The Blue Pearl
The fulfillment of yoga lies in establishing contact with the Blue Pearl,
which is your innermost reality. After the Blue Pearl stands steady
for a while, it explodes. Then it’s light spreads throughout
the universe and you can see it everywhere. Within that
light you see your own Guru . . . you realize
that his [her, the Guru’s] real abode has
existed within you all the time.
Introduction : Inner Visions
In the Siddha Yoga literature, there is nothing more mysterious, and wondrous, than Swami Muktananda’s account of his visionary meditation experiences of the Blue Pearl. The Blue Pearl, or bindu, is a sublime paradox: it is no larger than the size of a sesame seed and yet “it contains millions and millions of universes” and it’s light is brighter than a thousand suns. The Blue Pearl is the abode of God, and our hearts are the abode of the Blue Pearl. The goal of yoga is to become merged–inseparably united with–the “formless” Light of Consciousness, the “supreme unmanifest Being,” the “extremely secret” Blue Person of the Blue Pearl. Swami Muktananda (Baba) wrote: “This is not something that can ever be expressed, in speech or writing, even at the end of time.”
Whenever I read Baba Muktananda’s words I have a palpable experience of his grace, his sacred presence. His words are truly alive with the divine energy of the Supreme Self, known as Chiti Shakti. He writes with such powerful, direct, unaffected authority because he writes with the true conviction of his own personal experience, his accomplished state, his Union with the divine Self, the Blue Pearl, and his total identification with his beloved Guru, Bhagawan Nityananda. .Even though the mysteries he writes and speaks about cannot be grasped by the logical mind, his shakti-filled words somehow translate for me into a subtle, intuitive knowledge that I can feel in the depths of my being. Baba shares his experience with such great love, enthusiasm and generosity that my heart feels at times like it will burst with overflowing gratitude when I read his words.
This project is a visual meditation on Baba Muktananda’s writings about his meditation experiences, his inner visions of the Blue Pearl. He describes them, with remarkable detail, in the latter parts of his autobiography, The Play of Consciousness. The entire book is an account of his spiritual journey, his “creative process” par excellence, from its very beginning to its completion. His visions of the Blue Pearl mark the endpoint of the process, when he merges into the Light of Consciousness, the light of the Self, the light of the Blue Pearl.
Baba wrote: “I meditated constantly and always saw the sweet, radiant Blue Pearl in its infinite variations.” This statement is of particular and striking interest to me, for I think of my series of “Blue Pearl” symmetrical photographs as variations on the same one theme. Some of the photographs presented here are entirely new, while others are transformations–variations on images I have used in previous projects.
Whatever you have in the outer world,
in the cosmos which appears so vast,
you have in the inner world too.
The outer and the inner
I want pause here to make an important distinction about the four-fold symmetrical “Blue Pearl” photographs: I don’t consider them mere illustrations of Baba Muktananda’s meditation experiences. Just as his words do much more than merely describe his visionary experiences, because his words are so charged with the grace of his experiences, similarly, the photographs presented here function for me as visual equivalents of my experience of Baba’s writings. In other words, the photographs function for me as symbols.
True Living Symbols
The ancient yogic teachings say that it is maya, the ego, which creates the appearance or illusion of a dual, phenomenal reality that separates us from the Truth of our own divine Self. The symbol could be defined as a sacred image which visualizes, or gives visual form to, the Unity of Being. It conjoins (re-unites) outer-world forms with their corresponding inner-world Imaginal-essential archetypes. The True symbol simultaneously contains and radiates a palpable, potentially life-transforming sacred energy, what Baba calls Chiti Shakti, and which is also referred to as “grace.”
After Baba achieved the fulfillment of his spiritual journey and consciously merged with the Light of Consciousness, he says he became “completely convinced that there is no such entity as the phenomenal world, that indeed there never was such an entity. What we call the universe is nothing other than the conscious play of Chiti Shakti.”
At the very center of each symmetrical photograph there is a bindu, an invisible point where the four mirroring images meet and become conjoined. In their state of four-fold unity the images become transformed into a new, revelatory visual whole, a symbolic image. The center-point, which corresponds to the Blue Pearl, is a subtle, ineffable space from which the image unfolds outwardly into manifestation from the interior Imaginal World.
The Contemplator and the Symbol
The mystery of the Blue Pearl–its origin, its meaning, its workings–is beyond comprehension. However, just as a True symbol is the product of the merging of two corresponding parts of an outward and inward dual reality, similarly, when a contemplator merges into the living grace-filled mystery of a symbol, a silent recognition does occur, a “hidden treasure” is unveiled, and sacred knowledge is transmitted, received, absorbed. Though the meaning of a contemplative experience of a symbol may be unknown, that is to say, unsayable—because sacred knowledge transcends the mind and the intellect–the contemplator becomes transformed by the experience: one’s heart opens, a subtle inner joy is awakened, the soul becomes intoxicated . .