What Is Shiva’s Relevance In Our Times?
Summary: Sadhguru says that the most important thing needed right now is to raise human consciousness. Today, we have reached a level of technological advancements, where we can create either heaven or hell on earth. So, unless human consciousness is raised, we will be using our capabilities against us, and not for our own wellbeing. This is why Shiva, the Adiyogi is relevant for us. He represents knowing, not knowlege, and that is what is needed today.
article originally published on isha.sadhguru.org
Adiyogi – The Shiva: Vital for Our Times
Question: Sadhguru, you place great importance on Shiva. Why do you not talk so much about other Masters, like Masters of Zen for example?
Sadhguru: Because there is no one crazy enough for me. We are not talking about Shiva versus someone else. That which you refer to as Shiva includes everything. There have been many wonderful human beings who have done great service to humanity. But in terms of perception, there has not been another being like him.
So you are talking about Zen. What greater master of Zen than Shiva himself? Have you heard of the Zen Master Gutei? Whenever Gutei was talking about Zen, he would always raise his finger, trying to show, “Everything is one.” In these Zen monasteries, little boys became monks at four, five years of age. A little boy like this who was growing up in the monastery saw Gutei and also began to raise his index finger whenever anyone said anything. Gutei watched this but waited for the boy to become sixteen years of age. Then one day, Gutei called the boy and raised his finger. The boy instinctively also did the same thing. Gutei took out a knife and chopped off the boy’s finger, and they say the boy attained. He suddenly saw the point that it is not about one, it is about nothing.
Shiva went further, a long time ago. One day, after a long absence, he came back home. He had not seen his son who was now ten, eleven years of age. When he came, this boy, who carried a little trident, tried to stop him. Shiva took off his head, not his trident. Parvati was hugely upset about this. So to fix this, Shiva put a gana’s head on the boy’s body, who then became very brilliant. Even today in India, before people start education or anything else, they will first worship this boy. Now people have kind of modified it and the gana head has become a gaja [elephant] head, but he became the very embodiment of intelligence and brilliance. They said there was nothing that he did not know.
Nothing in this world is left out of Shiva’s life. He is so complex and so complete.
That was the first act of Zen. Nothing in this world is left out of Shiva’s life. He is so complex and so complete. And he did not have a teaching, he only had methods, and these methods are one hundred percent scientific in nature. He gave 112 ways in which a human being can attain because there are 114 chakras in the human system, but two of them are outside the physical body, so he said, “That realm is only for those who are beyond. For human beings, there are only 112 ways.” And he showed clear methods as to how you can exploit these 112 dimensions of how this life is made. Through each one of them, you can realize.
What Shiva was talking is the mechanics of life, no philosophy, no teaching, no social relevance – simply science. From this science, individual masters make technology. He gave the science of it. Behind the technologies that you are enjoying today, either in the form of a smartphone or a computer or some other gadget, there is a science. That science is not relevant to you. You are only using the technology. But if someone had not grasped the science, you would not have the technology.
So what Shiva said is simply pure science. He left it to the Saptarishis to make the technology as it would suit the people who would sit in front of them on that day. Technology can be made up. Depending upon what we need, we produce a particular gadget, but the fundamental science is the same. Gadgets that are relevant today may be irrelevant tomorrow. So many gadgets that we once thought were very valuable are no more valuable because new gadgets have come – but the science is the same.
So with the Adiyogi, we are looking at the fundamental science. At a time like this, when for various reasons, humanity is in the kind of state that it is in, it is important that the essential science is strengthened.
Why do I invoke Adiyogi, the Shiva so recurrently? It is a question I am often asked. The answer to that is simple. It is not because I want to anthropomorphize the divine. It is not because I want to introduce some devious mode of pagan worship. It is not because I want to usher in some Eastern cult. I invoke him simply because he is vital for our times. And he is vital because there is nothing more important right now than raising human consciousness. We have the tools and technologies in our hands with which we can make this world a paradise, or turn it into a living hell, or obliterate it altogether because of our own capabilities. In other words, we have reached a point where if we do not raise human consciousness, our intelligence and capability is going to work against us. We are racing rapidly towards self-sabotage. How did we get ourselves into this mess? We got here because we developed our intellect at the expense of our interiority.
Stitching with a Knife
Right now, we use the single faculty of the intellect and mistake it for everything, forgetting that the mind is much more than that. The intellect is a tremendous resource. However, in isolation, it is a disaster because while the other dimensions of the mind enhance, the intellect can only divide. It does not allow you to simply be with anything completely. The nature of consciousness is inclusion. Consciousness is one big embrace of the universe. If that experience does not happen to an empowered intellect, that intellect is going to destroy the world. In the East, there are several proverbs that say that when people show symptoms of an overactive intellect, they are heading towards total destruction. In isolation, the intellect is divisive: it is capable of dividing even the self into different parts! In today’s world, there is much effort towards unity. But we are trying to put everything together with the intellect. It is like you try to stitch the world together with a knife – it will only leave everything in tatters.
The Missing Ingredient
The crucial ingredient missing in the world today is what yoga calls chitta – the deepest dimension of the mind. This is intelligence unsullied by memory, which connects you to the very basis of creation. Chitta is awareness, the intelligence of existence itself, the very cosmos in the living mind. In the yogic tradition, it is said that once you distance yourself from the compulsions of your genetic and karmic software, as well as the vested interests and identifications of your intellect, you are in touch with chitta, an unclouded consciousness. Now, your life returns to the way it was always intended to be – radiantly alive, fresh, immaculate. Even the divine has no choice but to serve you. Adiyogi, the first yogi, becomes hugely significant in such a context because there is no one on this planet who has explored and revealed as much as he has. In terms of creating the most extensive and sophisticated system of human self-understanding – 112 methods by which human beings can explore and reach their fullest potential – there is no one whose contribution exceeds his.
Knowing, not Knowledge
Adiyogi knew life by becoming one with it – not cerebrally, but experientially. A yogi is one who has experienced union with the whole of existence. What Adiyogi represents is knowing, not knowledge. Knowledge is intellectual accumulation. Knowing, on the other hand, is neither intellectual nor accumulative. If you pass a flowering plant and you know the chemistry of its fragrance, that is one dimension of knowledge. If you know the experience and ecstasy of that fragrance, that is another dimension of knowledge. But if you become the fragrance, that is knowing. A knowing that is 100 per cent experiential,100 per cent alive, here and now. This is what Adiyogi represents. That is why despite attempts to appropriate him, he cannot be domesticated by any scripture, dogma or doctrine. Nature has set some laws for human beings. Breaking through the cyclical laws of physical nature is the basis of the spiritual process that Adiyogi explored. In that sense, yoga is a science for those who seek to be outlaws. And that is what Adiyogi represents: the ultimate outlaw.