Maha Shivaratri — The Embodiment of Nataraja
The following story has been published in Transcendental Journeys – A Visionary Quest for Freedom – the book, eBook and audiobook by Omananda.
Maha Shivaratri — The Embodiment of Nataraja
Omananda in India during the early nineties
Scarlett and I stayed at Indigo Jane’s and Leonard’s home in Berkeley for a while. Jane sometimes hosted parties that attracted scholars, well known authors, enthusiasts, and lecturers from around the Bay Area who had one thing in common: psychedelic research! On a monthly basis, these often-eccentric people showed up to communicate about new discoveries from psychedelic studies that they were all so passionate about.
Among others, the Shulgins, who wrote the Pihkal and Tihkal books on psychotropic chemistry, came to these most interesting meetings. Dr. Shulgin had a government license to legally experiment with psychoactive substances at his home laboratory in the hills near Berkeley. They also hosted similar events on a regular basis in Marin and elsewhere, some of which I attended together with Jane and Leonard. Sasha Shulgin re-popularized MDMA, a drug commonly known as Ecstasy. Some people that came to these parties occasionally shared their new chemical concoctions with the participants of the gathered crowd, who often seemed more than willing to act as human guinea pigs for the advancement of psychedelic science.
I called Indigo Jane my trip-sister. She was gorgeous and we connected very well on most levels, apart from the sexual. She in fact felt a bit like my mother or my sister, a form of spiritual blood family. We seemed to have this incredible connection, probably because of our mutual awareness of the real unconditional cosmic love that is our common origin, which we recognize and reflect between each other most of the time. I wanted to give back to her in any way I could, because I had lived in her house for nearly one year rent-free, and since I was going on another trip to Asia, I offered to be her travel guide. Thus, Jane decided to take a three-week vacation from the bank to meet me in India. Our plan was to experience Maha Shivaratri and the Kumbh Mela together.
Maha Shivaratri is a very special event celebrated all over India each year. I had experienced Gokarna before during Maha Shivaratri, when I visited the Shiva Atman Temple. This impressive sacred building opens for Westerners only during Maha Shivaratri. I had suggested that Jane and I travel to the festivities that took place four hours south of Northern Goa in Gokarna, but when the actual day of Maha Shivaratri arrived, we felt uncertain about traveling there. Rumors had it that DJ Dino Psaras was in town with an entourage for a marriage celebration for a couple that had come all the way from England to get married during Maha Shivaratri and celebrate this event with a very special Goa party! We were not sure if the party would actually take place, because it could be cancelled at the last minute, or even while in progress, or it might just be a rumor! Still, we were keen to take the chance that if it was going to happen, we certainly did not want to miss it! Thus we decided against traveling to Gokarna and stayed in Goa to celebrate Maha Shivaratri instead. All signs looked promising that we would be able to share an experience of a real Goa party together and that was a rare opportunity for exploring the deeper aspects of oneself.
I was very much in love with Scarlett, but she was still in California. I really missed her presence for this special event. She and I had a unique connection that is Yoga based. Every time before Scarlett and I made love, we practiced Yoga together and every love making session started with a Tantric Yoga session. Scarlett was an aspiring Yogini and I had already practiced Yoga for many years. Together, we envisioned embodying the divine Hindu couple, god Shiva and his consort, goddess Parvati. Maha Shivaratri was their, and thus our, celebration!
My trip-sister Indigo Jane and I had dressed up in preparation of the divine marriage fiesta that was held in honor of the union of Shiva and Parvati, but also to celebrate the marital bond of the two individuals who sponsored this particular Goa party, which was open for all to join. I dressed in special pants with images of fire on the bottom and Shiva tridents coming out of the flames, one on each leg. My shirt also had a Shiva trident on it across my heart and I was wearing three painted stripes on my forehead that were traditional Shiva markings. I had a red bandana on my head. Jane was of course dressed for dancing in her favorite shade of indigo.
We arrived at the party site around ten in the evening. A Goa dance party was a powerful phenomenon when in full swing, although in the beginning of the night, there were usually lots of Indians on the dance floor who tended to bug the Western ladies like flies. They would typically drink alcohol and thankfully did not last long after getting drunk, since they would pass out quickly.
The majority of people in a Goa party came from various parts of the world other than India. Many, but not all, of the participants would be dancing under the influence of some sort of mind-altering drug. Jane stretched out her hand towards me demanding, “Dose me up!” I asked how much she wanted and she said that she trusted me and that I should give her as much as I thought appropriate for this special occasion.
The friendly Israeli I got the bottle of liquid acid from had said it contained a hundred drops of LSD and that each drop contained a hundred micrograms of the most powerful psychedelic drug known to man (by weight). As a reference, one such drop already creates a mind-altering experience, while three drops can generate some otherworldly experiences, but I kept on dropping onto Jane’s stretched out hand: one, two, three, until I reached seven! With big eyes and a smile, she looked at me and said, “Oh, that much?” “Yes,” I replied. I then also dropped a large amount of LSD onto my hand and ingested that too.
I knew from experience that very good acid switches the imagination consistently at around a 500 microgram dose, but sometimes even at 350 micrograms. By a switch of the imagination, I refer to the center of the brain that I also like to call the master-room, where impulses of our senses normally create a reflected image of the perceived reality inside our mind. A flip can even completely abandon the information obtained from any physical and ordinary sensory input sources altogether during a strong psychedelic trip. A person can thus internalize an occurrence on any powerful psychedelic substance that can create an experience as real as life itself, as the mind or the imagination takes impulses derived from other sources that include psychic, super-sensory, metaphysical, extra-sensory, and even imaginary. Most psychic stimuli and influences that are often based on associated memories then become the source of reality-simulation, which inspires activity within the mind’s eye.
The uninitiated often describe powerful psychedelic drug-induced experiences as hallucinations, but psychological and psychic processes creating what the initiated often prefer to call “visions” can reveal significant insights that are not random at all. As mentioned before, this imagery world can appear as real as normal physical life seems to us. The grand illusion is always inside our mind, no matter whether its stimulus comes from sensory or extrasensory information. Tripping on high doses can seem like a big dream and it might feel quite scary and real, or even surreal at times. In addition to optical distortions, psychedelic experiences can also involve alterations in all ordinary senses, including olfactory, auditory, touching, and tasting! The intensity of an LSD experience, just like any other drug-induced experience, typically depends on the dosage taken per body weight. Even the cleanest street LSD, such as Needlepoint, did not have more purity than 80%, unlike the pharmaceutical-grade LSD manufactured by Sandoz laboratories. People who sell illegal drugs in the underground market will often say that each dose contains considerably more than they actually do, so with seven drops times 70 micrograms, which was most likely the real dose, we would have taken around half a milligram of LSD each. As a nurse I am experienced in dealing out pharmaceutical drugs, which LSD used to legally be, and I felt, that was the appropriate amount needed to give our magical journey that night the fuel to take our rocket to the stars.
It did not take long before my imagination switched and a portal opened within me. I was visually and energetically guided upwards through white marble temple steps to enter a golden diamond chamber, where consecrated spirits united the masculine and feminine aspects of myself in a divine marriage ceremony. Without resistance, I entered into a space of non-dualistic oneness, and a grand vision of the Nataraja, the dancing form of Lord Shiva who performs the divine dance known as the Tandava, merged with my individual consciousness. I then became Shiva and danced the dance of fire, destruction (of ignorance) and spiritual renewal. The Tantric Sutras began channeling through me, one by one, as I embodied them and was branded by this ancient Hindu mysticism.
Shiva’s powerful dance came with sacred universal insights that suggested cosmic information as a mirrored reflection to the phenomenal world that my bodies physical senses could still perceive. The expanded consciousness that lasted seemingly forever was also firmly grounding, with total awareness in the present moment. The visual experience can be imagined as being fully conscious and dancing inside a ring of fire, with all inner worlds being endless and truthful, while all outer worlds are the infinite possibilities of Maya that represents all created illusion in the phenomenal world. The Nataraja, or dancing form of Shiva, reflects the outer perceptions with inner receptions and evokes an internalized ever-present truth. What is perceived through the physical senses creates an instant internal non-ordinary experience. This process submits truthful ever-changing and adapting data in enlightening contemporary form, along with wisdom.
Jane and I were dancing like crazy as all this was going on. In fact, the entire party was! A Goa party can be a total madhouse at times. Many people have mystical experiences on the dance floor that is typically filled with thousands of individuals, of which we were just two. Jane and I were pulling in energy from the cosmos as vortices of light to heal our planet. Streams of light beings entered our atmosphere and the party served as a platform for interstellar travels. It felt as if we danced in a very busy intergalactic spaceport, but not only light beings traveled through the star-gate of this Goa party. Demons also came, as the party became a battleground for the forces of dark and light, or good and evil!
A man was standing naked on the dance floor masturbating and he started screaming as if possessed by demons. Some nearby Israelis were disconcerted by this behavior and became very aggressive toward this guy. I saw how they were considering striking him and shortly before they were about to attack this masturbating oddity, I came in between them and the man who was going through a heavy energy release. I was intervening as Shiva and felt very powerful, free of any form of fear and fierce with the god’s destructive powers.
None of us could verbally communicate during that moment on such high doses. Speaking under the influence of large amounts of LSD is often not possible, because the mind moves much faster than the tongue can express and all things are communicated telepathically instead. So, we did just that. I realized that the individual going through his release was experiencing a healing that would have been disturbed by the intervention of these judgmental lower-dimensional human beings who were simply ignorant of the reality of LOVE and trapped in their fear and anger.
I remembered meeting one of the Israelis when I was living in Pushkar at the Lotus Hotel where we lived under a tree. His name was Shimon and he was always making fun of Sita-Ram, a woman who sat quietly by the fire all winter long not saying much. He treated her like his inferior. One day, when I sat with Sita Ram by the fire, she opened up and told me her devastating story.
Sita Ram said she was in an Ashram where she had served her guru for many years. Her guru gave her harsh teachings and beat her like a slave until a point when he thought she was ready to go out into the world on her own. This is when he kicked her out of the Ashram against her will and as Sita Ram wandered off crying down the Himalaya Mountains where the Ashram was located, she was attacked by a group of Indian men that gang raped her for many hours. After that horrible experience, which she barely survived, she came to Pushkar where I met her. She was sobbing when she told me this, but the sick thing is that Shimon, the Israeli, knew about Sita Ram’s unfortunate situation and yet still treated her worse than an animal. He made fun of her constantly.
When I saw Shimon in that party trying to physically attack this poor fellow, I blocked the attack and protected this masturbator until he was done with what he needed to do, after which he naturally calmed down. A woman then came like an angel out of nowhere to cover him gently with a piece of cloth. I witnessed how he transformed and got healed. This was not the only incident of someone masturbating naked on the dance floor in Goa that intense night where I was able to help to transmute the energy to something more positive and loving.
A few times I saw an indigo tornado flying by and it gave me the confidence that Jane was also having a great time, but eventually, at one point in the morning, the majestic opening to this vision that had initiated me into the Nataraja, the dancing form of Shiva, and the Tantric Sutras closed in the same way as it had begun. I envisioned coming back down the temple steps and just like a curtain closing in a movie theater, I was back on planet earth and in my physical shell again. After this divine and transcendental cosmic experience I looked at the world with a much more aloof perspective. All the extraordinary mystical experiences I have had in my life stayed with me forever!
Once the music had stopped, Jane and I went to the ocean where we built a Shiva linga out of sand, as is the tradition. I showed Jane a huge Shiva face carved into a rock by the ocean. She was beautiful and naked making love to the ocean and posing. I took nude photographs of her with my camera that had no film in it, but I did not know that until later. We were both still very high from the acid and then walked towards the village of Anjuna by the sea. An older Indian man came running after us. “Your clothes, your clothes,” he said. We were indeed totally naked and had forgotten ourselves completely, as we walked off into the distance, free as spirits can be.