Saturn, My Love, or Honesty and Self-realization
Happy Guru Purnima from Saturn, the Honesty Guru
I recently found out that Saturn is stationary in my natal Jyotish chart. This is a really powerful Saturn. It’s in between retrograde and direct motion, just hanging out in the sky with a laser-like, one-pointed gaze.
Among other qualities, Saturn brings honesty and also wrathfulness in the face of dishonesty. All who know me are laughing nervously right about now.
Saturn is the elder servant. Servants are supposed to work quietly in the background. Elder servants are like familiar furniture. They are rarely asked to leave the room, so they see and hear everything. They wield a kind of power that is routinely underestimated.
In television and the movies, what the old servant knows is often the turning point in moving the plot forward or solving a mystery. Something hidden must come to light despite the unwillingness of many of the participants.
The old servant orchestrates from the background to support more willing characters to gain the courage to reveal and act on the truth.
This is how it is between us and our karmas. Our honest, clear seeing has to find the courage to overthow our domineering karmic patterns (the distortions). Along the way, we need help, often in the form of a wise and unflinching advisor who can also give us a push or pull us back. (Saturn).
That advisor can show up externally in the form of a teacher or challenging circumstance. Saturn also appears internally in the form of an inner nudge that shows us the right direction and just won’t allow us to buy into our own or others’ deceptions.
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When honesty threatens the shaky edifice of our constructed self
Karma means bound activity. Karmas, for better or worse, are repeating patterns. Some karmas help us to wake up, but any karma represents some quantity of lack of spontaneity and freshness.
Karmas make us see and experience life in a particular way, a limited way.
Kriya is spontaneous, improvisational activity. It is naturalness in action. One way of describing spiritual life is that we are moving from karma to kriya.
Honesty is the catalyst for the movement from karma to kriya. Without honesty, we can go nowhere, spiritually speaking. This is why Saturn is a spiritual practitioner’s best friend. Saturn forces us to look at ourselves and circumstances with clear eyes.
But our karmas want to survive, and they have momentum! They protest more loudly the more we apply the transformative methods of sadhana. They might even “threaten” us in the form of our own fears.
“If I am more honest, my partner will be angry with me.”
“If I am more honest, I won’t be able to stay at the job I already hate.”
“If I change, I don’t know who I’ll be” (This is the biggie!)
Or in the form of self-defeating chit chat.
“I can’t do it!”
“It’s too hard!”
“It’s too scary!”
Or in the form of outright lies we tell ourselves.
“Others or the world need to change, not me!”
“Yeah, the way I’ve always been is totally justified and fine!”
Karma’s last hurrah
Saturn also appears as the mighty power of discipline. As we continue to put one foot in front of the other, doing our sadhana day-by-day, clarity increases. We come to painfully feel the effortful, contrived nature of our constructed personality. We notice more and more the limited and imprisoning nature of our concepts about ourselves and life and others.
We’ve reached a tipping point. The desire to remain as we were has been eclipsed by the desire to break out of the prison our habit patterns, including habitual thoughts and emotions and habitual ways of relating to others.
Determination and skillfulness are on the rise.
But like all great action adventures or mystery stories, the penultimate (second-to-last) episode is when things get really dire. Is the main character gonna make it or be defeated by the forces of ignorance?
This is the last hurrah of our karma just before it lays down its arms. It makes a stand and appears to be even more insurmountable than ever. But it’s already on the way out, and the scary show is all smoke and mirrors anyway.
Meanwhile, we’ve learned to steadily keep on with our sadhana, sidestepping even our own self-subterfuge. Perhaps even with the hint of a maniacal laugh. Take that, karma!
Befriend Saturn in the form of ruthless honesty
I’ve probably said this a thousand and eight times, but we can’t progress based on lies, including lies about our spiritual capacity, history, and experience. If you’re not really sure what your situation is, just throw out everything.
Stop telling any story about yourself and others, and see what's left. Feel and examine instead of fabricating stories about how and why.
Also, begin to notice when your karmas mount their biggest defense. This can particularly happen when our teachers point out that some cherished idea we have is a fantasy.
Sometimes we are willing to consider what the teacher is showing us. But at other times, our karmas revolt. We should pay particular attention to the moments when we are throwing up the most resistance.
Here’s an edifying story.
Some visitors once arrived late at night to the ashram of Swami Shivananda of Rishikesh. Swami Shivananda took them to the kitchen to get them a snack, but it was closed for the evening. So he went to the room of the sannyasin who was in charge of the kitchen and asked him to open it up and feed the visitors.
The sannyasin refused, angrily arguing that the kitchen closed at a certain hour and could not be opened. The sannyasin was willing to sacrifice hospitality for an arbitrary regulation and his own pride.
When Swami Shivananda insisted, the sannyasin locked himself in his room and didn’t come out for three days! He eventually had to be lured out with the offer of coffee, his favorite beverage, by his compassionate Guru.
Swami Shivananda had given the sannyasin an opportunity to loosen up, respond to circumstances in a fresh way, and act from the heart instead of the rule book. Instead, the sannyasin locked himself up with his grievances, anger, and pride.
I can tell you that ultimately, this did not end well for the sannyasin. He became an abusive person because of his unwillingness to be honest and look at his real condition.
Don’t be that character. Be ruthlessly honest and a lover of Saturn. Honesty will set you free.
with infinite love,