Let us explore the deeper symbology in the story of Shikhandin. In her previous life, Shikhandin was born Amba, the daughter of the king of Kashi. The word Amba means ‘to sound’. Both the Bible and the Rigveda say the Universe was born from sound and so Amba is the primal energy of the Universe.
There are 27 nakshatras. In mythology, they were the daughters of Daksha Prajapati. He married them to Chandra or the Moon. In one lunar month, the Moon moves through these 27 nakshatras; that is he spends one night with each of his brides. Thus every night, the vibrations of the Moon or its rays of light are conditioned or strongly influenced by the nakshatra it is in. The moon waxes and wanes, and thus there are only 12 full moons in a year. So Chandra only gets to spend 12 nights a year with 12 different wives when he is in full strength. That is, when he is reflecting the Sun’s energy in full strength, he is influenced by the wife he is with.
The last full moon (on 27th January) was Pausi Purnima, which is celebrated as the day Amba manifested ‘pragatya din’. On this day, the full moon falls in the constellation of Cancer and in Indian Astrology, in the nakshatra called Pushya, meaning ‘to nourish’. Thus the last full moon was the nourishing full moon.
Chandra is symbolic of the mind. Its rays affect our minds in 27 different ways. That is, the mind has 27 different states which, when combined with its waxing and waning, the seasons and position of the planets, bring up immense and numerous possibilities and variety.
By doing certain practices and mudras on Pausi Poonam, the Hindus were able to rejuvenate and nourish their minds for the whole year. These practices were given an outward form in the symbology of ritual and worship but contained a deep esoteric science.
In the Mahabharata, Bhishma symbolises the Ego. The soul is symbolised by Arjuna, the state which comes as the student raises his level of consciousness. To do this, he has to kill the Ego for which he needs the nourishing energy of Amba or Shikhandin.
Attend a Three Step Rhythmic Breathing (3SRB) session on Sunday, February 3, 9.30am to 11.30am at Thadomal Shahani Engineering College, in National College lane, off Linking Road, Bandra. Entry is free.