She dances me to her call | bhakti poem by Téa Nicolae

in the depths of my being, She dances me to her call:

“come to me. I want all of you, my child. no part of you is too dark, too gritty, too cruel for me. I claim all of you.”

Māiyā! your waves carry your call and roll it against my chest. i seek you with my breath, eyes, hands, and knees. my lungs seek you like they seek air.

Ya Devī! soothing her tears,

Kṛṣṇa told Pāñcālī

that just as you, Śrī Gaṅgā, hold and wash all pollutions yet are ever-pristine,

so does the fallen empress remain untainted by her shame.

aches bathed in your luster,

i plead:

take all of me, Devī.

leave nothing of me behind.

establish me in knowing

that despite my wrongs, fears and corruptions, i, too,

your fragment in the microcosm,

remain unmarred.

may the holy flow of your untamed waters

sweeten the harshness i bear towards myself and the world

soften the rigid corners straining my being

loosen the knots hindering you from coursing within me.

Śrī Mātre Namaḥ. 🙏

photos: before & after bathing in the waters of Śrī Gaṅgā in the auspicious Gangotri. Śabda Yātra. 🙏 the blessing of blessings. 💙

The Call of the Himalayas

by Mahārājñī’s grace, my dream of India came true! 🥲 for five years, it has been an ardent wish of mine to see these lands. led by my beloved Guru Kavitha Amma, and together with the Śabda Yoginīs, i was blessed to answer to the call of the Himalayas by embarking on the most special, magnificent and expansive yātra. starting from Rishikesh, we traversed Uttarkashi, Gangotri, Bhojbasa, Gomukh, Barkot, Yamunotri, and returned to Rishikesh for our closing ceremony. we trailed and trekked the mountains in worship of Devī in her forms as Śrī Gaṅgā & Śrī Yamunā. it was a journey of cellular transformation: explosive insights, breath-taking beauty, moving softness, immersion in the love and flow of Gaṅgā Devī and the Guru.

most miraculously, we completed the arduous and most fulfilling trek of 36 km from Gangotri to Gomukh, the source of the Holy Gaṅgā, in two intense & magical days! 💙 i have never felt more alive than on this trail, immersed in the hum of Devī Gaṅgā and held in the lap of the mountains. every step taken was a challenge to my self-imposed limitations and ideas of myself – of who i am, of what i can do and achieve. every step taken taught me resilience and determination, as well as showed me that my strength springs from my longing. it has been most sacred to complete this trail and to come to be at the Source with my Guru & saṅgha. imbibing in Her exquisite vibrations, we worshipped Her through pūjā. we breathed, we smiled, we cried. i will remember this experience for the rest of my life with all the gratitude & awe my being can muster.

Śrī Mātre Namaḥ! Har Har Mahādeva! Hare Hare Gaṅge!!!

what is more, in Gangotri, we hiked to a cave where it is said that Draupadī and the Pāṇḍavas spent time while on exile, and had the fortune to meet the sādhu who has been living there, entrenched in tapasya. ♥️ i have felt the Mahābhārata vibrantly coming alive for me on our yātra; from being at Gaṅgā Devī’s feet, arguably the precursor of the Mbh’s unfolding, to reaching Yamunā Devī, whose shores welcomed Ambā, who burned herself on a pyre at Yamunā’s banks to gain Lord Śiva’s boon… these mystical lands are unparalleled in beauty, significance, power and history.

birthday dawn

i turn 24 today! 💖 23 has been a dream shaped by my Guru’s grace, whom i got to meet in-person for the first time as the pandemic eased. externally, Guru’s grace took me to places i thought i’d never see, such as the transcendental Himalayas or America, while it internally catapulted me to priorly unimagined heights of euphoria & expansion. when i look back to my young life, i glimpse a golden thread expertly weaving each fragment and pulling me to where i am now; a glimmer nestled within me, of me and yet not of me, calling to me, caring for me, polishing me, shaping me – preparing me, guiding me to the path. a glimmer, a spark; the love of the Guru. the love of Mahādevī. the love of Hari.

and so, today i am moved to share verses from a sweet song.

☁️ time, mystical time
gave me the blues and then purple pink skies
were there clues
i didn’t see?

isn’t it just so pretty to think
all along there was some
invisible string
tying You to me?

a string that pulled me…

something wrapped all of my past mistakes in barbed wire
chains around my demons,
wool to brave the seasons
one single thread of gold tied me to You. ☁️

today & every day i pray to flow like the waters of the magnificent Gaṅgā Devī holding me in this photo. 💖

Hymn to the Empress of Kings by Téa Nicolae

Praise be to The Empress of Kings
seated on the throne of five corpses in the palace of ruby.


Her blinking eyes birth and collapse the cosmos,
and her crown is the lunar half-moon.


She whose reddened eyes roll ecstatically,
She is Mahātripurasundarī,
The Great Beauty of the Triads.


Praise be to Parā Aṃbikā,
of allure so exquisite that, enchanted,
Śiva grew his third eye just to worship her beauty.


Her body is anointed with sandalwood,
and her fragrance bathes and deludes the three worlds.


She is Śrīmātā,
The Auspicious Mother.


Praise be to Lalitā Aṃbikā,
The One Who Plays,
whose girdle of tinkling bells stirs creation into being.


She who gifts the sun his effulgence,
Her toenail holds the universes,
and Her auspicious thighs are known only by the fortunate Kāmeśvara.


She is Kāmākṣī,
She whose eyes are desire.


Bhavānī,
you are the nectar of the ocean of compassion:
grace this songstress to only sing of your praises.


🌺 “Hymn to the Empress of Kings”, one of my poems offered to Devī at the magnificent Siri Jyoti Pūjā in Seattle. inspired by the verses of the Lalitāsahasranāma which extoll Lalitā’s rapturous beauty. Śrī Mātre Namaḥ. Happy Navarātra! 🙏
📸: SJP, Seattle, September 2022.

blissful Śabdopāya Retreat, Seattle.
continuously reborn in your presence. śrī gurubhyo namaḥ.

last day of summer, first nights of autumn (1.2)

i have just come back from seattle, u.s., where i spent the most beautiful two weeks with my beloved saṅgha of Śabda Institute. i am taking this opportunity to express my gratitude for this dream, as well as for the beautiful summer that has unravelled. these months of sun were rich with expansion, laughter, warmth. i am thankful to have been held by loved ones and, most importantly, held within myself, while She painted the path in resplendent hues.

☀️ most monumentally, i traversed the u.k. with my saṅgha and Gurus in deep exploration of rasa (sanskrit for juice, flavour or essence of an experience.)🍯 our rasa tour culminated with a workshop in london centred on emotional healing, which additionally was the first u.k. workshop of Śabda Institute. words fail to express how exquisite and cellularly transformational this journey has been. it was a privilege to share this space with our beloved teachers and imbibe in the magnificent teachings together with the saṅgha. check out @sabda_institute for more photos, reels & accounts of both the workshop. the pure joy of being!

☀️ i soaked in sun and beauty in italia with my beloved family, who unrelentingly teach me about love, patience, and openness, and never cease to hold the mirror to show me the muck that i am to work on and through – even when it is incredibly uncomfortable to look. i dipped my toes in the sea in my home-country and burnt my skin with joy, met up with olden friends and laughed ’til our bellies hurt while reminiscing past silliness and childish cruelties.

☀️ finally, i came together with my saṅgha sisters and conducted the most nourishing pūjā to our beloved Gaṇapati, whose playfulness and delight infused our every offering.

may we have the eyes and heart to see Her sweetness permeating all that is!

Fractals of Reality

🏵 “The Śrīcakra is the most elegant and complete representation of the complicated interplay of the gross and subtle factors that keep us bound in saṃsāra. The Śrīcakra is also the map to nirvāṇa. In addition to being a flawless map of the microcosm, the Śrīcakra is also an unparalleled representation of the macrocosm.”

🔱 “The Trikoṇa symbolizes the primordial triad of Śiva, Śakti and the relationship between them, which is the source of all the other triads in creation, moving from the gross to the subtle.”

🏵 “The Bindu IS the Śrīcakra and is presided by Parāpararahasya Yoginī. To move from the Trikoṇa to the Bindu, the triad needs to collapse. The fundamental perception that drives our existence must shift radically, after which nothing will ever be the same again, and the cycle of saṃsāra comes to an end.”

– Dr. Kavitha Chinnaiyan

🔱 it is an absolute joy to finally be able to hold in my hands a copy of FRACTALS OF REALITY: LIVING THE ŚRĪCAKRA, the magnificent fourth book authored by my beloved Guru, Kavitha Amma. 💛 Fractals of Reality is a book brimming with beauty and wisdom, masterfully woven and expertly written. it is a practical exploration of the esoteric Śrīcakra (or Śrīyantra) that is immediately applicable in the daily unfoldings of one’s life, “as the map of the microcosm that reflects the macrocosm”. in this, “all of life comes together in a cohesive whole”, with the separation between the mystical and the mundane collapsing into one. truly a gift to the world, and i am beyond grateful to have the opportunity to delve into this exquisite vidyā – the treasure of treasures. 💛

🏵 what is more, the book is replete with astounding illustrations created by the incredibly talented Rashmi Thirtha Jyoti (Rashmi Thirtha Sacred Arts Studio), who fleshes for us hypnotic visions of Devī and of the Yoginīs that will undoubtedly mesmer all who encounter them. 💛

🔱 available on amazon, you can order your own copy here:

🏵 kindle:
https://tinyurl.com/392kn49p

🏵 paperback:
https://tinyurl.com/3ump9w74

śrī mātre namaḥ! śrī gurubhyo namaḥ!

🙏

ecstatic sculptures of the Devīs & the Devas at the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford

ecstatic sculptures of the Devīs & the Devas at the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, one of the oldest museums in the world! 🤍 awe!

pictured:

• Śiva & Pārvatī tenderly embracing each other (alternatively titled ‘Umā-Maheśvara).

• Pārvatī as the enthralling Gaurī. Mahārājñī!

• the beautiful Pārvatī making the kaṭakahasta gesture

• Viṣṇu ruling with his śakti, Lakṣmī, seated on his lap as her throne (alternatively titled Lakṣmī-Nārāyaṇa)

• the radiant Goddess Siddhā holding lotuses

• victorious Durgā slaying Mahiṣāsura

• dancing Ganeśa

• yet another depiction of Durgā slaying Mahiṣāsura

• two sculptures of the enrapturing Viṣṇu

• Viṣṇu birthed as Rāma

Path to Devī: Detroit, UMMA & the Siri Jyoti Pūjā

i have had the great fortune to visit the United States for the very first time to be with my guru and saṅgha! during my trip, i had the opportunity to visit UMMA and i was mesmerised by its South Asian collection! not only are the sculptures magnificent in their precision and beauty, but their descriptive texts are poetry. attaching excerpts below. ♥️

1. Durgā on her lion mount

“In caves and temples, in metal and stone, artists captured the ferocious energy of the Goddess as revealed in her heroic victory [over Mahiṣāsura]. Here, her quiet grace signifies her boundless strength. Her round breasts and belly push forth from beneath her skin, indicating the distinctly feminine force behind her awesome capacities.”

2. Vārāhī

“She is boar-headed, and her rear hands would have held signature weapons. She has taut, youthful flesh and full breasts, signifying fecundity. Her crossed legs form a cradle, offering a tender sanctuary.”

3. Devī

4. Śiva as Bhairava

“Śiva’s sensuous pose and levity communicate liberation as a result of contemplating death in lone wanderings through vast cemeteries.”

5. Pot-bellied Ganeśa, endearing and gentle

6. Viṣṇu

“There is an intimate relationship between the God’s body and his sculptural surroundings: two arms are embedded in the plane behind him, while two project forward, echoing the curved bell of his hips. A garland unites the planes of carving in an elliptical halo, framing his body for the gaze of his devotees.”

7. Śiva

“Here, he is shown in his role as the divine ascetic or yogi, unclad but for an animal skin about his loins, with matted hair piled high on his head.”

8. Viṣṇu as Varaha

“The body of Viṣṇu’s boar-headed incarnation, Varaha, forges a diagonal bolt through this sculpture. His right foot is planted decisively at the corner of its projecting base; his left is flexed for leverage on a lotus pedestal. Against these rooting forces, his body surges upward, culminating in an acutely raised snout”.

days of sweetness, study, laughter & wonder spent in retreat in Detroit! it was an immense honour to be with my teacher, Kavithaji Amma, and her teacher, Sumitji – and a profound joy to be with my Śabdācāra saṅgha. these days have been monumental – days of belonging, of returning home.

finally… an ode to the Siri Jyoti Pūjā! it is difficult to imagine a more beautiful way to spend my first day in the United States than by attending the Siri Jyoti Pūjā (“the wealth of light”, pūjā designed by Śrī Amṛtananda Natha Sarasvatī), conducted by my beloved teacher, Amma. ❤️♥️❤️ to have offered my poetry to Devī & Nārāyaṇa within this pūjā has been most precious… overflowing!

“to sing and dance through the Śrī Cakra”… (Śrī Vidyā Trust)

The Siri Jyoti Pūjā, which translates as “wealth of light”, is an exceedingly auspicious ritual designed by Śrī Amṛtananda Natha Sarasvatī, affectionately known as Guruji. The Pūjā is described by the Śrī Vidyā Trust of Devipuram as a group ritual that is performed to the Śrīcakra, which opens one to the immense benefits of performing the cakra pūjā within: “Doing this enables us to enjoy life, sing, and dance through it.”

anugraha (अनुग्रह)

the Guhyāsādhanā-tantra tells us that fortunate are those who become the śiṣyas of a teacher, and even more fortunate are those blessed to become the śiṣyas of a strī-guru, the latter only accomplished after lifetimes of sādhanā. so unimaginable is my fortune as a student of Kavithaji Ammā, who has guided me to see glimpses of the beauty and truth veiled inside me and in all that is – who is polishing my rough edges so they can one day shine like diamonds. to finally be with Ammā & with the saṅgha in-person has been the greatest gift. śrī mātre namaḥ! śrī gurubhyo namaḥ! ♥️

the winter Śabdācāra retreat: the most beautiful moments of my life, spent in one of the most beautiful places, with the most beautiful people. tears, intimacy, connection, love, grace, flow, tenderness, and sweet vulnerability – all rushing through the light of the guru. dearest saṅgha, i did not know love before you.

♥️ photos by Holly, Prashanthi & me. ♥️

saṅgha, guru, my guru’s guru, and guru’s grace.