May 28, 2012 The Cycle of Dissolution
I learned about The Cycle of Dissolution from one of my beloved yoga teachers, Noell. She spoke about the three goddesses: Saraswati, Lakshmi, and Kali as the embodiments of each phase of the cycle: creation, abundance, destruction.
I am neither a Hindu scholar, nor a practicing Hindu. In fact, there is not a singular religion that I identify with completely. I view the ascended masters like Jesus, Buddha, Krishna, Kuan Yin (and many others) as teachers that we can all learn from.
When Noell spoke of the Cycle of Dissolution, I immediately resonated with the understanding that we move through different phases in both a macro and a micro level. I find that any good teaching will vibrate in harmony with you. It is not important that you identify fully with a religion or ideology, instead it is vital that you take an active role in asking questions and internalizing the answers that you are given.
Saraswati is the goddess of knowledge, music, arts and sciences. She is the force of creation in the universe. Her name (Saras= flow, wati= she who has) means that she is the flow of all creation. She is radiant, bright, and beautiful. She is the inspiration that flows through us in our creative pursuits. She is often depicted in pure white, seated on a white lotus, symbolizing that she is founded in absolute truth.
Lakshmi is the goddess of wealth, prosperity (both material and spiritual), generosity, and the embodiment of beauty. She is the driving force within us to fight against what is evil or wrong. Her name is related to the sanskrit work (laksya= aim or goal) and represents the fulfillment of our creation. She is usually depicted wearing red (continuous activity) or gold (fulfillment),and adorned in jewels.
Kali is probably the most misunderstood of these goddesses. Her name is derived from kāla, which means black, time, and death. She is the goddess of time and change, although she is timeless. She is not only deconstruction, but also rebirth, which means that she is the first creation before light itself. She is often depicted with deep sapphire blue skin, a garland of skulls around her neck, standing on a pyre of bodies. Although this may seem grotesque to some, her sword symbolizes divine knowledge and the human heads are our egos. She is usually depicted with little to no clothing, as she is outside the confines of our Maya (illusion).
These three goddesses are further connected to the three guṇas or fundamental operating principles/tendencies in the universe. These guṇas exist in varying degrees in all beings.
- sattva guṇa- Saraswati; creation
- rajas guṇa- Lakshmi; preservation
- tamasa guṇa- Kali; drestruction
- Sattva (originally “being, existence, entity”) has been translated to mean balance, order, or purity. IndologistGeorg Feuerstein translates sattva as “lucidity“.
- Rajas (originally “atmosphere, air, firmament”) is also translated to mean change, movement or dynamism. (Rajas is etymologically unrelated to the word raja.)
- Tamas (originally “darkness”, “obscurity”) has been translated to mean “too inactive” or “inertia”, negative, lethargic, dull, or slow. Usually it is associated with darkness, delusion, or ignorance. A tamas quality also can refer to anything destructive or entropic.
It is helpful to think of your life as constantly flowing through these various stages. It doesn’t mean that our life has to fall apart at some point, (although that happens, too) but to grow we must constantly make room for what we wish to manifest, and to do this we must dissolve what is not serving us. When we are in the destruction phase, it can be frightening, but the knowledge that a greater understanding is being integrated can help us to look forward to our creation phase, and many of our favorites, the abundance phase. All of these are necessary, and learning to love each part of the cycle will help us to diminish our fear over what is unknown.
Currently, I’m in a destruction phase, which is usually viewed as the most frightening stage. I feel like I’ve had a cosmic flu, as if parts of me are dying off. Most likely, this is true, but I am content in knowing that while the dissolution takes place, rebirth is happening almost simultaneously. I don’t think that these phases are completely isolated; they happen on a larger scale in our lives and they happen continuously in each moment.
During the destruction phase it is important to view what is breaking down and to learn why it is no longer needed. When creation begins, you are able to absorb the knowledge of the previous cycle and make something beautifully unique and honest. When the abundance phase is occurring, we are able to rejoice in the fruits of our efforts and celebrate with joy and generosity.
Do not become attached to one phase. Do not dwell in the sadness of destruction, do not attach to your creation, do not cling to your bounty. They will continue to move, change and grow. The only way to maintain your bliss is to find the beauty in each moment.