The Circle and the Wheel and the Sundoor

A Tantric painting shows a circle with this comment in the caption, "She is Light itself and transcendent, emanating from her body are rays in the thousands, ten millions,"3 and, in that sense, the female is the undifferentiated, no-thing defined precisely, endless possibilities, the not-yet-born. Other Tantric paintings present the circle and its manifestation as an elaboration of overlapping and concentric circles. "Within every yoni, within every aspect of woman, there is buried the lingam and the phallus without which there would be no energy to inflate the pattern. She who is absolute being, bliss, consciousness, may be thought of as male or female, or pure Brahman [which is the non-differentiated] in reality she is none of these, these are simply the forms she assumes in sadhana [contemplation]..."4

[aras-image:7Ap.008,d,10,,,Figure 8 Shiva as Lord of the Dance.]

In the mythology of India Shiva Nataraja, Lord of the Dance, commands the center. One story tells that Brahma envied Shiva's perfect contemplation, which was so serene and inward that nothing, no one could penetrate Shiva's absorption. And so Brahma manifested Shakti, Shiva's own feminine half, and she began to dance. Then Shiva rose from his meditation and began to dance with Shakti and creation took place..." In the night of Brahma, Nature is inert and cannot dance till Shiva wills it: He arises from his rapture, and dancing sends through inert matter pulsing waves of awakening sound, and lo! matter also dances appearing as a glory round about Him. Dancing, He maintains its manifold phenomena. In the fullness of time, still dancing, he destroys all forms and names by fire and gives new rest."5 Dancing in the circle of flames Shiva generates all activity and the release from all activity. "The dancing foot, the sound of the tinkling bells, the songs that are sung and the varying steps, the form assumed by our Dancing Gurupara, find out these within yourself, and then shall your fetters fall away."6