Noli me tangere...

A child's hand reaching to grasp a new object, moved by the instinctive desire to hold the world in those tiny fingers, to feel the thrill of a new sensation that only the touch can reveal...

 

So it is with the story, once pressed on the mind forever leaves an imprint whose shape mothers all other stories in its womb, so simple and profound in its essence, that no heart is left untouched by its narrative...



The story of Christ could be read as the reversal of the original Vedic Creation Myth, where Prajapati (the Progenitor), in order for the Universe to come forth, had to sacrifice Himself through an act of dismembering; so great is the Creator's compassion, that He willingly puts an end to His unity, so that diversity can take place!

 

That act of original Sacrifice has to be reconciled over and over as time goes by, and God incarnates into the flesh as Jesus, in order to restore the unity again between Spirit and matter, torn apart by the original descent. That's why so many great spiritual masters of India recognized Jesus as an avatar, and often referred to him as Love-incarnate. Some scholars believe that the historical Jesus had spent those missing years in the New Testament in Kashmir, learning at the feet of distinguished masters what would become later known as Kashmir Shaivism (a fusion of an old Vedic tradition with emerging practices of Tantra).

 

Small wonder that many Hindu Saints recognized in Christ a yogi par excellence, and one of the greatest Siddhas ever to walk the earth. Leaving arguments for the scholars and theologians, we'll come back to the story itself, the story which never fails to move the heart, for being the crossing point, the heart is where Christ left his most healing touch.

 

Some of the most precious moments in Christ's story, were the encounters with the small circle of his disciples, and the most enigmatic of all was with the woman, whom Christ saved from being stoned to death, known as Mary from Magdala. It is worth remembering, that the bond of unconditional Love — which broke the bondage of Mary's soul from the constraints of the body — was a touchstone between the Compassion of Jesus and the burning desire of Mary to become One with her Beloved. If Christ was the greatest yogi, then Mary Magdalene was destined to become a yogini of the Western world, as the foremost Christian Saint.

 

Noli me tangere — ''touch me not,'' is a Latin version of words spoken according to John, by Christ to Mary when she recognized him after his Resurrection. The original phrase was written in Greek and translates as ''cease clinging on to me.'' What was behind the line — when Christ appeared in front of Mary Magdalen, his most devoted disciple, making her move on an impulse to embrace the feet of her beloved Master, yet being restrained by him — Noli me tangere, the phrase has been a subject of many debates between the scholars and interpreters of Christianity. We'll give it a Tantric touch.

 

According to Kashmir Shaivism, the touch is considered to be the most important faculty of the senses, which takes place at the onset of the evolutionary process; more importantly, that process is being repeated over and over again at each and every instant of our existence! The touch is not only limited to the experience of the object of sense perception transmitted through the air element, and expressed through the organ of cognition as the hand. In fact, for the possibility of any experience to happen, there must be a moment of the crossing of the two, the union produced by that sensation. Sound uniting with ear, touch uniting with skin, sight uniting with form, taste uniting with tongue, scent uniting with the organ of smelling.

 

Through all the activity, touch is the culminating factor in giving the possibility of the experience for the one who is going through it. For that reason, Tantra considers all experiences erotic in their essence, for in every instant, on all the levels of creation, the original act is being re-created in a mini replica of Grand Union, as penetration of the Spirit into the World. The sense of touch is located at the Heart Center, and transmitted through the air element. It associated with the Heart Chakra, where hands serve as organs of cognition and the genitals as organs of action. The Heart Center is the seat of prana (vital force), as well as the seat of all emotions. The holy shrine of the body-temple and the Lord Himself dwells in its chamber, in the crossing point where the subject meets its object... and the experience is set in motion.

  

It's as if the Lord in response to the lover, who is in the agony of desire to embrace the Beloved, warns: “Do not touch me!  If you wish to unite with Me, you have to go beyond the realm of the senses!” The message is simple — to embrace the Lord, and to be touched by His Divine Grace, Mary Magdalene must withdraw her mind from the activity of the senses, if she is to enjoy true Union with the Beloved.

 

Igor Kufayev, Tashkent, Uzbekistan. February, 2010

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