The Pulsating Uncreated Heart : Origin & Center of Creation

     Pulsating Uncreated  
   Origin &  Center of   

Sutras 3, 4 & 20 
of the 
the Four-fold 
Symmetrical Photographs

This is the third project in a triadic series in which I contemplate Swami Shantananda's commentaries on the 11th century yogic text known as the Pratyabhijna-hrdayam in relation to my Creative Process in photography and selected recent photographs.

The Pratyabhijna-hrdayam consists of twenty brief sutras, concentrated spiritual teachings or aphorisms.  My first project in the series--a visual and textual contemplation on the first Sutra--is entitled: Grace-Photograph-Symbol-Universe.  The second project, Creation-Dissolution of a World is a visual and textual contemplation on Sutra #2.  The photographs presented in these first two projects were "straight" photographs, however in this the third project I'll be presenting a collection of recent Four-fold Symmetrical photographs in relation to Swamiji's commentaries on third, fourth and last, or twentieth sutras.

There have been many translations and commentaries on the Pratyabhijna-hrdayam since it was written in eleventh century Kashmir.  The usual English translation of the title is "The Heart of Recognition."  However Swami Shantananda translates it as The Splendor of Recognition.  He provides an explanation for his way of translating the title, but that will come later in the project.  First, I want to explain why I highly recommend his contemporary reading of this important ancient yogic text.

To begin with, Swami Shantananda is a Siddha Yoga swami, and I have been practicing Siddha Yoga since 1987.  This path is a yoga of grace; through my own personal experiences of this yoga I have gained direct understanding of the importance and significance of grace in my own spiritual-creative endeavors.  Swamiji's remarkably clear commentaries on the Pratyabhijna-hrdayam reflect his many years of deep contemplation and study of the yogic scriptures, and they are based in his own personal experiences of the yogic teachings and practices, experiences which he shares abundantly and selflessly in his commentaries. And perhaps most importantly, his writings--as well as his spiritual practices--have been guided and supported by the grace and enlightened wisdom of his two Siddha Yoga Meditation Masters.

It was Swami Muktananda who encouraged Swamiji to write a book on the Pratyabhijna-hrdayam; and after Baba's passing in 1982 Gurumayi Chivilasananda continued supporting Swamiji with her grace and knowledge so that he could complete this important project.  Given the grace that has been the essential foundation of this book, I consider The Splendor of Recognition to be a sacred work, a book radiant with grace.  I consider it worthy of the deepest respect, study and continued contemplation.  Indeed, I began quoting passages from Swamiji's book in the context of my Creative Process in photography in my "An Imaginary Book."  This large multi-chaptered project initiated an entire and ongoing series of The Sacred Art Photography Projects of which the present project--and its two other projects which preceded this one--are a part.  


Because the twenty sutras of the Pratyabhijna-hrdayam are extremely brief and concentrated, they require extensive explanation and continual references to its historical context in order to most fully understand the meaning of the sutras.  In my opinion, only someone who has a full grasp of the sanskrit language, the philosophical, social and historical contexts in which the sutras were written, and who has had direct personal experiences associated with these timeless yogic teachings is adequately qualified to bring the truest, deepest meanings of the sutras to life for our contemporary times.

As I was re-reading The Splendor of Recognition in preparation for the first two projects in this series, I came upon many wonderful passages which resonated for me particularly in relation to the symmetrical photographs.  Thus, after completing the earlier projects I decided to create the one before you now in which I present a collection of my newest symmetrical photographs in relation to those carefully chosen text excerpts which for me sheds light on this particular aspect of my Creative Process.


The material presented below is divided into three parts: first, I have presented--in large size--fourteen of my symmetrical photographs; Part II consists of a broad selection of text excerpts from Swami Shantanada's commentaries on sutras 3, 4 and 20.  In Part III, I focus more specifically on those aspects of Swamiji's commentaries which are most directly relevant and enlightening in regards to my four-fold symmetrical photographs.  ~  I have interjected smaller sized versions of the fourteen symmetrical photographs amongst some of the text excerpts.  You can click once, twice on both the larger images and the smaller ones to enlarge them for a more close-up, detailed view.   ~   Welcome to the project.

______________________________PART I_____________________________

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Symmetrical Photograph #1    ~   The Pulsating Center of the Heart

Symmetrical Photograph #2    ~   The Pulsating Center of the Heart

Symmetrical Photograph #3    ~   The Pulsating Center of the Heart

Symmetrical Photograph #4    ~   The Pulsating Center of the Heart

Symmetrical Photograph #5    ~   The Pulsating Center of the Heart

Symmetrical Photograph #6    ~   The Pulsating Center of the Heart

Symmetrical Photograph #7    ~   The Pulsating Center of the Heart

Symmetrical Photograph #8    ~   The Pulsating Center of the Heart

Symmetrical Photograph #9    ~   The Pulsating Center of the Heart

Symmetrical Photograph #10    ~   The Pulsating Center of the Heart

Symmetrical Photograph #11    ~   The Pulsating Center of the Heart

Symmetrical Photograph #12    ~   The Pulsating Center of the Heart

Symmetrical Photograph #13    ~   The Pulsating Center of the Heart

Symmetrical Photograph #14    ~   The Pulsating Center of the Heart

______________________________PART II_____________________________

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Swami Shantananda's 
3, 4, & 20

Sutra 3
 Consciousness becomes diverse because  
of the division of the reciprocally 
adapted objects and subjects. 

The World Responds Differently to Each Perceiver
Swami Shantananda devotes an entire chapter to each of the twenty sutras in the Pratyabhijna-hrdayam.  As a creative photographer I am especially interested in the early sutras, for they deal very directly with the relationship between Creation and Perception.  In his commentaries on Sutra 3, for example (see Swamiji's English translation of the sutra, above), he discusses the reciprocity of influence between subjects and objects.  He explains that Subjects are perceivers or "experients," and that there are seven levels of experients in every individual; although all perceivers exists in the same universe, he says each one has an entirely individual view of it.  According to one eleventh century sage, the world is different for each individual.  Each perceiver creates the world differently, and--as the third sutra suggests--the world responds differently to each perceiver.  Swamiji writes:  "depending on how I relate to the world around me, both that world and I can be altered."  In other words, we create the world we perceive; or, reciprocally, the world we perceive is the world we have created through our perception--which is a process of projection.


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Abhasas : A Theory of Manifestation    
As part of his commentary on the third sutra Swamiji explores a tenth century theory regarding abhasas by the sage Utpaladeva.   Abhasas are that which flash-forth, illumine, appear or manifest.  The word also means "splendor."   Swamiji writes: "Utpaladeva postulates that everything we experience and perceive is an abhasa, or a combination of abhasas.  That's like saying that everything in life is a projection, a flashing forth of Reality."

I'm fascinated by this passage especially because of how I experience my own four-fold symmetrical photographs which often seem to be exploding or "flashing forth" into existence from their own internal light, from their own center-point where the four repeated and mirroring images intersect and become one integrated image.

Swami Shantananda goes on to explains Creation in terms of abhasas:  "All created forms issue forth from the unformed and undifferentiated space of Consciousness.  These expressions of God are apparently propelled into existence in an infinite diversity of form, making explicit what lies implicit in the light of prakasa [the Light of Consciousness].  And just as snowflakes crystallize from the atmosphere into marvelous delicate designs, so do abhasas crystallize in an astonishing variety of structures."

Thus, explains Swamiji, the things of the world are simultaneously materialized forms of the great Light of Citi, [Consciousness, the divine Self] and on the other hand they are ephemeral flashes, mere projections onto the screen of Citi with no permanent existence.  "Without abhasas, we couldn't understand what it is to be a subject; our existence would be a diffuse spread of light with no form, no limits, no definitions, and no variety."  Swamiji continues: "without objects, we would not be subjects. . .   This differentiation is the springboard for the entire process of creation."

Then he quotes Utpaladeva:  The Great God is in fact none other than the real Self of each 
and every being.  He alone endures, having evolved into all phenomenal existence through [his] undiversified Self-awareness, "I am this."

Swami Shantananda explains that abhasas "appear at all levels of creation, from the most general to the most particular, from the largest and most concrete right down to the smallest and the most subtle."  He says "an abhasa can be a solar system, a country, a hat, or it can be a molecule or a particle of energy.  Anything that streams out of the great light of Consciousness is an abhasa.  Our physical bodies, for instance, are universes of astonishing complexity, comprising countless abhasas.  At the subtlest level, our bodies are nothing but shining particles of light, pure energy--and according to Utpaladeva, each of these particles is an abhasa."  

In my last project I wrote of Creation and Dissolution in association with the story of Citi who, when she opens and closes her eyelids, creates and dissolves the world.  Swamiji writes: "Abhasas are what flashes forth when Citi opens her eyes.  These flashes come forth incessantly and at a fantastic speed."  And it all happens, says Swami Shantananda, "because of the Lord's Will, the divine will of Shiva."  Each pulsation of this divine energy--also known as spanda-- "creates, maintains, and destroys everything."

Swamiji concludes his chapter on sutra 3 like this:  "Holding the view that creation is an expression of multiple systems of abhasas . . .  gives me a sense of reverence and respect for the magnificent power of Consciousness in all her creative expressions.  We are in truth not any of those particular manifestations . . .  There is nothing in this universe but God.  It's all God.  Only our understanding makes us see it otherwise."


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Sutra 4
Even the individual, whose nature is Consciousness 
in a contracted state, embodies the universe  
in a contracted form.

The Whole of Creation
Swami Shantananda begins his commentaries on Sura 4 by stating:  "The universe and we are one and the same.  . . .  Not only is everything in the universe made of the same 'stuff,' but also that stuff contains within itself everything it ever becomes.  This means that every particle of Consciousness contains the whole of creation . . ."

The Realm of Pure Creation
"The universe has not evolved or developed," writes Swamiji; "it has been created, as a whole, in a flash. . . This creation is not a historic event, not something that happened in the olden days of yore, for in the realm of pure creation the principles that generate our experience of time and space, of cause and effect, do not operate.  Here [in the Realm of Pure Creation] what we experience is that the universe is created anew in every instant.  Right now, as you read these words, new worlds are flashing into being and again dissolving into nothingness.  Shiva and Shakti [God, and His (feminine) counterpart, Citi--the Creative Power of the Universe] do not stop the process of conception at any moment.  If they did, everything would instantaneously disappear into the Great Void."

The Pulsating Heart : Origin & Center of Creation 
Again, Swamiji writes on Sutra 4:  "Whoever has realized her own divinity even for a moment learns that her body contains, in a contracted form, all the principles that comprise the universe and also experiences herself as the origin and center of everything that has been created."

". . .  the Self is the one energy that assumes all these forms . . . [thus] it is impossible to define a specific location as the center of the universe, as when we mark the center of a circle.  Citi [the Creative Power of the Universe; the Light of Consciousness; the Supreme Self] pervades everything equally.  As we recognize the great light that shines in the body, by this very act, we place ourselves within the divine heart and hence in the very center of creation."

Swamiji continues: "It is easier for us to think that God is 'over there' in the heavens, and that we are 'here' on earth, but this is a fragmented truth, partial and incomplete.  The fourth sutra tells us that the Lord is as much on earth as in heaven--and that he is also in the heart of every human being, pulsating with the awareness 'I am.'"

With this understanding then, Swami Shantananda concludes: "Instead of aspiring to reach for knowledge that is far away from us and thus difficult to attain, with regular spiritual practice, we can unravel the knowledge that is hidden within our own being."

Sutra 20
 By entering the perfect I-ness, whose nature is . . . the bliss
 of the light of Consciousness, one attains lordship 
over the wheel of the deities of Consciousness
that carry out all manifestation and
reabsorption.  This is Shiva.

The Uncreated Heart 
In his last chapter of The Splendor of Recognition Swami Shantananda comments on Sutra 20 of the Pratyabhijna-hrdayam.  Here Citi, divine Consciousness, is spoken of in terms of a "wheel of pulsating energy," which has at its center a bindu--a subtle point--around which the wheel turns.  This subtle center-point is "the uncreated heart, the pulsation that exists prior to creation."  And it is this pulsation of divine energy, this spanda, which is ". . . the origin of all worlds, all beings, all things both subtle and manifest."

Swamiji then quotes the great Siddha, Bhagawan Nityananda, who was Swami Muktananda's Guru.  It is said that Nityananda was born already perfected--which is to say he was immersed, constantly, completely, in the primal vibration of the uncreated heart at the time of birth. Though Nityananda spoke very little, whatever words he did speak were pervaded with the fully Conscious knowledge of the Supreme Self.  Nityananda once said:

The heart is the hub of all sacred places; 
go there and roam. 

Swamiji comments:  "Bhagawan Nityananda speaks here of the transcendental heart, the pulsation that underlies our lives, and by calling it a 'hub' he is intimating that the heart is the center, the focal point, of the wheel of Consciousness."

Four Circles Around the Heart
Swamiji quotes the 11th century sage Kshemaraja who wrote: "at all levels, the world we perceive is inextricably woven into the fabric of our existence."

The turning of the Wheel of Consciousness can be viewed, says Swami Shantananda, as "an archetypal movement of life."   And he says ". . . it is a particularly compelling symbol when applied to the circle that Kshemaraja is invoking in sutra 20: the whirling vortex of energies that constitute the subtle human system.  This wheel is composed of four concentric circles around the Self, which is its heart."

"Every human being in the universe is an embodiment of this vibrant wheel of powers, a microcosm of the divine order. . .  These circles of powers intertwine in our lives, creating a huge matrix of vibrational frequencies that pulsate with vitality and creative potential."

"One who has entered the vast heart of Consciousness and has become united with it, has become the Lord of the Wheel and rules the deities that emanate and reabsorb the entire universe."

Pratyabhijna : Recognition 
The usual English translation of Pratyabhijna-hrdayam is "The Heart of Recognition."  At the very end of his commentary on the 20th sutraSwami Shantananda explains the meaning of his book's title, The Splendor of Recognition.  

We learned in sutra 3 that the word "splendor" is one of the meanings of the word abhasa: "that which flashes forth, illumines, appears or manifests" from the Uncreated Heart.  In his closing remarks on sutra 20 Swamiji writes the following about the word Recognition:  

"The English word 'recognition' refers to the sanskrit word pratyabhijna, which is a combination of three words: prati which means 'again, toward, back, in return;'  abhi which means 'going toward, approaching;'  and jna which means 'to know.'  So pratyabhijna can be translated as 'a return toward knowledge' . . .  the knowledge of the knower turning back to know itself.  The light of the Self reflects on itself, always turning to its own rapturous presence as the only knowledge that exists."

Swamiji continues: "Recognition arises when our cognitive understanding of the Lord's glorious nature and our mystical experience of our own Self come together in a flash, in a moment of revelation, and we know: I am God."  
And then, with what seems to me to be an ecstatic summarization of all that has come before it, Swami Shantananda concludes his book with these words of great love and compassion:

In the impeccable space of our own heart, love adores love, bliss revels in bliss, 
light shines on light, every action is an act of worship, and all perceptions 
are forms of meditation.  . . .  For us, the world can appear as the  
play of light and shadow enacted by Citisakti. 
We are, in truth, Shiva, the Lord.

Swami Shantananda

_____________________________PART III_____________________________

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Symmetrical Photographs
In the light of
Swami Shantananda's 
Commentaries on the 

Recognition arises when our cognitive understanding of the Lord's 
glorious nature and our mystical experience of our own Self 
come together in a flash, in a moment of revelation, 
and we know: "I am God."  
Swami Shantananda

The Four-fold Symmetrical photographs first emerged from within my Creative Process spontaneously after I had encountered a series of mystical experiences during a visit to Turkey in 2011.  I have written about these experiences in detail in my project "An Imaginary Book" which includes my very first symmetrical images.  "An Imaginary Book" is also the first project in which I quoted excerpts from Swami Shantananda's book The Splendor of Recognition, and it was the initiating first project in what has since become an ongoing and unfolding series of projects collected together under this titled link: The Sacred Art Photography Projects.

Each of my heart-opening, numinous experiences in Turkey was associated with various forms of Islamic Sacred Art which I encountered every day of my two-week tour.  Each experience was associated with the revelatory feeling of Recognition.

Let me repeat Swmaiji's words: "Recognition arises when our cognitive understanding of the Lord's glorious nature and our mystical experience of our own Self come together in a flash, in a moment of revelation."  

I would say that in all aspects of my Creative Process
--be it in the camera work stage of making the "straight" or source images, in the computer stage of making post-camera refinements of the straight image or the construction of the Four-fold symmetrical images, and finally in the contemplation of my finished photographs, there is an underling and constant presence of the feeling of recognition, though in varying degrees intensity.  


This feeling of recognition is, I believe, a direct experience of divine energy, or grace; and it it is often associated with a particular kind of experience owhich CG Jung has termed synchronicity.  I define this important term as follows: the spontaneous experience of recognition--of intuitive meaning--in the acausal falling together in the flashing-forth of a revelatory moment, of an internal, psychic, archetypal image with its corresponding, outer-world physical counterpart.  When the two inner and outer mirroring images are conjoined in the grace-ful articulate pictorial form of a photographic image, what then becomes manifested is an Image of Unitary Reality, that is to say, a visual Symbol, and in my case, the Symbolic Photograph.       

Synchronicity, then, is an intuitive, spontaneous, subtle perceptual experience of recognition of the divine Self as it is mirrored or reflected in the things of the outer world.  Swami Shantananda and his yogic sages have repeatedly asserted in their writings that perception is projection, that we are the creators of the world we see.  I have written about many of my own personal experiences of this kind.  See for example my Visionary Story #1 in the collection of writings I have entitled "Encounters with the Sacred." 

The "straight" photographs I make, if they function for me as symbols, are images which have unveiled to a significant degree the divine mystery and presence that belies outward appearances.  In a sense, this kind of seeing and creation of visual symbols is a process of purifying my perceptions of the outer world.  It follows, then, that the four-fold symmetrical photographs, at their very best, represent yet a further degree of the purification of the source image.  

"Purification" is synonymous with transformation, and in the case of making the symmetrical photographs, I personally experience some degree of transformation as I become identified with 
the transformation of the source photograph as it undergoes the four-fold construction process.  Indeed, transforming the source photograph into a symmetrical photograph is for me something very close to a sacred ritual.  When the four repeated source images become inexplicably-imaginatively interwoven within each other, when they reflect their light into each other, above and below, left and right, a completely new Imaginal entity of Unitary Reality emerges:  the symmetrical photograph which functions for me as a Symbol.

The Contemplation of Symbols

Symbols are not an end in themselves.  They are containers of grace, images radiant with grace, and as such they are  "doorways" to the the pulsating Uncreated Heart, the divine Self.  When living symbols are contemplated their grace can be integrated into the contemplator's own consciousness.  The Creative Process cannot be fully realized unless the created symbols have been interiorized and integrated by the contemplator, and when the contemplator allows him or herself to become absorbed by the grace of the symbol.    

When I contemplate a symbolic photograph, I become more fully conscious--that is to say, I recognize in a non-intellectual but heightened way, the Imaginal significance or sacred meaning of the image.  It is through the deep, silent interiorization of the image into the center of my being, into the center of my heart--the abode of my divine Self--that I can imbibe and absorb the symbol's grace, its light, its Consciousness.  And equally, reciprocally important, when I surrender to the image, when I give myself completely to its grace, when I allow myself to be absorbed by the image, that is to say, its grace, I loose my self in the image; I loose my sense of an individual identity within the symbol's divine presence.  And in this transforming process of loosing my self I become embraced by and united with my divine or transcendent Self. 


Often--though not always--my experience of the four-fold symmetrical photographs seems more expansive, amplified and elevated in meaning compared to its originating source photograph.  Perhaps this is because certain source images are not complete it themselves as symbols; they must first undergo a transformation.  I have seen many source images transformed by the Four-fold Symmetrical image to such an amazing degree that the source image completely disappears and a wholly new image is unfolded before my very eyes. 

Thus the symmetrical photographs often have a more palpable sense of the sacred about them in comparison to their source image.  As a witness of the transformative creative process, and as a contemplator of the transformed source image, I too become transformed in unsayable but nonetheless palpably felt ways.  When I contemplate a symbolic photograph I experience quite directly its pulsation of grace--its spanda.

I do not mean to imply, however, that straight photographs are inferior as symbols in comparison to the symmetrical photographs.  Symbols, no matter what form they take, are alive with grace.  The straight symbolic photograph and the four-fold symmetrical symbolic photographs are but two different Imaginal forms of the same one Unitary Reality, the divine Self.   In terms used by Swami Shantananda in his commentaries on the sutras--the symbolic photograph invokes the experience of recognition: "I am this." 


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The turning of the wheel of Consciousness can be viewed as an archetypal
 movement of life  . . .  it is a particularly compelling symbol when 
applied to the circle that Kshemaraja is invoking in sutra 20: 
the whirling vortex of energies that constitute the subtle   
human system.  This wheel is composed of four 
concentric circles around the Self, 
which is its heart.
Swami Shantananda

I often think of my symmetrical photographs as "circular" images because there is often a strong sense of circular movement within the image.  They sometimes exude a whirling energy around the center of the image, or there is an explosion of visual energy, a "flashing-forth" of visual form that seems to erupt from the center-point of the image.  The four identical source images of the symmetrical photographs are conjoined at its center-point, which is sometimes a visible point or bindu, and sometimes it is only felt or implied, perhaps a subtle presence.  The center-point of the symmetrical image is indeed the Heart of the image, its subtle, divine Origin, the Self.  It's sacred pulsating presence pervades the entire image; it is the origin of the interior radiant light, the grace that transforms the image, that makes it function for me as a Symbol.


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In the impeccable space of our own heart . . . light shines on light, 
every action is an act of worship, and all perceptions are forms 
of meditation.  . . .  For us, the world can appear as the  
play of light and shadow enacted by Citisakti. 
We are, in truth, Shiva, the Lord.

The light of the Self reflects on itself, 
always turning to its own  
rapturous presence.
Swami Shantananda

When I have camera in hand and I'm out in the world looking to make photographs, I spontaneously enter into a meditative state of mind; I am seeing with a silenced mind, with the eye of the Heart.  Sometimes I can sense that the potential, essential power or spanda of the four-fold symmetrical process is inspiring me as I photograph.  It's not that I can imagine in advance a symmetrical photograph when I "take" or "make" a straight or source photograph.  Indeed, I have found it nearly impossible to do that.  But I feel an inner knowing that every photograph I make--if I am photographing in an open-hearted, meditative state--has the living potential of helping me get more in touch with the grace which is already within me--which pulsates at the center of my being, at the center of my heart, as my own divine Self.  

When I am photographing in this meditative state, in this heightened state of expectancy, each straight photograph--and its Imaginal potential as a symmetrical photograph--becomes an opportunity to be surprised, to become a source of revelation, the very Imaginal embodiment of recognition.  My Creative Process is an ongoing experience of the Center of my being, the Center of all Creation.  It is yet another opportunity to embrace and unite with the grace of my own divine Self.

Grace--Creative Process--Symbols--the divine Self are intrinsically interwoven circles of powers.  I have learned to trust Creative Process, that it will give me what I need.  The play of light and dark in the outer world, and within the created photographs, is the play of Citi, the play of divine Consciousness, the light of the Self in all its "rapturous presence."  All my perceptions are the luminous projections of the "light" of Consciousness, the light of "Shiva," "the Lord."  In the Unitary Reality of the symbolic photograph, the experience is one of Light upon Light.


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Every human being in the universe is an embodiment of this vibrant wheel of powers, 
a microcosm of the divine order. . .  These circles of powers intertwine in our  
lives, creating a huge matrix of vibrational frequencies that pulsate 
with vitality and creative potential.

One who has entered the vast heart of Consciousness 
and has become united with it, has become 
the Lord of the Wheel.
Swami Shantananda

The symmetrical photographs, when seen as "circular" images, are essentially the imaginal embodiment of the roundness of being, the "wheels of powers" pulsating with creativity, with grace--the spanda which gives divine order to the universe.

Gurumayi has said that grace pervades everything, all of life.  In my experience of true, living symbols, the grace within the image and the grace within the center of my Being reflect each other and become intertwined.  Their interior radiances merge into each other making everything glow with a transcendent luminosity, the Light of the Self.  In living visual symbols, both interior and outer images have become perfectly aligned and interwoven into each other.  These images of Unitary Reality have neither a subject nor an object, neither shadow nor light: there is only "intertwined pulsating circles of powers" . . . the "creative potential" of "the vast heart of Consciousness."


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Whoever has realized her own divinity . . . also experiences herself as the  
origin and center of everything that has been created  . . .  The Self 
is the one energy that assumes all these forms. 

It is impossible to define a specific location as the center of the universe, as 
when we mark the center of a circle.  Citi pervades everything equally.  
As we recognize the great light that shines in the body, by this 
very act, we place ourselves within the divine heart 
and hence in the very center of creation.
Swami Shantananda

Each symmetrical photograph emerges from its own "heart," its own center-point, the center and origin of Being, the center and origin of Creation.  That which manifests as the outer, visible universe has emerged from within me; it has become projected-out from within my own center of being.  The symmetrical images are visual equivalents of this cosmic grace-filled event in which archetypal psychic forms and their physical counterpart forms align and merge in symbolic form, the Imaginal form of the divine Self.  

All that I see is nothing but my own Being assuming all these forms.  When I contemplate the symmetrical symbolic images, I consciously enter into the Center of the Image and simultaneously the Center of my own heart, the center of my own Being, the divine Self


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The universe has been created, as a whole, in a flash . . .  In the realm 
of pure creation the principles that generate our experience of 
time and space, of cause and effect, do not operate.  In the 
Realm of Pure Creation what we experience is
the universe created anew in every instant.
Swami Shantananda

When a symmetrical photograph functions for me at its highest level of potential meaning, that is to say, as a symbol, it becomes for me--as the contemplator of the image--an experience of pure light, sacred presence.  Through the grace of the image I enter the Realm of Pure Creation.  The grace of the image, its pulsation . . . stops my mind: time and space become no longer operative.  Through the grace of the symbol I enter the stillness and silence of the Heart, the Pure Center of Being, the place that transcends place, the Unitary Reality in which the flashing-forth of light reflects on light, and thus there is nothing other than light . . . the Light of the Supreme Self.


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Just as snowflakes crystallize from the atmosphere into marvelous
delicate designs, so do abhasas crystallize in
an astonishing variety of structures.

The eleventh century Kashmiri sage Kshemaraja says 
"at all levels, the world we perceive is inextricably
woven into the fabric of our existence."

The universe and we are one and the same . . .  Not only is everything in  
the universe made of the same 'stuff,' but also that stuff contains 
within itself everything it ever becomes. This means that every 
particle of Consciousness contains the whole of creation.

We are, in truth, Shiva, the Lord.
Swami Shantananda

When I contemplate a symbolic photograph I experience the way the image, my self and my own divine Self are inextricably woven together in the Unity of Being.  Any true symbol allows me to experience the whole Created Universe which is my own Self . . . for it is "God Imaging God," and "it is God contemplating God." 

As a child I use to love to watch the large crystals of snow forming into their unique white structures as they emerged--falling into visibility--from the nowhere of the dark gray heavens.  I understand now that this was a form of meditation, a witnessing and contemplation of the unfolding magic and mystery of Pure Creation.  Now I make symmetrical photographs and contemplate those images which function for me as living, radiant, grace-filled symbols.  In the act of photographing, in the act of constructing the four-fold images, and in the act of contemplating these pulsating images of the Heart, it is God witnessing the silent, eternal transformations of God . . . and I am returned to the Origin and Center of my Being.


*          *          *

This Project was announced on my
Welcome Page March 11, 2017


This is the third in a triadic project which also contains an Epilogue.
Listed below is the complete set of the four related projects:
Creation-Dissolution of a World
The Pulsating Uncreated Heart : Origin & Center of Creation
The Siva Sutra Rock Photographs

"An Imaginary Book" 
The Sacred Art Photography Projects
Welcome Page to my Departing Landscape website which includes the complete listing of my online hyperlinked photography projects, my resume, contact information, and more