Ninth Night: Kulasundari Nitya “Always Auspicious Community”
Kulasundari’s glowing body is smeared with blood, she is ornamented in red and a mala made of coral, and is surrounded by attendants wearing red. She carries a lotus, a small pitcher like a creamer, a cup made of gems, a golden pen, and a garland of gems, and a citrus fruit. Two of her hands are held out, one in vara mudra, the gesture of receptivity, and the other in a mudra for counting.
This goddess is not carrying any obvious weapons like many of the others, but we all know the golden pen is mightier than the sword. This goddess brings in an element of mental intelligence, critical thinking, teaching, and remembering. The coral colour indicates the kind of density that comes from deep in the ocean, and the implication is that her knowledge is very rich and deep, and calls not only on her personal experience, but the experience of all the teachers that have come before her.
Kula means “community” and “sundari” auspiciousness. For me, this meditation practice is a contemplation not only of the relationship with the self, but also of relationship in general. In our sexual narrative, this moment is not about the individuals, but the “us” created here, and all the people that have contributed to our selves and to this moment. This goddess reminds us of the others that must be involved in our practice of teaching, learning, remembering, and evolving. Who makes up the layers of immediate and intergenerational community that make us who we are in this moment? What did we take from our culture, our DNA, the communities that fought for the rights and freedoms that allow us to make love, to be students, to do meditations like this one? Who will help us to continue to learn and be able to teach when it’s our turn?
Sit or lie down and focus your attention on your heart, the energetic centre that holds your community. Let in the people that you love, the people that you’ve learned from, the people that have hurt you, all of them. Keep breathing into your heart as various people come to your mind, some come, some gone, some inspiring gratitude, others, perhaps, anger and even fear. Watch your reactions to these aspects of your kula. Watch yourself phase through the eternal cycle of “I’m not you, I’m something like you, I’m nothing but you.” Let these phases of connection and disconnection whirl around in the space of your great, expanding heart.
What lessons did you learn from your grandmother or grandfather?