‘VOID and FIRE’
Interfaith Teaching and Meditation on VOID and FIRE,
7, 14, 21, 28 October, and 4, 11, 18 November 2014
Warburton Interfaith Ashram
Mela Interfaith Association seeks to promote the bonds of friendship between members of different faith traditions in order to learn from each other’s spiritual experience and to journey together in peace and harmony.
Teaching on a theme is usually given from a single tradition. This is valid and valuable. However, when teaching is given from two different perspectives, there is a sense of excitement and deeper awareness. Participants plunge more deeply into the fountains of life.
The Mela Interfaith Association has arranged this series of interfaith teachings and meditations conducted by Rev. Dr John Dupuche, a Catholic priest, and Yogi Matsyendranath, of the Nath Yoga tradition.
Fr John is Senior Lecturer at the MCD University of Divinity, and Honorary Fellow at the Australian Catholic University with special connection with the interfaith section of the Faculty of Theology and Philosophy. He is chairperson of the Catholic Interfaith Committee of the Archdiocese of Melbourne and President of the Mela Interfaith Association. He has a doctorate in Sanskrit, specialising in the field of Kashmir Shaivism. He goes to India each year. He has written many articles, and one of this books is called ‘Towards a Christian Tantra’ where he seeks to show the tantric dimension of Christianity.
Yogi Matsyendranath Maharaj belongs to the Natha Tradition (natha sampradaya). He is an ordained Master of Yoga and Tantra, a Pūjarī (Temple Priest) and has the right to initiate. He has a wide international circle of disciples.
Fr John has set up the interfaith ashram in Warburton because of the striking value of interfaith relations. The purpose of the interfaith ashram is for members to enter more fully into their truth and become a blessing for all. They are affirmed and enlightened, challenged and inspired. They become disciples of each other and at the same time appreciate all the more fully the specific character of their own tradition.
Father John and Yogi will present teachings on VOID and FIRE from their contrasting traditions. They will also describe practical methods. This will lead into a heightened experience of meditation.
This series of seven presentations focusses just on three verses from the Haṭha-Yoga-Pradīpika, one of the principal texts of the Natha Yoga tradition. While it is dated to between the 13th and 15th century it is based on an older tradition dating back to Gorakhnath, the founder of the Nath Tradition who lived at around the 10th century CE.
We will focus on verses 3, 4 and 5 of chapter 3. These few verses are rich and significant. Yogi will present them according to the Natha tradition. Fr John will look at them briefly and see how they throw light on the Christian tradition. Thus our work is to shed light upon light. It is an example of what is called Comparative Theology. Our experience and meditative practice will be enriched as a result.
These verses are:
HYP 3.3: “Emptiness is the pathway for prāṇa (subtle breath). For that reason it the principal path. Because of it, the mind does not depend on anything (nirālambaṁ). Likewise, time is cheated [of its effect].”
प्राणस्य शून्यपदवी तदा राजपथायते ।
तदा चित्तं निरालम्बं तदा कालस्य वञ्चनम् ॥ ३ ॥
prāṇasya śūnyapadavī tadā rājapathāyate |
tadā cittaṁ nirālambaṁ tadā kālasya vañcanam || 3 ||
HYP 3.4: “The ‘central channel’, the ‘path of emptiness’, the ‘aperture of Brahma’, the ‘great path’, the ‘cremation ground’, ‘Śambhu’s consort’ and the ‘middle way’: these are synonymous terms.”
सुषुम्ना शून्यपदवी ब्रह्मरन्ध्रं महापथः ।
श्मशानं शाम्भवी मध्यमार्गश्चेत्येकवाचकाः ॥ ४ ॥
suṣumnā śūnyapadavī brahmarandhraṁ mahāpathaḥ |
śmaśānaṁ śāmbhavī madhyamārgaścetyekavācakāḥ || 4 ||
HYP 3.5: “One should, therefore, with all earnestness practice the mudrās in order to awaken the Sovereign Goddess sleeping at the entrance of Door of Brahma.”
तस्मात्सर्वप्रयत्नेन प्रबोधयितुमीश्वरीम् ।
ब्रह्मद्वारमुखे सुप्तां मुद्राभ्यासं समाचरेत् ॥ ५ ॥
tasmātsarvaprayatnena prabodhayitumīśvarīm |
brahmadvāramukhe suptāṁ mudrābhyāsaṁ samācaret || 5 ||