Hudson River Dakini

A Short Story (for Alexis) by A T Mann


"Dakinis are “sky dancers,” heavenly angels devoted to the truth (dharma), female consorts of and partners with the god-creators of India and Tibet. They are objects of desire and also carriers of the cosmic energies that continually fertilize our human sphere with hope and love and compassion. They bring us pleasure, and also spirituality. They provoke the enervating lust that brings life into being and also warn us against its excesses. They are poetic and cosmic souls, put here to tempt us to spirituality. Their hold over us is legendary because we all lust after the pure lands of the spirit and are attracted to those who carry its ennui. It is said that the dakinis have the power to instantly entrap mere mortals with their gaze." from ATMann's book “Sacred Sexuality”)

She smiles like a goddess, and she is more than just a pretty young woman. The fact is that her exceptional body is of some exotic golden hue and its shape and movements can only have come here directly from heaven; that shows me that she is a gift of the goddess, brought to us down here on earth. As I watch, her twirling, flowing blond hair announces her light. She flaunts her youth like succulent fruits that are holy for good purpose. Her finely sculpted legs surmount delicate ankles that can only have been turned by precise celestial movements, orbits and retrogrades. I can see and feel that she certainly warms the hearts of the entire room here, dancing late at night at Brandows, in small-town Hudson, in upstate New York.

Her dancing seems to enable the nearby river to flow, the cosmos to sing, the stars to shine, and the planets to struggle to maintain their correct places. Her precious gyrations manifest strange harmonies as she glances out through the space caressing her arching arms. The symmetry of her movements rhythmically projects her ch'i out into the room and then back into herself and then this subtle energy emerges yet again with even more splendor, easily surpassing even her most assiduously queenly partners. It makes her balance upon the edge of the cosmic void all the more entrancing. She dances at the boundary of light and darkness, flirting with nothingness like a wise old Zen priestess; and then she withdraws back into her own persona, safe again, flashing a shy smile, glorious enough to melt the heart of darkness. Although unsophisticated and local, she transcends her domain and captures our hearts.

She attracts the gays, swarming and prancing within her magnetism, as she marshals the diverse energies that swirl outwardly in profusion. She out-dances the young men who constantly swoon in her wake, as they clearly hope to remind her, as though she needs it, of their ardor and forthrightness, as though it matters. The older men can only smile to themselves, if they are able to allow it, at what will only ever be a vicarious pleasure feasted upon by their eyes and in their wildest imaginations. Women notice her, but pretend they don’t. It is amusing, yet profound, how the goddess brings us under her spell, whatever our world-weariness and category of seeking.

She is a true Daughter of Light, a radiant being who brings peace to the passions of beingness and simultaneously remains a sprite who cannot be possessed: her fantasy exists to impel us to embrace unattainable essence, and she provides paths for the eternal spiritual narrative. She is a temptress who brings us the ultimate hermetic healing through her spiritual vessel, exuding light.

Yet despite the rampant lust made manifest by her whirlwind of delicious abandon, this spiraling princess of peace carries purely virginal energies, although her virginity reflects the concept of the ‘divine feminine,’ rather than indicating that she is technically so. Not yet impregnated by the new possibilities lapping against her shores, she remains pure and serene. This becomes Her.

The young man next to me talks, watching me, watching her. He tells me, as a school friend and contemporary of hers, before departing: “I know, I know. You won’t believe me, but she is the most wonderful person I’ve ever met. She is an angel.” I am surprised, but also not surprised, at this untoward statement from a young man barely old enough to shave every day and clearly overwhelmed by unmet testosterone urgencies. Yet one can only trust him completely, having also been entranced by her shimmering dakini smile.

I wonder about the motivations of the fantastic ecstasy she promises with her movements, which are eternal and continue to exert their delightful pressures on me, despite a lifetime of searching — and yet her spirit pervades me, whether or not I want it to be so. My only possible conclusion is that she dances Being into being. Such similarly blissful and seductive guises of the cosmos have always surrounded me and have often willingly penetrated my essence whenever they needed to strike home. In one sense, this beautiful young dakini weaves a new spiritual rhythm into my aging and aching heart, and will perpetuate her dance within me.

She relegates the kind of existence favored by our weary and moribund world to its proper context — bitter macho materialism versus the fluency and delicious randomness of goddess sprites at the command of the eternal feminine. As she parades her sublime dakini skills in service of the eldest original matriarchal deities, noting the absence of an appropriately cosmic mate makes even the invisible demons wish to be chosen, catching their unconsciously excited breaths. Yet, who could ever capture or contain this lovely waft of fresh air? Her sweet, but clueless boyfriend, who has no idea of her potentially infinite powers? Does she realize her own possibilities of spiritual knowing and ascent? Maybe so, but probably not, and it doesn't really matter. Could her wild abandon be the path to the true spirit, just as the Tibetans proclaim? I know this to be true: she will only return if I put into action what she has taught me about dancing my own spirit into reality.

Absolute joy dissolves the dark recesses of souls vibrating around her, this holy find of the see here. She is the arching figurehead surmounting the prow of this ship-like town emerging westward into the picturesque, lazy and ancient Hudson River. She doesn’t yet understand her destiny, unfolding this very moment, nor would this modify her process one iota. All she knows is that she produces smiles that seem to have no tangible origin, that around her people feel radiant suns illuminating their mundane lives. Seeing this daughter of Sophia overflowing with such brilliance and sheer wisdom makes my heart sing along with her, in resonance, without being seen or known. We all notice, but I know: she is the Hudson River Dakini. And we are all blessed by her presence.

A T Mann is the author of twenty books, published in fifteen languages.

He lives on Allen Street in Hudson after living in Europe for 27 years.

©A T Mann, 2000

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