

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