Is Shiva A God? What Does Shiva Mean?

February 4, 2019

11 min read

Summary: Is Shiva a God sitting up there? Sadhguru explains what does the word 'Shiva' actually mean and the significance of this in the spiritual process.

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article originally published on isha.sadhguru.org

Shi-Va: A Device To See Life The Way It Is

Sadhguru: People keep asking me about whether they should believe in God or not. Let me ask you a question: Do you believe you have two hands, or do you know you have two hands? You don’t have to look at your arms to know that you have two hands because you know you do in your experience. Why is it that when it comes to hands, you know, but with gods, you believe? Essentially, it is because you are not sincere enough to admit that you do not know.

Belief comes because you are not straight enough to admit that you do not know. “I do not know” is a tremendous possibility. It is only when you realize “I do not know,” that the longing to know comes. When the longing to know comes, seeking will come. When seeking comes, there is a possibility to know. However, if you simply believe what you do not know, you have ensured that you will never know.

“I Do Not Know” is a Possibility

No true seeking can happen if one assumes what is at the other end. One does not know, only then his seeking is truly genuine. Seeking always comes from “I do not know.” You do not know, so you are seeking to know. Seeking comes from a certain state of innocence, a void from which you want to come out. Seeking is a searching – you do not know what it is; you are seeking, you are finding your way.

When we say, “Shiva,” we are not talking about some god. Literally, “Shiva” means “that which is not.”

Unfortunately, in the world, most people are not willing to strive, and belief systems have become an easy substitute. You just believe: “Yes, there is divine. Yes, there is devil.” You can fool yourself with this, but it is meaningless because you have made it up in your mind.

People have so many belief systems. People talk about heaven and imagine a place with all the things you could not get here – food, women, gods or whatever else. All that you are deprived of here, you put it “up there”. This is why in Indian culture, we said “Shi-va”, which means “that which is not.”

When we say, “Shiva,” we are not talking about some god. Literally, “Shiva” means “that which is not.” Physicists today have proven that the whole creation comes from nothing and will go back to nothing. The vast nothingness is the basis of existence and the fundamental quality of the cosmos. The billions of massive galaxies are only a small sprinkling in this vast nothingness, which we refer to as Shiva.

Imagine No-Thing

So, what is up there? No-thing. How do you imagine a no-thing? Try hard and see! The more you apply yourself, it will dematerialize all the forms that you have in your mind. In this culture, they told you to say “Shiva” constantly because we are talking about demolishing every form you have created. Whether you created gods, ghosts or goblins, it doesn’t matter. You created them. If you don’t put them down, you will never see reality the way it is. You will always imagine that these things are floating around. So this was given as a methodology with which you can demolish all this.

You say “Shiva” because you are trying to conceptualize that which is not. The more effort you put into this, the more the mind becomes clean and flat.

The fundamental of a spiritual process is that you don’t assume anything. When you say “Shiva”, it is not that you believe Shiva is sitting up there. You are just using a sound as a device. This sound was not given without basis. We observed and realized what different types of sounds will do with you. Shi-va is a way of burning it out, so that life begins fresh every moment. Your psychological space will become like a plain mirror. It will just show you what is there, nothing more. That is how your mind should be. This is a useful mind. Right now, too many things are sticking to it. Just imagine if your house mirror became like this: whoever comes in front of it, it retains ten percent of the reflection. It would become useless in no time.

When you try to conceptualize that which cannot be conceptualized, you are trying to see something that does not have a form. If you really go at it, this is seeking. Then you will transcend physical creation. If you transcend physicality and if you are still here, that means you touched something else. That something else, we called it “that which is not.”

So, you say “Shiva” because you are trying to conceptualize that which is not. The more effort you put into this, the more the mind becomes clean and flat. What you like and dislike, what you love and hate, everything will go. Once you have a flat, clean mirror, you see everything just the way it is because the firmament of your mind is the only place you see anything in the existence. If you do not keep that clean and flat, you will see your own ghosts.

Fighting with Ghosts

Let me tell you a joke. A man got admitted for a medical checkup. He was a very modest man and he was not used to a physical checkup like this where they stripped him down and made him do this, that, weight, height, treadmill – all kinds of things. During all this, somehow, they did not let him go to the bathroom, and he could not help himself and it happened on the bed! He did not want the pretty nurse attending to him to see what he had done on the bed sheet because he was a very modest man. So, he picked up the sheet and threw it out the third floor window.

A drunkard was walking down on the street, trying to figure out the shape of the planet! Suddenly, this white sheet came floating down and fell on him. He began flailing his arms and legs and rolled around and this and that. Somehow, he got the sheet off, and the sheet was down there at his feet. He looked down at the messy sheet. Then someone came and asked, “What happened?” He said, “I think I just beat the shit out of a ghost!” This is what is happening with most people. You are fighting ghosts which do not exist. You can fight and win a war with them, but the more you win, the more you will be lost.

Seeking does not mean imagining something and trying to get there – that’s madness. You don’t imagine anything. How do you not imagine anything? Because once you have memory, imagination will come. So, this device was given – conceptualize that which is not. Try harder and harder, and you will see, mind will become poof!

What does Shiva mean?

When we say “Shiva,” there are two fundamental aspects that we are referring to. The word “Shiva” means literally, “that which is not.” Today, modern science is proving to us that everything comes from nothing and goes back to nothing. The basis of existence and the fundamental quality of the cosmos is vast nothingness. The galaxies are just a small happening – a sprinkling. The rest is all vast empty space, which is referred to as Shiva. That is the womb from which everything is born, and that is the oblivion into which everything is sucked back. Everything comes from Shiva and goes back to Shiva.

The word “Shiva” means literally, “that which is not.” On another level, when we say “Shiva,” we are referring to a certain yogi, the Adiyogi or the first yogi, and also the Adi Guru, the first Guru.

So Shiva is described as a non-being, not as a being. Shiva is not described as light, but as darkness. Humanity has gone about eulogizing light only because of the nature of the visual apparatus that they carry. Otherwise, the only thing that is always, is darkness. Light is a limited happening in the sense that any source of light – whether a light bulb or the sun – will eventually lose its ability to give out light. Light is not eternal. It is always a limited possibility because it happens and it ends. Darkness is a much bigger possibility than light. Nothing needs to burn, it is always – it is eternal. Darkness is everywhere. It is the only thing that is all pervading.

But if I say “divine darkness,” people think I am a devil worshiper or something. In fact, in some places in the West it is being propagated that Shiva is a demon! But if you look at it as a concept, there isn’t a more intelligent concept on the planet about the whole process of creation and how it has happened. I have been talking about this in scientific terms without using the word “Shiva” to scientists around the world, and they are amazed, “Is this so? This was known? When?” We have known this for thousands of years. Almost every peasant in India knows about it unconsciously. He talks about it without even knowing the science behind it.

The First Yogi

On another level, when we say “Shiva,” we are referring to a certain yogi, the Adiyogi or the first yogi, and also the Adi Guru, the first Guru, who is the basis of what we know as the yogic science today. Yoga does not mean standing on your head or holding your breath. Yoga is the science and technology to know the essential nature of how this life is created and how it can be taken to its ultimate possibility.

This first transmission of yogic sciences happened on the banks of Kanti Sarovar, a glacial lake a few miles beyond Kedarnath in the Himalayas, where Adiyogi began a systematic exposition of this inner technology to his first seven disciples, celebrated today as the Sapta Rishis. This predates all religion. Before people devised divisive ways of fracturing humanity to a point where it seems almost impossible to fix, the most powerful tools necessary to raise human consciousness were realized and propagated.

One and the Same

So “Shiva” refers to both “that which is not,” and Adiyogi, because in many ways, they are synonymous. This being, who is a yogi, and that non-being, which is the basis of the existence, are the same, because to call someone a yogi means he has experienced the existence as himself. If you have to contain the existence within you even for a moment as an experience, you have to be that nothingness. Only nothingness can hold everything. Something can never hold everything. A vessel cannot hold an ocean. This planet can hold an ocean, but it cannot hold the solar system. The solar system can hold these few planets and the sun, but it cannot hold the rest of the galaxy. If you go progressively like this, ultimately you will see it is only nothingness that can hold everything. The word “yoga” means “union.” A yogi is one who has experienced the union. That means, at least for one moment, he has been absolute nothingness.

When we talk about Shiva as “that which is not,” and Shiva as a yogi, in a way they are synonymous, yet they are two different aspects. Because India is a dialectical culture, we shift from this to that and that to this effortlessly. One moment we talk about Shiva as the ultimate, the next moment we talk about Shiva as the man who gave us this whole process of yoga.

Who Shiva is Not!

Unfortunately, most people today have been introduced to Shiva only through Indian calendar art. They have made him a chubby-cheeked, blue-colored man because the calendar artist has only one face. If you ask for Krishna, he will put a flute in his hand. If you ask for Rama, he will put a bow in his hand. If you ask for Shiva, he will put a moon on his head, and that’s it!

Every time I see these calendars, I always decide to never ever sit in front of a painter. Photographs are all right – they capture you whichever way you are. If you look like a devil, you look like a devil. Why would a yogi like Shiva look chubby-cheeked? If you showed him skinny it would be okay, but a chubby-cheek Shiva – how is that?

In the yogic culture, Shiva is not seen as a God. He was a being who walked this land and lived in the Himalayan region. As the very source of the yogic traditions, his contribution in the making of human consciousness is too phenomenal to be ignored. Every possible way in which you could approach and transform the human mechanism into an ultimate possibility was explored thousands years ago. The sophistication of it is unbelievable. The question of whether people were so sophisticated at that time is irrelevant because this did not come from a certain civilization or thought process. This came from an inner realization. This had nothing to do with what was happening around him. It was just an outpouring of himself. In great detail, he gave a meaning and a possibility of what you could do with every point in the human mechanism. You cannot change a single thing even today because he said everything that could be said in such beautiful and intelligent ways. You can only spend your lifetime trying to decipher it.


Shiva – Intoxicated, Still And Exuberant

March 4, 2019

3 min read

Summary: As a Yogi, Shiva embodies the three essential qualities - stillness, exuberance and intoxication. Modern science tells us that the core of the cosmos is largely stillness. In Yoga, 'Shi-Va', means ' that which is not'. Once someone experiences life beyond physical and psychological, they naturally become still. It is from this stillness that exuberance rises, which enables one to participate in life. Intoxication is a lubricant allowing one to engage with life effortlessly. Using chemical intoxication renders us incompetent. Sadhguru gives us a simple tool to develop these three essential qualities within ourselves.

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article originally published on isha.sadhguru.org

https://isha.sadhguru.org/in/en/wisdom/article/shiva-stillness-exuberance-intoxication

Sadhguru: “Is life suffering or bliss?” I was asked recently. I replied: If you had a choice, what would you want it to be?

Everyone’s choice is always the highest form of pleasantness. Yet, we have turned ourselves into misery-manufacturing machines. This is because we have divided creation within our psychological structure. Once you divide creation into ‘good’ and ‘bad’, acceptance and rejection, you have forsaken the possibility of bliss.

This is where Shiva becomes such a potent metaphor for our times. As a yogi, he embodies three essential qualities: stillness, exuberance and intoxication. These are the fundamental principles underlying all of creation. Without these, human life is an endless struggle.

Modern science and the yogic tradition agree that the core of the cosmos is essentially stillness. Although we know of Big Bangs and exploding galaxies, the larger part of the universe remains still. This, in yogic parlance, is Shi-va, ‘that which is not’. This is the very source of creation, the fundamental basis of the atomic and the cosmic. If human beings are to know life beyond the physical and the psychological, it is imperative that they become still.

From this stillness emerges a dynamism that allows the universe to manifest. This accounts for the richness of creation. This exuberance allows us to participate in life, to engage with creation. The human body is heading to death every moment, and the mind, towards intensifying confusion. Without exuberance, human life would be truly impossible.

However, to engage with the seemingly illogical and contrary nature of creation, we need intoxication as lubricant. It is intoxication that makes Shiva a fascinating mix of hermit and dancer, ascetic and householder. It is intoxication that enables him to be passionate and dispassionate – deeply involved in life, yet untouched by it.

Folklore often depicts Shiva in a state of perennial inebriation. But Shiva is not a consumer of cannabis. He is the cannabis, the very source of intoxication.

We have sought intoxication in various ways since the dawn of time. Some seek it through love. Others turn to alcohol and other chemical substances. Intoxication is essentially a means to reduce friction, to lubricate our engagement with the world. Imbuing us with flexibility and fluidity, it empowers us to play with life rather than minimise our engagement out of fear of conflict.

The only problem with chemical intoxication is that it robs us of competence. However, if we are able to draw on an inner source of intoxication, our physical and psychological life would be absolutely smooth and seamless, enhancing our competence, still leaving us utterly blissed out. Folklore often depicts Shiva in a state of perennial inebriation. But Shiva is not a consumer of cannabis. He is the cannabis, the very source of intoxication.

How do we consciously cultivate these three qualities in our lives? Mahashivaratri is a great time to blossom into a full-fledged human being. You could try this simple practice. During the day, at various junctures, strive to bring stillness and silence into any posture. After sunset, allow yourself to turn exuberant and dance. If you stay awake all night, after being still in the day, you will find a certain intoxication naturally pervading your being.

One who is permeated by Shiva has nothing to long for, nothing to cry for. Nothing matters anymore. When nothing matters, everything matters. When things matter selectively, you get entangled. When everything matters, you are free! You are now drenched with the intensely intoxicating freedom of life. You have touched life at its very peak. When you touch that intense, concentrated, absolute life, you have, in fact, touched Shiva.


What Is Shiva’s Relevance In Our Times?

February 13, 2018

7 min read

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.

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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.


Four Significant Places Where Shiva Spent Time

February 10, 2015

9 min read

Summary: Shiva traveled to many places in India. Sadhguru tells us about four significant spaces where he spent time - Kailash, Velliangiri, Kashi and Kantisarovar. He elaborates on the power and energy of these spaces, and why they are significant for any spiritual seeker.

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article originally published on isha.sadhguru.org

The Presence of Shiva – On the Trail of the First Yogi

Sadhguru: In the yogic culture, Shiva is not seen as a God. He was a being who walked this land and is the very source of the yogic traditions. He is the Adiyogi or the first yogi, and also the Adi Guru, the first Guru. This first transmission of yogic sciences happened on the banks of Kanti Sarovar, a glacial lake a few miles beyond Kedarnath in the Himalayas, where Adiyogi began a systematic exposition of this inner technology to his first seven disciples, celebrated today as the Sapta Rishis.

Kantisarovar – Lake of Grace

The legend goes that Shiva and Parvati lived on the banks of Kantisarovar, and in Kedar, there lived many yogis whom Shiva and Parvati would visit. Many years ago, I used to travel alone for a month or two every year in the Himalayas. The first time I went to Kantisarovar was in 1994. Kantisarovar is the lake that burst out and came to Kedar during the 2013 floods. Today, it is being called Gandhi Sarovar. It is actually Kantisarovar. Kanti means grace, sarovar means a lake. It is a lake of grace.

When I got to Kedar after a long trek, I heard about Kantisarovar, so one afternoon, I set forth around 2 or 2:30pm and got there in a little more than an hour’s time. There was the lake and snow-capped mountains around it. In terms of nature, it is fantastic – this huge lake of absolutely still water, no vegetation and all the snow-covered peaks reflecting in the totally still water. It was an incredible place.

I just sat there, and the serenity, silence and purity penetrated my consciousness. The climb, the altitude and the desolate beauty of that place left me breathless. I sat in that stillness on a small rock with my eyes open, imbibing every form around me. The surroundings gradually lost their form and only nada – sound – existed. The mountain, the lake and the whole surroundings, including my body, did not exist in their usual form. Everything was just sound. Within me a song arose: “Nada brahma vishwa swaroopa.”

NADA BRAHMA

Nada Brahma Vishwaswaroopa
Nada Hi Sakala Jeevaroopa
Nada Hi Karma Nada Hi Dharma
Nada Hi Bandhana Nada Hi Mukti
Nada Hi Shankara Nada Hi Shakti
Nadam Nadam Sarvam Nadam
Nadam Nadam Nadam Nadam

I am somebody who always avoided learning the Sanskrit language. Though I like the language very much and I know the depth of the language, I avoided learning it because the moment you learn Sanskrit, you will invariably end up reading the scriptures. My own vision has never failed me in anything even for one moment, so I did not want to clutter myself with scriptures and all these traditions. So I avoided the Sanskrit language.

While I was sitting there, my mouth was definitely closed and my eyes open, and I heard this song in a big way, in my voice. It was my voice singing, and it was a Sanskrit song. I heard it clearly, loudly. So loud, it was like the whole mountain was singing. In my experience, everything had turned into sound. That is when I perceived this song. I didn’t make it up, I didn’t write it – it just descended upon me. The whole song flowed out in Sanskrit. The experience was overpowering.

Slowly, after some time, everything fell back into its earlier form. The fall of my consciousness – the fall from nada to rupa – filled my eyes with tears.

If you just give yourself to that song, there is a kind of power to it. It has a power to dissolve a person, if you really throw yourself into it.

Kailash – Mystic Mountain

In the Hindu way of life, it is said that Kailash is the Abode of Shiva. It does not mean he is sitting up there dancing or hiding in the snow. It means he deposited his knowing there. When Adiyogi found that each one of the Sapta Rishis had grasped one aspect of the knowing, and he could not find another human being who could grasp all seven dimensions of yoga, that is when he decided to deposit all of it into Mount Kailash so that all seven dimensions of knowing the mechanics of life are preserved in one place and one source. Kailash became the greatest mystical library on the planet – a live library, not just with information, but alive!

When a person realizes himself and his perception goes far beyond what is considered normal perception, what he has perceived cannot always be transmitted to people around him. Only a small part of it may be transmitted. It is very rare for any master to find people to whom he can transmit all of himself.

So where do you leave all this? You don’t want this to become lost. So, for thousands of years, realized beings always traveled to Kailash and deposited their knowledge in a certain energy form, using the mountain as a basis. It is because of this that South Indian mysticism always says that Agastya, who is the basis of this form of mysticism, lives in the Southern face of Kailash. The Buddhists say three of their main Buddhas live in the mountain. The Jains say Rishabh, the first of the Teerthankaras, lives in Kailash.

For a spiritual seeker, Kailash is like touching the ultimate source on this planet. For one who is in pursuit of mysticism, this is the place. There is no other place like this.

Velliangiri – Kailash of the South

Very close to where we are in South India, we have another repository of mysticism – the Velliangiri Mountain. This is referred to as the Kailash of the South. It is a phenomenal space. The biggest heap of knowing is Kailash. But various mystics and yogis in the South used Velliangiri when they wanted to store knowing. Nothing is comparable to Kailash as a library in terms of volume, but in terms of quality, Velliangiri is just as good.

The mountain is known as the Seven Hills because if you climb, there are seven undulations that make you feel like you are going up seven hills. The last peak is totally wind-blown – nothing grows there except grass. There are just three very huge boulders that have formed a shelter between themselves that is like a little temple with a small linga. It is an incredibly powerful place.

The yogis and siddhas who came down this mountain were completely of a different kind – extremely fierce and intense people. So many beings – the kind of men that gods would be envious of because they lived with such grace and dignity – have walked this mountain. These great beings let the whole mountain imbibe what they knew, and it can never be lost. This is also a mountain where my Guru walked and the place he chose to shed his body. So this is not just a mountain, this is a temple for us.

Kashi – The Eternal City

People have been traveling to Kashi from across the world for thousands of years. Gautama came here to give his first teaching. The Chinese travelled here after Gautama’s arrival. Nalanda University – which is recognized as the greatest place of learning – is just a small drop of knowledge that fell out of Kashi. All the people that you hear of, like Aryabhata and so many others, came from this region, all generated by the culture that was alive in Kashi.

When the yogis saw the nature of the cosmos – as to how it is evolving from within itself, and how its ability to evolve is quite limitless – they were tempted to make their own. In Kashi, they built a kind of instrument in the form of a city that brings a union between the micro and the macro. This little human being can have a phenomenal possibility of uniting with the cosmic reality, and knowing the pleasure, ecstasy and beauty of becoming one with the cosmic nature. Geometrically, Kashi is a perfect manifestation of how the cosmos, or the macrocosm and the microcosm, can meet. There have been many instruments like this in the country, but to create a city like Kashi is a mad ambition. And they did it thousands of years ago. There were 72,000 shrines – the number of nadis in the human body. The whole process is like a manifestation of a mega human body to make contact with a larger cosmic body. It is because of this that the whole tradition came up: “If you go to Kashi, that is it.” You don’t want to leave the place because when you get connected to the cosmic nature, why would you want to go anywhere else?

The legend of Kashi goes one hundred percent by the fundamental that Shiva himself lived here. This was his winter place. There are stories about how he sent people to Kashi, one after another, and they never came back because it was so fantastic. But maybe the story is saying that he sent people to build it, and they took a long time. After it was built, he came and he liked it, and decided to stay.

In the last few centuries, Kashi was razed to the ground thrice. How much of it is alive today is a question mark, but definitely something is still on – it is not all gone. It is a misfortune that we were not alive when it was in full glory. It must have been the most phenomenal place to have drawn people from across the world.

We have survived the past, but the question is, will we survive the future? When I say “we,” I am not talking about a particular religion. I am talking about those populations on the planet who are willing to look at life the way it is, not trying to impose their opinion on someone else. The world does not need dogma, philosophies or belief systems. What it needs is for human ability to be able to perceive something that is right now considered “beyond.” This is the only way a human being will know. This is the only way human consciousness will expand. This is the only way a human being will evolve beyond the narrow divisions that have happened in human societies.

 


Why Other Cultures Don’t Speak About Shiva?

September 9, 2016

4 min read

Summary: Sadhguru tells us that the word 'Shi-va' literally means 'that which is not'. Today modern science is telling us that everything comes from nothing, and goes back to nothing. So, everything comes from Shiva and goes back to Shiva. There is no enlightened being who has not spoken about Shiva, but they have expressed it in the language and symbolism of their region. Sadhguru tells, that the sound 'Shi-va' was arrived at with a profound understanding of life, and uttering this sound directs energy in a certain way.

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article originally published on isha.sadhguru.org

Were other cultures aware of Shiva?

Sadhguru: There was no enlightened being who did not talk about Shiva, in the sense of a boundless dimension, or something beyond physical nature. The only difference is they may have expressed it in the language and symbolism of their region.

The word “Shiva” literally means, “that which is not.” Today, modern science is proving to us that everything comes from nothing and goes back to nothing. The basis of existence and the fundamental quality of the cosmos is vast nothingness. The galaxies are just a small happening – a sprinkling. The rest is all vast empty space, which is referred to as Shiva. That is the womb from which everything is born, and that is the oblivion into which everything is sucked back. Everything comes from Shiva and goes back to Shiva.

Another dimension of Shiva is Adiyogi, the first yogi, who opened up the incredible science of yoga for humanity. The yogic culture moves seamlessly from invoking Shiva as the basis of creation to invoking Shiva as the first yogi.

Is this contradictory?

Not at all, because once yoga or ultimate union has happened, there is no longer a distinction between ultimate reality and the one who has experienced it.

Shi-Va: Directing Energy

We arrived at the sound “Shiva,” based on a very profound understanding of life. We know the sound Shiva can do incredible things to you. If you are receptive enough, the sound can be explosive – just one utterance will explode within you in such a powerful way.

When we say “Shiva” we are talking about directing the energy in a certain way, in a certain direction.

The sound “Shi” in Shiva fundamentally means power or energy. In the Indian way of life, we have always symbolized the feminine as power – Shakti. Somehow, the English language found the same word to describe the feminine as “She.” “Shi” fundamentally means Shakti or energy. But if you just go on doing too much “Shi,” it will take you off-balance. So “Va” in the mantra is added as a damper to slow it down and keep the balance. “Va” comes from “Vama” which means mastery. So in “Shi-va,” one energizes it and the other balances or takes control of it. Undirected energy is of no use, it could be destructive. So when we say “Shiva” we are talking about directing the energy in a certain way, in a certain direction.

In India, we had an atmosphere to create a scientifically structured language that represents an entire system of sounds. In this culture, we did not attach too much significance to the meaning, but we attached enormous significance to the reverberations that we generate. Meaning exists only in human minds – sound exists in the universe. Because of this, we evolved language in such a way that it is first of all about sound – you can attach meanings to it later. We arrived at the right kinds of sounds, and we described everything the way it is. But in every other culture also, there are instances where they talk about similar things.

Lost Worlds of Mysticism

However, because of very aggressive ways of spreading religion around the world in the last 1500 years, most of the great cultures of the past, like the ancient Mesopotamian civilization, the Central Asian civilizations, and the North African civilizations, have disappeared. So it is not very visible anymore, but if you look deeper into history, it was everywhere. For example in Konya, Turkey, the place where Rumi lived the last part of his life and died, there is a mausoleum with his remains. When I went there once, I saw a large linga lying outside.

It was damaged at one end, but still alive at the other end – after maybe 2500 or 3000 years. Another example is Delphi, Greece, which was known as the Navel of the Earth because a manipuraka linga was established there. It was consecrated about 4200 years ago. This linga used to have a mercury core. When really bad things happened there, the mercury dissipated.

So, in some way, mystical sciences used to be present in every culture. But in the last 1500 years, they were largely lost in other parts of the world.


Sadhguru Unfolds Shiva’s Numerous Forms

March 7, 2016

13 min read

Summary: Shiva has many forms. Each of them represents a different dimension and a power possibility for spiritual gowth. Sadhghuru looks at them, and explains the significance of each one of them; Yogishwara, Bhuteshwara, Kaleshwara, Sarveshwara, Shambo, Bholenath, Natraja, Ardhnarishwara, Kalabhairava, Adiyogi, Triambaka. Sadhguru also gives a powerful key "shambho" - a key to dissolve.

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article originally published on isha.sadhguru.org

Understanding The Forms of Shiva

hiva has numerous forms that encompass every possible quality that the human mind can and cannot imagine! Some are wild and fierce. Some are enigmatic. Others are endearing and charming. From the naïve Bholenath to the fearsome Kalabhairava, from the beautiful Somasundara to the terrible Aghora – Shiva embraces every possibility, remaining untouched by it all.

Yogishwara

Sadhguru: Being on the path of yoga means you have come to a phase in your life where you have felt the limitations of being physical, you have felt the need to go beyond the physical – you have felt restrained even by this vast cosmos. You are able to see that if you can be restrained by a small boundary, you can also be restrained by a huge boundary at some point. You do not have to crisscross the cosmos to experience this. Sitting here, you know if this boundary restrains you, if you crisscross the cosmos, that will also restrain you after some time – it is only a question of your ability to travel distances. Once your ability to travel distances is enhanced, any kind of boundary will be a restriction for you. Once you have understood and known this, once you have felt this longing that cannot be fulfilled by mastering physical creation – yoga. Yoga means to breach the barrier of physical creation. Your effort is not just to master the physicality of existence, but to breach its boundary and touch a dimension that is not physical in nature. You want to unite that which is bound and that which is boundless. You want to dissolve the boundary into the boundless nature of existence. So, Yogishwaraya.

Bhuteshwara

The physical creation – all that we can see, hear, smell, taste, and touch – the very body, the planet, the universe, the cosmos – everything is just a play of five elements. Only with five ingredients, what a magnificent mischief called “creation”! With only five things, which you can count on one hand, how many things are being created! Creation could not be more compassionate. If there were five million ingredients, you would be lost.

Gaining mastery over these five elements, which are known as the pancha bhutas, is everything – your health, your wellbeing, your power in the world and your ability to create what you want. Knowingly or unknowingly, consciously or unconsciously, individual people attain to some level of control or mastery over these different elements. How much control or mastery they have determines the nature of their body, the nature of their mind, the nature of what they do, how successfully they do it, how far they can see – everything. Bhuta Bhuta Bhuteshwaraya means that one who has mastery over the pancha bhutas determines the destiny of his life, at least in the physical realm.

Kaleshwara

Kala – time. No matter if you have mastered the five elements, you have become one with the boundless, or you know dissolution – as long as you are here, time is ticking away. Mastering time is a completely different dimension. Kala does not just mean time, it also means darkness. Time is darkness. Time cannot be light because light travels in time. Light is a slave of time. Light is a phenomenon that has a beginning and an end. Time is not that kind of phenomenon. In the Hindu way of life, they have a very sophisticated understanding of time as six different dimensions. One thing you have to know – as you sit here, your time is ticking away. The Tamil expression for death is very good – Kalam aayitanga – “his time is up.”

In English, we also used such an expression in the past – “he expired.” Like a drug or anything else, a human being also comes with an expiry date. You may think you are going to so many places. No, as far as your body is concerned, it is going straight to the grave, without deviating for a moment. You can slow it down a bit, but it will not change direction. As you are getting older, you will see, slowly, the earth is trying to suck you back. Life completes its turn.

Time is a special dimension of life – it does not fit into the other three dimensions. And of all the things in the universe, it is the most elusive stuff. You cannot pin it down, because it is not. It does not exist in any form of existence that you know. It is the most powerful dimension of creation, which holds the whole universe together. It is because of this that modern physics is clueless about how gravity functions, because there is no gravity. It is time which holds everything together.

Shiva – Sarveshwara – Shambho

Shiva means “that which is not; that which is dissolved.” That which is not is the basis of everything, and that is the boundless Sarveshwara. Shambho is just a key, a passage. If you can utter it in a way that your body will tear up, it will become a passage. If you want to master all these aspects and get there, it will take a long time. If you only want to take the passage, you can transcend these aspects not by mastery, but by sneaking in.

When I was a young boy, I had friends in the Mysore Zoo. Sunday morning meant I had my two rupees pocket money and would go to the fish market – deep inside – where they had the half rotten fish. For two rupees, I sometimes got two, three kilograms of fish. I put them in a plastic bag and took them to the Mysore Zoo. I did not have any more money. The ticket at that time was one rupee; that is if you want to go straight. There was a barrier of about two feet height. If you were willing to crawl, it was free. What’s my problem – I crawled. I spent the whole day there feeding all my friends with my rotten fish.

If you want to walk straight, it is a tough path – a whole lot of work. If you are willing to crawl, there are easier ways. Those who are the crawling kind do not have to worry about mastering anything. Live as long as you live. When you die, you go and reach the ultimate.

There is a certain beauty, an indescribable aesthetic in mastering even something simple. Kicking a ball for example, even a child can do. But when someone masters that, suddenly there is an aesthetic to it that makes half the world sit up and watch. If you want to know and enjoy mastery, there is work to do. But if you are willing to crawl, it is simply Shambho.

The word “Shambho” is associated with this. Is it a mantra? Yes. What does a mantra mean? Today, modern science tells us that the whole existence is a vibration. In other words, the whole of existence is just sound. In this complex arrangement of sounds which you call creation, there are a few key sounds that can open up dimensions for you. These are referred to as mantras. If you use a particular mantra with the right sense of awareness, it can open up a completely new dimension of life for you. But if you are just emotionally attached to the mantra – emotions can be juicy and nice but it won’t lead you anywhere.

Shambho is one of the more auspicious forms. He is a very gentle form of Shiva, which is rare.

A mantra is basically a device. Is it a form? Yes, because every sound has a form attached to it. “Shambho” has its own form. Is it a living thing? Yes, very much, because everything in the existence is alive. An atom, a rock, a tree, a plant, an animal, everything is alive. Whether you are able to perceive this or not is the only question. It is only because the air is alive it can give you life. Maybe it is not alive like you, but it is alive in its own way. Because of this, we looked at life in a different way in this culture.

Shambho is one of the more auspicious forms. He is a very gentle form of Shiva, which is rare. Shiva is usually wild and crazy. But this is a very gentle, beautiful form. These forms were established by people as eternal forms so that others could make use of it.

When you say “Shambho” or “Shiva”, you are not asking for help. If you say “Shambho” every time your knees hurt, that’s not it! Shiva devotees always called upon Shiva and said, “Shiva, please destroy me.” For example, Akka Mahadevi called upon Shiva and this was her prayer: “Shiva, when I am very hungry, if I get a morsel of food, before I put it in my mouth, let it slip and fall into the mud. And before I bend down and pick it up, let a dog come and take it away. And if I am climbing a mountain, let my feet slip and let me fall down and let my head break.” This is how the prayer goes.

With a very deep understanding of sound, we have taken a few sounds that are like the keys to existence. “Shiva” and “Shambho” are two such keys.

So don’t use “Shiva Shambho” for your survival. Don’t use this because you want to buy a new house, or a new vehicle, or you want to get your daughter married. If you are seeking survival, you are calling the wrong person! Shiva is constantly waiting for one moment of vulnerability in you when he can crack you. He is not looking at helping you survive.

You say “Shambho” because you want to dissolve with this sound. With a very deep understanding of sound, we have taken a few sounds that are like the keys to existence. If you utter them with the right sense of intensity at the right moment in your life, they can shatter all your limitations. “Shiva” and “Shambho” are two such keys. From the solid person that you are, they are meant to open you up to a new dimension. Just make it your life-breath, make the sound constantly “on” within you. If one moment of vulnerability comes, the sound will crack you open. Absolutely new things will happen.

Bholenath

Sadhguru: Shiva is always seen as a very powerful being, and at the same time, as one who is not so crafty with the world. So, one form of Shiva is known as Bholenath, because he is childlike. “Bholenath” means the innocent or even the ignorant. You will find that most intelligent people are very easily taken for a ride because they cannot subject their intelligence to petty things. A very low level of intelligence that is crafty and shrewd can easily outsmart an intelligent person in the world. That may mean something in terms of money or society, but it doesn’t mean anything in terms of life.

When we say intelligence, we are not looking at just being smart. We are looking at allowing that dimension which makes life happen, to be in full flow. Shiva is like this too. It is not that he is stupid, but he does not care to use intelligence in all those petty ways.

Nataraja

Sadhguru: Natesha or Nataraja, Shiva as the Lord of Dance, is one of the most significant forms of Shiva. When I visited CERN in Switzerland, which is the physics laboratory on the planet, where all the atom-smashing takes place, I saw that there is a Nataraja statue in front of the entrance, because they identified that there is nothing in human culture which is closer to what they are doing right now.

The Nataraja form represents the exuberance and dance of creation which self-created itself from eternal stillness. Nataraja standing in the Chidambaram temple is very symbolic because what you call Chidambaram is just absolute stillness. That is what is enshrined in the form of this temple. The classical arts are to bring this absolute stillness into a human being. Without stillness, true art cannot come.

Ardhanarishvara

Sadhguru: Generally, Shiva is referred to as the ultimate man, but in the Ardhanarishvara form, one half of him is a fully developed woman. What is being said is that if the inner masculine and feminine meet, you are in a perpetual state of ecstasy. If you try to do it on the outside, it never lasts, and all the troubles that come with that are an ongoing drama. Masculine and feminine does not mean male and female. These are certain qualities. Essentially, it is not two people longing to meet, it is two dimensions of life longing to meet – outside as well as inside. If you achieve it inside, the outside will happen 100% by choice. Otherwise, the outside will be a terrible compulsion.

This is a symbolism to show that if you evolve in your ultimate context, you will be half a man and half a woman – not a neuter – a full-fledged man and a full-fledged woman. That is when you are a full-blown human being.

Kalabhairava

Sadhguru: Kalabhairava is a deadly form of Shiva – when he went into a mode of destroying time. All physical realities exist within the span of time. If I destroy your time, everything is over.

Shiva put on the right kind of costume and became Kalabhairava, to create the Bhairavi Yatana. “Yatana” means ultimate suffering. When the moment of death comes, many lifetimes play out – with great intensity, whatever pain and suffering needs to happen to you, will happen in a microsecond. After that, nothing of the past remains in you. Undoing your “software” is painful. But this happens at the moment of death, so you have no choice. But he makes it as brief as possible. Suffering has to end quickly. That will happen only if we make it super-intense. If it is mild, it goes on forever.

Adiyogi

Sadhguru: In the yogic tradition, Shiva is not worshiped as a God. He is the Adiyogi, the first Yogi, and Adi Guru, the First Guru from whom the yogic sciences originated. The first full moon of Dakshinayana is Guru Purnima, when Adiyogi began the transmission of these sciences to the Saptarishis, his first seven disciples.

This predates all religion. Before people devised divisive ways of fracturing humanity, the most powerful tools necessary to raise human consciousness were realized and propagated. The sophistication of it is unbelievable. The question of whether people were so sophisticated at that time is irrelevant because this did not come from a certain civilization or thought process. This came from an inner realization. It was just an outpouring of himself. You cannot change a single thing even today because he said everything that could be said in such beautiful and intelligent ways. You can only spend your lifetime trying to decipher it.

Triambaka

Sadhguru: Shiva has always been referred to as Triambaka because he has a third eye. A third eye does not mean a crack in the forehead. It simply means that his perception has reached its ultimate possibility. The third eye is the eye of vision. The two physical eyes are just sensory organs. They feed the mind with all kinds of nonsense because what you see is not the truth. You see this person or that person and you think something about him, but you are not able to see the Shiva in him. So, another eye, an eye of deeper penetration, has to be opened up.

Any amount of thinking and philosophizing will never bring clarity into your mind. Anyone can distort the logical clarity that you create; difficult situations can completely put it into turmoil. Only when vision opens up, only when you have an inner vision, will there be perfect clarity.

What we refer to as Shiva is nothing but the very embodiment of ultimate perception. It is in this context that the Isha Yoga Center celebrates Mahashivarathri. It is an opportunity and a possibility for all to raise their perception by at least one notch. This is what Shiva is about and this is what yoga is about. This is not religion, this is the science of inner evolution.

May this Mahashivarathri night not just be a night of wakefulness, but let this also become a night of intense aliveness and awareness for you. It is my wish and blessing that you make use of this wonderful gift that nature offers us on this day. I hope all of you ride this upsurge and know the beauty and ecstasy of what it means when we say “Shiva.”


Natesha – A Significant Dimension of Shiva

February 17, 2017

3 min read

Summary: Sadhguru tells us that natesha is one of the most significant dimensions of Shiva. Shiva identified 84,000 postures the body can take, and derived 84 yogasanas from that. If it is done with poetic grace, it is called classical dance. The Indian art forms are based on the understanding of human mechanics, and are designed to evolve a human being into higher possibilities. In this culture, music and dance, were a spiritual process, and not for entertainment.

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article originally published on isha.sadhguru.org

Shiva - Source of all art forms

Sadhguru: One of the more significant dimensions of Shiva is Natesha – the source of all art forms. There is a Nataraja statue standing at the entrance of the CERN laboratory in Switzerland, one of the most notable physics laboratories in the world. This is because they identified that there is nothing in human culture closer to what they are doing right now.

Shiva explored the mechanics of what the body can do and what happens when you do those things. And then, when he was in wild abandon, he danced.

Essentially, Shiva identified 84,000 postures that the body can take and culled that down to 84 as yogasanas. From that, he gave more fluid expressions to the same. If it is done with a conscious system, it is called asana. If it is done with poetic grace, it is called classical dance. He explored the mechanics of what the body can do and what happens when you do those things. And then, when he was in wild abandon, he danced. Others grasped a bit of it and tried to assimilate it as a system.

We need to understand what science is and what technology is. Shiva expounded the science of your existence. But the technology has happened in so many ways. The world has always looked East when people thought of living well. This is because people always saw this land as a possibility. This land is humanity’s greatest experiment in terms of making an entire culture into a spiritual process. Whatever you do – whether you conduct your business, raise a family or anything else – your life is essentially about mukti. Ultimate liberation is the only goal.

In the past, classical arts flourished in this land. Unfortunately, we have let them die in the last few centuries.

Indian art forms are very consciously evolved arts, based on an understanding of the mechanics of the human system and the science of how to evolve it to its highest possibility. Music and dance were not for entertainment. They were also a spiritual process.

If you use the postures and mudras in Indian classical dance properly, they lead to meditativeness. Similarly, if you look at a person who is steeped in Indian classical music, they would have become sage-like because if you arrange sounds in a certain pattern, it has a particular impact. If you use sound patterns properly, it does tremendous things within you and also to the surroundings because physical existence is essentially a complex amalgamation of reverberations or sounds. So we did not use music to entertain, we used music to dissolve people. Entertainment was not the attitude in life. Everything – even sitting, standing, and eating – was a sadhana or tool to reach a higher level of consciousness.

In the past, classical arts flourished in this land. Unfortunately, we have let them die in the last few centuries. It is time we revived them. Isha Foundation conducts the Yaksha music festival every year, which offers a platform for artists. But this is something that needs to happen in a widespread manner – not just through one organization. It is essential that we invest a certain amount of time and effort in reviving these wonderful arts.


Shiva as Tripurantaka

February 20, 2017

5 min read

Summary: Sadhguru narrates the compelling tale of Shiva as Tripurantaka. He elaborates on the significance of this tale, and also explains the significance of number three, and the symbolism of three lines of ash on Shiva's forehead.

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article originally published on isha.sadhguru.org

Tripurantaka – The Power of One

Sadhguru: It happened…

The evil monarchs of the universe used their occult powers and created three flying worlds. These were called Tripura, the three cities. With these flying cities as their vehicles, the monarchs were invincible. They attacked, raped, plundered, pillaged and destroyed. Gods and human beings were at their mercy. Nobody could stop them because their cities were mobile.

The benevolent forces knew they had to be stopped, but nobody had the power to do so. Then Brahma said, “Only if these cities are shot down by a single strike can these evil ones be vanquished. Otherwise, it is impossible to kill them as they regenerate themselves.”

But where could they find an archer who could shoot down three flying cities with a single shaft?

They thought long and hard. At last, Vishnu said, “There is one. Only one.”

Everybody knew whom he meant. Adiyogi was also known as Sharva, the Cosmic Archer.

They went to him, troubled and imploring. “These three orbiting cities must first come into alignment,” replied Adiyogi. “Then I shall act.”

So, they now waited for the time when the three flying cities arranged themselves in a single line – a rare occurrence that happened for just a moment once in many cycles of time.

Looking at all the frivolous preparations that the kings had made, Adiyogi laughed. He simply opened his third eye and shot a single shaft.

In the meantime, they began to prepare planet Earth as Shiva’s chariot. The sun and the moon were its wheels. Brahma became the charioteer. They used Mount Meru, the great Himalayan mountain, as the bow. The cosmic serpent became the string. But there was no shaft. So Vishnu converted himself into a powerful weapon for the purpose.

Fully equipped, they waited. The time drew near. At last the three aerial cities converged in a single line. Looking at all the frivolous preparations that the kings had made, Adiyogi laughed. He simply opened his third eye and shot a single shaft.

The searing shaft pierced the three cities. They erupted into a blazing fireball that tumbled and fell to the Earth in a great white cloud of ash. The evil monarchs, and their terrible rule of violence and injustice, came to an end. A hush fell upon the entire universe.

The good kings and divine beings celebrated, rejoicing at the death of their foes. But Adiyogi merely sat, tears pouring down his face.

They asked perplexed, “Why do you grieve? You have just vanquished Tripura and the most terrible and corrupt rulers in the universe.” Adiyogi said, “It doesn’t matter how corrupt they were. They were still a part of me. If this existence is my creation, so is maya – delusion. And the magnificent cities that they built were a product of their ingenuity. I cannot celebrate their destruction.”

And so, the three lines of ash on Shiva’s forehead are a symbolic statement that human fear, rage and lust can be felled.

He took the ashes that remained of the three cities and smeared them across his forehead in three horizontal lines. He declared, “Someday, like these three cities, I will destroy the three dimensions of this cosmos.” And so, Adiyogi came to be called Tripurantaka, the Supreme Destroyer of the Three Worlds.

The “three cities” continue to wreak havoc in human life. They seem deceptively lifelike, but are essentially unreal for they are not rooted on this planet. They are products of the human mind – ephemeral psychological realms. They are not the consequence of prakriti – nature – but of maya – the human mind lost in its own hypnosis. The result is an endless cycle of pride, rage and avarice. Try as one might to destroy them, these flying realms are elusive; they take wing and escape from our grasp.

When human beings become meditative, it is not that all their negative emotions vanish at once. They cannot. For love and hatred, fear and compassion, joy and misery, agony and ecstasy – all these are the outcome of the same fundamental energy we call life. It is the same energy arranging itself in a million kaleidoscopic shapes and forms. They cannot be vanquished separately because they have no autonomous existence. They can only be dismantled when the fundamental delusion of separateness is destroyed.

It is significant that Adiyogi does not hate those whom he destroys. He sees that they are ensnared in their own hypnotic delusion.

As you walk the path of yoga, pride, fury and greed gradually align themselves in a single direction. Pride arises out of a mistaken sense of significance of the self. When this self-importance is threatened, fury is the result, while greed is the fuel that fosters that self-importance. The three are, therefore, inseparable. Once these scattered energies are aligned, the guru shoots them down with a single arrow. The aspirant is then free of a life of psychological oscillation and fracture.

And so, the three lines of ash on Shiva’s forehead are a symbolic statement that human fear, rage and lust can be felled. Once they are routed, they can never stand again. When a seeker draws these lines on his forehead even today, this is what he is telling the world: “I have conquered these three aspects of life. Now I am free to become unbounded.” And thus, the story reiterates an ancient esoteric truth: that the number three is essentially one.

The number three has many other levels of significance. The word trikalagnani has been used in the tradition to describe one who knows the past, present and future. The past, present and future are not three different places; they are a single happening, here and now. When you live this moment profoundly, you experience time not serially but simultaneously – not as three, but one. You then wake up to the fact that mystics have known since the dawn of time: that this moment is eternity.

It is significant that Adiyogi does not hate those whom he destroys. He sees that they are ensnared in their own hypnotic delusion. He knows that when their self-created psychological world is destroyed, the three will perish. And the cosmos will return once more to the immaculate, non-fragmented reality that it always was and will forever fundamentally remain – the domain of Shiva.


What Do Shiva’s Symbols Signify?

February 24, 2014

11 min read

Summary: We always see images of Shiva with certain adornments. What do these signify? Sadhguru tells us about the significance of these symbols; The third eye, Nandi, Trishul, Moon, Snake, and Why Vilva leaf is dear to Shiva. Sadhguru elaborates on the symbols of the third eye - The two sensory eyes can only see that which is physical. If one wants to perceive life that is beyond the physical, then one needs to look inwards. The third eye is to look within. For one to see and perceive reality the way it is, and not distort it by individual karmic influences, your third eye has to open up. Sadhguru also narrates a story of how Shiva burnt Kama with his third eye.

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article originally published on isha.sadhguru.org

Shiva's Adornments - The Symbols and...

Third Eye

Sadhguru: Shiva has always been referred to as Triambaka because he has a third eye. The third eye does not mean someone’s forehead cracked and something came out! It simply means another dimension of perception has opened up. If your perception has to evolve and enhance itself, the most important thing is that your energy has to evolve and enhance itself. The whole process of yoga is to evolve and refine your energies in such a way that your perception is enhanced and the third eye opens.

The third eye is the eye of vision. The two physical eyes are just sensory organs. They feed the mind with all kinds of nonsense, because what you see is not the truth. You see this person or that person and you think something about him, but you are not able to see the Shiva in him. You see things the way it is necessary for your survival. Another creature sees it another way, as is necessary for its survival. This is why we say this world is maya. Maya means it is illusory. We are not saying that existence is illusory. We are only saying the way you are perceiving it is illusory. So another eye, an eye of deeper penetration, has to be opened up. The third eye means your perception has gone beyond the dualities of life. You are able to see life just the way it is, not just the way that is necessary for your survival.

When Shiva Opened His Third Eye

There is a story about how Shiva opened his third eye. In India, there is a god of love and lust called Kamadeva. Kama means lust. Lust is something that most people do not like to face head on. You want some aesthetics around it, so you make it love! The story goes that Kama hid behind a tree and shot an arrow at Shiva’s heart. Shiva got a little disturbed. So he opened his third eye, which is a fiery eye, and burnt Kama to ashes. This is the story that is generally told to everyone.
But please ask yourself, does your lust arise within you or behind a tree? It arises within you, of course. Lust is not just about the opposite sex. Every desire is lust, whether it is for sexuality, power or position. Lust essentially means there is a sense of incompleteness within you, a longing for something that makes you feel, “If I don’t have that, I am not complete.”

Based on this, the story of Shiva and Kama has a yogic dimension to it. Shiva was working towards Yoga, which means he was not just working towards being complete, but towards being limitless. Shiva opened his third eye and saw Kama, his own lust, coming up and burnt it. Ash slowly oozed out of his body, showing that everything within was laid to rest for good. By opening up the third eye, he perceived a dimension within himself which is beyond the physical, and all the compulsions of the physical dropped away.

The third eye refers to an eye which can see that which is not physical. If you look at your hand, you can see it because it stops and reflects light. You cannot see the air because it does not stop light. But if there was a little smoke in the air, you would be able to see it because you can see only that which stops light. You cannot see anything that allows light to pass through. This is the nature of the two sensory eyes.

The third eye refers to an eye which can see that which is not physical.

The sensory eyes can grasp that which is physical. When you want to see something that is not physical in nature, the only way to look is inward. When we refer to the “third eye”, we are symbolically talking about seeing something that the two sensory eyes cannot see.

The sensory eyes are outward-oriented. The third eye is to see your interiority – the nature of yourself and your existence. It is not some extra appendage or crack in your forehead. That dimension of perception through which one can perceive that which is beyond the physical is referred to as the third eye.

Looking At Life Through The Third Eye

Another aspect is that the sensory eyes are deeply contaminated by karma. Karma means the residual memory of past actions. Everything that you see is influenced by this karmic memory. You cannot help it. If you look at someone, you will think, “He is nice, he is not nice, he is good, he is bad.” You will not be able to see anything the way it is because the karmic memory influences this vision and your ability to see. It will only show you everything the way your karma is, the way your past memories are.

To be able to see everything just the way it is, an eye of deeper penetration – which is unsullied by memory – has to be opened up. Traditionally in India, knowing does not mean reading books, listening to someone’s talks or gathering information. Knowing means to open up a new vision or insight into life. No amount of thinking and philosophizing can bring clarity to your mind. The logical clarity that you create can easily be distorted. Difficult situations can throw it completely into turmoil.

Perfect clarity arises only when your inner vision opens up. No situation or person in the world can distort this clarity within you. For true knowing to arise, your third eye has to open up.

Nandi

Sadhguru: Nandi is a symbolism of eternal waiting, because waiting is considered the greatest virtue in Indian culture. One who knows how to simply sit and wait is naturally meditative. Nandi is not expecting Shiva to come out tomorrow. He is not anticipating or expecting anything. He is just waiting. He will wait forever. That quality is the essence of receptivity. Before you go into a temple, you must have the quality of Nandi – to simply sit. You are not trying to go to heaven, you are not trying to get this or that – you simply sit.

People have always misunderstood meditation as some kind of activity. No – it is a quality. That is the fundamental difference. Prayer means you are trying to talk to God. Meditation means you are willing to listen to God. You are willing to just listen to existence, to the ultimate nature of creation. You have nothing to say, you simply listen. That is the quality of Nandi – he just sits, alert. This is very important – he is alert, not sleepy. He is not sitting in a passive way. He is sitting, very active, full of alertness, full of life, but just sitting – that is meditation.

Trishul

Sadhguru: Shiva’s trishul represents the three fundamental aspects of life. These are the three fundamental dimensions of life that are symbolized in many ways. They can also be called Ida, Pingala and Sushumna. These are the three basic nadis – the left, the right and the central – in the pranamaya kosha, or the energy body of the human system. Nadis are pathways or channels of prana in the system. There are 72,000 nadis that spring from the three fundamental ones.

The Pingala and Ida represent the basic duality in the existence. It is this duality which we traditionally personify as Shiva and Shakti. You can simply call it masculine and feminine. When I say masculine and feminine, I am not talking in terms of sex – about being male or female – but in terms of certain qualities in nature. You could say the logical and the intuitive aspect of you.

Bringing a balance between the Ida and Pingala will make you effective in the world; this will allow you to handle life aspects well. Most people live and die in Ida and Pingala. Sushumna, the central space, remains dormant. But Sushumna is the most significant aspect of human physiology. Life really begins only when energies enter into Sushumna. You attain to a new kind of balance, an inner balance where whatever happens outside, there is a certain space within you that never gets disturbed and cannot be touched by outside situations.

Moon

Sadhguru: There are many names for Shiva. One name that is very commonly used is Soma or Somasundara. Soma could literally mean the moon, but soma essentially means inebriation or intoxication. Shiva uses the moon as a decoration because he is a great yogi who is intoxicated all the time, but he sits in great alertness. To enjoy the intoxication, you must be alert. Even when you drink, you try to stay awake and enjoy the intoxication. And that is how yogis are – totally drunk, but fully alert.

The science of yoga gives this pleasure to you to be internally drunk all the time, but one hundred percent stable and alert. There has been a lot of research in the last couple of decades, and a particular scientist found that in the human brain, there are millions of cannabis receptors. If you simply keep your body in a certain way, the body will produce its own narcotic, and the brain is waiting to receive it. It is only because the human body produces its own narcotic that feelings of peace, pleasure and joy can happen within you without any stimulus from outside.

When the scientist wanted to give this chemical an appropriate name, he came down to India and found the word ananda, or bliss. So he called it Anandamide. If you generate a sufficient amount of Anandamide in your system, then you can be drunk all the time, but fully awake, wide awake.

Snake

Sadhguru: A snake is also very sensitive to certain energies. Shiva has the snake around his throat. It is not just symbolic. There is a whole lot of science behind it. There are 114 chakras in the energy body. Out of these 114, people are usually talking about the seven fundamental chakras in the system. Among these seven fundamental ones, the vishuddhi chakra is located in the pit of your throat. This particular chakra is very strongly associated with the snake. The vishuddhi is about stopping poison, and a snake carries poison. All these things are connected.

The word vishuddhi literally means “filter.” If your vishuddhi becomes powerful, you have the ability to filter everything that enters you. Shiva’s center is supposed to be vishuddhi, and he is also known as Vishakantha or Neelakantha because he filters all the poison. He doesn’t allow it to enter his system. Poisons are not necessarily that which you may consume through food. Poisons can enter you in so many ways: a wrong thought, a wrong emotion, a wrong idea, a wrong energy or a wrong impulse can poison your life. If your vishuddhi is active, it filters everything. It saves you from all these influences. In other words, once vishuddhi is very active, that person is so powerful within himself that whatever is around him does not influence him anymore. He is established within himself. He tends to become a very powerful being.

Why is Vilva leaf dear to Shiva?

Sadhguru: Why is one leaf more sacred than another? Is it some kind of a prejudice? After all, everything comes from the soil. Both the neem fruit and the mango fruit come from the same soil but they taste very different, isn’t it? How one particular life processes the same soil and how another life processes the same soil is different. What is the difference between a worm and an insect, and yourself and another human being? It is all the same stuff but still what we make out of it is different.

When people are on the spiritual path they are constantly looking for support in every possible way because it is unknown terrain. In Indian culture, every little thing that could support you was identified through observation and meditativeness. They did not leave out even flowers, fruits and leaves. Why is the vilva in particular considered sacred? It has always been said that the vilva is dear to Shiva. What does he care? It’s not that it is dear to Shiva. When we say it is dear to Shiva, we mean that in some way its reverberance is closest to what we refer to as Shiva.

When we say it’s dear to Shiva, we mean that in some way its reverberance is closest to what we refer to as Shiva.

We identified many things like this and only those things are offered because they become your means to get in touch. When you offer the vilva to Shiva, you are not going to leave the leaf with him. You are supposed to take it with you after it is offered because this particular leaf has the highest capability to absorb that reverberance. If you place it on the linga and take it, it has the ability to retain the reverberation for a long period of time. It stays with you. You can try this: offer the vilva leaf, put it in your chest pocket and walk around, it will make a difference for you in terms of your health, wellbeing, mental state – everything.

There are many materials like this which are recognized sacred tools that people use. This is not about gods, this is about you and your ability to access something.


Why Does Shiva Sit At The Cremation Grounds (Shamshana)?

May 12, 2014

8 min read

Summary: Sadhguru tells us that for most human beings, the moment of death or possibility of death is the most intense moment. It is because of this, that Shiva sits at the cremation ground, or kayanta. Most people are not aware that they are immortal, and it is only the end of the body. They live life just as kaya (body), not as jeeva (life). Sadhguru says "Shiva sits at the smashan, bored with you and your play, bored because the whole drama all over town is absolutely stupid. The only real thing happens at the cremation ground."

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article originally published on isha.sadhguru.org

Why Does Shiva Sit in Shamshana

Sadhguru: The only problem that I have with people is that they lack the needed intensity. If they were intense enough, we would not have to work towards the ultimate for a lifetime – today, the work could be done. The moment of death or the possibility of death is the most intense experience in most human beings’ lives. Most of them would have never touched that level of intensity throughout their lives. In their love, in their laughter, in their joy, in their ecstasy, in their misery – nowhere else do they touch that level of intensity – only in death.

Because of that, Shiva went and sat in the cremation ground or kayanta, waiting. Kaya means “body,” anta means “ending.” Kayanta means “where the body ends” – not “where life ends.” It is a kayanta, not a jeevanta. All that you picked up on the planet, you have to leave behind. If you have lived in such a way that your body is all you know, then the moment when you have to shed it becomes the most intense moment of your life. If you know something beyond the body, it is not of great significance. For one who has realized the nature of who he is and what he is, kayanta is not such a great moment. It is just one more moment, that’s all. But for those who lived just as a physical body, when the time to part with all that you know as yourself comes, it is going to be a very intense moment.

Immortality is a natural state for everybody. Mortality is a mistake that you have made. It is a wrong perception of life. As for the physical body, kayanta, the end of the body, will definitely come. But if instead of being just a kaya, you become a jeeva, if you are not just a living body but a living being, then immortality is a natural state for you. Whether you are mortal or immortal is only a question of perception – no existential change is needed.

Shiva sits at the smashan, bored with you and your play, bored because the whole drama all over town is absolutely stupid. The only real thing happens at the cremation ground.

That is why enlightenment is referred to as realization, not as an accomplishment or achievement. If you see it, it is there for you. If you do not see it, it is not there for you. It is only a question of perception – no fundamental, existential change. If you are equipped, not with the senses, but with your pragna, then you know not only the kaya but the jeeva, and you are naturally immortal. You do not have to work towards your immortality. You just have to realize that this is the way it is.

So, Shiva shifted his residence to kayanta or smashan. Shma refers to shava or corpse, shan refers to shanya or bed. Where the dead bodies lie, that is where he resides, because he realized working with living people is a waste of time. You cannot get them to the pitch of intensity that is needed. You have to do so many tricks to make people a little intense.

Intensity does not arise because you have made the instinct of survival the biggest thing within you. There are two fundamental forces in this living body. One is the instinct of survival – another is the longing to expand limitlessly. If you empower the instinct of survival, it always tries to play low, because survival means playing safe. If you empower the longing to become limitless, if you are seeking limitless expansion, if that is what all your energy is focused on, then there will be full intensity of life.

The instinct of survival is dominant in every other creature. With the phase of evolution where we have become human, a higher level of awareness and intelligence has entered into our lives – this is the time where the instinct of survival can be kept down and the longing to expand should be fired up. Out of these two forces, one is always trying to fuel the intensity in you, the other is always trying to keep you at a simmer. You may have to save resources that are scarce, but life is not scarce.

Shiva sits at the smashan, bored with you and your play, bored because the whole drama all over town is absolutely stupid. The only real thing happens at the cremation ground. Maybe at the moment of birth and the moment of death, something is happening. Maternity homes and cremation grounds are the only two sensible places, though maternity is happening a little too much.

Is it wrong to be limited? No. But it is painful to be limited. Is it wrong to be in pain? No. If you enjoy it, what is my problem?

Shiva is sitting at a place where life makes utmost sense. But if you are fearful, if you are on survival or self-preservation mode, this will not make sense to you. Only if you are longing to expand and touch the ultimate, it will make sense to you. He is not interested in those who want to survive. To survive, you just need four limbs and a few working brain cells. Whether they are earthworms, grasshoppers, or any other creature – they are all surviving, doing fine. That is all the brain you need to survive. So if you are in survival mode, if self-preservation is the most dominant thing in you, he is bored with you – he is waiting for you to die.

He is referred to as the destroyer not because he wants to destroy you. He is waiting at the cremation ground so that the body is destroyed, because until the body is destroyed, even people around do not realize what death is. You may have seen that when someone dear to them dies, people will fall all over the dead body, hug it, kiss it, try to bring it back to life – many things. But once you set fire to the body, no one ever goes and hugs the flames. Their instinct of self-preservation tells them this is not it.

This is not a question of right and wrong but of limited sense versus ultimate sense. Is it wrong to be limited? No. But it is painful to be limited. Is it wrong to be in pain? No. If you enjoy it, what is my problem? I am not against anything. The only thing that I do not like is if you want to go in one direction, but you are going in the opposite direction.

Senselessness is the only thing that I am against, because the essence of human life is that you have much more sense than any other creature – or you are supposed to, but a whole lot of people are trying to disprove that. Creation means intelligence. The Creator means ultimate intelligence. Unfortunately, a lot of people who are in all kinds of mess talk about God, and most people only talk about God when they are in a mess. If you have a nice, warm shower, you will sing a cinema song. If we put you in the cold theerthakund – “Shiva! Shiva!” The moment there is difficulty, Shiva comes to your mind. When life is going the way you want it, you will think of all kinds of people and all kinds of things. If someone puts a gun to your head – “Shiva! Shiva!” He is the wrong guy to call. He is waiting at the cremation ground. If someone puts a gun to your head, and you call Shiva to save you – he will not.

If you are not just a living body but a living being, then immortality is a natural state for you.

Trying to turn it backward is the one thing that will not work with life. If you run forward, whichever direction you go, whatever you want to do – you sing, you dance, you meditate, you cry, you laugh – as long as it takes you towards a higher level of intensity, it will all work. If you try to roll it back, it does not work. Most human beings you do not have to poke with a dagger to make them miserable. If you simply leave them alone, they will become miserable. Their instinct of self-preservation has crossed reasonable limits and is trying to curtail life and turn it backward. Sitting in the cremation ground, this is Shiva’s message: even if you die, it will work, but if you curtail life, it will not work. The question whether you curtail life or allow life to happen does not depend upon what you do and what you do not do, but upon how effervescent and how intense this life process is right now.

It is not a question of whether what you do is useful or not. If you can bring intensity into useless things, it will still work. But you need meaning for everything that you do. Unless it is meaningful, unless it is useful, you cannot throw yourself into it. In that context, meaningfulness and usefulness are important. Otherwise, meaningfulness and usefulness are essentially psychological. They are an inspiration, not an end in themselves.


Shiva And His 7 Disciples (Saptrishis)

July 17, 2018

4 min read

Summary: Sadhguru tells us the probable reason why Adiyogi decided to teach only one of the seven aspects of yoga to each of the Saptrishi; and how by offering him whatever they had learnt as guru dakshina and becoming empty, all the the seven aspects (112 ways) became present in all seven of them!

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article originally published on isha.sadhguru.org

Adiyogi, Saptarishis and the 7 Dimensions of Yoga

Q: Sadhguru, you mentioned that Adiyogi transmitted one each of the seven aspects of yoga to the Saptarishis. Why is it that each of the Saptarishis was unable to receive all of Adiyogi’s knowing? Is there a limit to what a normal human body can contain?

Sadhguru: There are many aspects to this. The human body, as we know it, has many layers or dimensions attached to it. We have spoken about the 114 chakras several times. These 114 chakras, in a fully blossomed body, are 114 possibilities. But even if only 21 chakras are active, a person can still live a full-fledged physical life. Everything will be fine with you. Your body and brain will function well and you will be reasonably successful. If a few more chakras are active, suddenly that person is outstanding in some way. If many more are active, that person will seem extraordinary.

So in this sense, there is still a whole range left unexplored by the average human being. If you look at it in terms of experience and exploratory possibilities, where an average human being is, is less than one percent. Ninety-nine percent plus is still to be explored.

Adiyogi must have found limitations in the time-consuming process of preparing a physical body. I am not referring to physical strength.

These seven Saptarishis were asked to do seven different dimensions. Though they were great beings by themselves and they probably could have been trained, there may not have been enough time to do those things. So it might have been easier to train seven people for seven different dimensions and ask them to take it to the world.

Adiyogi must have found limitations in the time-consuming process of preparing a physical body. I am not referring to physical strength. To develop the energy body to a certain level of strength and vibrancy takes a certain amount of time. In many ways, the present generation is the weakest generation ever. Not just in terms of muscles – we are weaker than any generation because of lack of physical work – but even in the form of energy bodies, we are the weakest generation. You have to wait for months before you can make people do something worthwhile within themselves. Otherwise they will lose their balance and fall apart. In the last five to six generations, we have slowly moved away from the elements in nature into more protected atmospheres. Because of this, the energy body has become very fragile and weak.

I am sure Adiyogi had better bodies around him but still he must have found it easier to work this way.

I am sure Adiyogi had better bodies around him but still he must have found it easier to work this way. Each one trained in one dimension, then they went out and spread it. It is his judgment. It is not for me to question. I am sure he did the best that was possible then.

Guru Dakshina for Adiyogi

These seven Saptarishis, when they were just about to leave to different parts of the world to spread the knowing Adiyogi had poured into them, at that time, in a most uncharacteristic way, Adiyogi said, “Where is the Guru Dakshina? Where is the fees?” They were flabbergasted, “Fees! You are our life. What do we have to give?” They had been with him and all they had was the loincloth they were wearing. What is there to give? And it was most uncharacteristic – they could not believe Adiyogi was asking for a fee!

They had been with him for many decades, which felt like millennia. They knew nothing else apart from him.

Then Agastya Muni, who was the most diminutive in physical stature, got the point. He said, “The only thing that I have with me, which is precious” – because if you have to offer something to your guru, you must offer that which is most precious to you – “This body means nothing to me, otherwise I would have offered it to you. The only thing that is truly precious to me is the knowledge that I acquired from you in these many years. Here, these sixteen dimensions of knowledge that you have offered to me, this is my offering to you.” He placed it at his feet. Taking the cue, one by one, all the other six did the same. Then Adiyogi said, “By all means, please proceed on your journey.”

They had been with him for many decades, which felt like millennia. They knew nothing else apart from him. And now, whatever they had learnt painstakingly, over many years, they offered it to him and they walked empty-handed.

Because they walked empty-handed, all the 112 ways became present in every one of them through his presence. He became alive in them. Otherwise they would just be 16. They became infinite because what they had acquired very painstakingly for many years, they put it at his feet and walked away empty-handed.


Shiva Puranas – Science Through Stories

February 9, 2016

4 min read

Summary: Shiva Purana expresses science by way of beautiful stories. Sadhguru tells that to express the boundless, we created many wonderful forms of Shiva. Contradicting and conflicting aspects of personality have been built into Shiva. Stories in Shiva Purana, if one looks at them carefully, you will see the entire modern physics, the theory of relativity, quantum mechanics...

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article originally published on isha.sadhguru.org

The Shiva Purana – Science Through Stories

Sadhguru: This vast emptiness that we refer to as Shiva is a boundless non-entity – eternal and always. But since human perception is limited to form, we created many wonderful forms for Shiva in the tradition and culture. The enigmatic, non-perceivable Ishwara; the auspicious Shambho; disarmingly naïve Bhola; Dakshinamurthy, the great master and teacher of the Vedas, Shastras and Tantras; the easily forgiving Ashuthosh; Bhairava, the one tainted with the very blood of the creator; Achaleshwara, the absolute stillness; the most dynamic of dancers, Nataraja – as many aspects as there are to life, that many aspects have been offered to him.

The Shiva Purana is the highest science of elevating human nature to the very peak of consciousness, expressed in the form of very beautiful stories.

Generally, in most parts of the world, anything that people refer to as divine is always referred to as good. But if you read through the Shiva Purana, you cannot identify Shiva as a good person or a bad person. He is everything – he is the ugliest, he is the most beautiful; he is the best and he is the worst; he is the most disciplined, he is a drunkard. Gods, demons, and all kind of creatures in the world worship him. The so-called civilization has conveniently eliminated all those un-digestible stories about Shiva, but that is where the essence of Shiva is. Completely contradictory aspects of life have been built into the personality of Shiva. Such a complex amalgamation of all the qualities of existence have been put into one person because if you can accept this one being, you have crossed life itself. The whole struggle with one’s life is we are always trying to pick out what is beautiful and what is not, what is good and what is bad. You will not have a problem with anyone if only you can accept this man who is a complex amalgamation of everything that life can be.

Completely contradictory aspects of life have been built into the personality of Shiva. Such a complex amalgamation of all the qualities of existence have been put into one person because if you can accept this one being, you have crossed life itself.

If you look carefully at the stories in the Shiva Purana, you will see the Theory of Relativity, Quantum Mechanics – the whole of modern physics – has been very beautifully expressed through stories. This is a dialectical culture; science was expressed through stories. Everything has been personified. But somewhere along the way people dropped the science and just carried the stories, and the stories were exaggerated from generation to generation to a point of being absolutely ridiculous. If you put the science back into the stories, it is a beautiful way to express science.

The Shiva Purana is the highest science of elevating human nature to the very peak of consciousness, expressed in the form of very beautiful stories. Yoga has been expressed in the form of a science without stories attached to it, but if you look at it in a deeper sense, yoga and the Shiva Purana cannot be separated. One is for those who like stories, another is for those who are willing to look at everything scientifically, but the fundamentals of both are the same.

Today, scientists are conducting a lot of research on the nature of modern education. One of the things that they are saying is if a child goes through 20 years of formal education and comes out, a large percentage of his intelligence is irrevocably destroyed. That means he is coming out as a very knowledgeable idiot. They are suggesting that one of the best ways to impart education is to impart it in the form of stories or in the form of play. A little effort has been made in that direction, but most of the education in the world has remained hugely suppressive. The huge volume of information suppresses your intelligence unless it is given to you in a certain form, and the story form of teaching would be the best way. This is what was done in this culture. The highest dimensions of science were transmitted in wonderful story forms.


The Story of Shiva and Sati – Birth of 54 Shakti Sthalas

February 12, 2020

7 min read

Summary: Shiva found access to the reality of creation in utter stillness or in absolute movement. Intrigued by watching him move from utter stillness to mad dance, and being in absolute ecstasy in both, the Gandharvas and Yakshas were keen to get an grasp of this experience. To have an insider, they plotted and got Shiva married to Sati. Sadhguru narrates the story of how Sati burnt herself up in the ceremonial fire, and how 54 Shakti Sthalas were born when a despondent Shiva carried her rotting corpse.

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article originally published on isha.sadhguru.org

Shiva and Shakti: How the 54 Shakti Sthalas Were Born

Sadhguru: When we say Shiva is the destroyer, it is not about destroying the world, it is about destroying your world. Your world is essentially an accumulation of past experiences and impressions. Your world is made up of the past. The past is that which is dead. It only exists as an illusion that is seeping into the present because of your thought process, and it is projecting itself into the future through your desires.

If you want to know the grandeur of the creation, that is possible only through the present moment that is here, right now.

If there was no thought, the past would not exist in the present. Thought is one illusion and desire is a double illusion because desire is constantly projecting the past into the future. Whatever you have known in the past, you desire for something that you think is better than that. If you want to know the grandeur of the creation, that is possible only through the present moment that is here, right now. This is the only doorway. If you bring in the past, you become hallucinatory. If you create another illusion of future, using that which does not exist, now the illusion is so complete that the reality is completely obliterated in your experience of life.

In utter stillness, there is no past. In absolute movement also there is no past. These are the two fundamental passages that Shiva found to give access to that which is creation and the source of creation. That is why he is constantly depicted either as a wild dancer or an ascetic who is utterly still.

The Conspiracy to Get Shiva Married to Sati

In the yogic lore, the story goes that Shiva started moving from stillness to dance and dance to stillness. Everyone else, the gandharvas, the yakshas, the devas of all the three worlds began watching him in fascination and intrigue. They enjoyed this absolute movement and utter stillness but they did not have a clue about the nature of his experience. They wanted to have a taste of this.

They began to plan and plot how they could get a handle on this experience that he was going through.

From intrigue they moved to interest. From interest they tried to get a little closer to him, but they could not withstand the intensity of his dance or the intensity of his stillness.

They began to plan and plot how they could get a handle on this experience that he was going through. They called for a conference, which slowly turned into a conspiracy. They decided to somehow get him married. “We must have somebody from our side who will be able to tell us what is the basis of such ecstatic experience, of such exuberance, and at the same time, such deathlike stillness. He seems to be enjoying both. We need an inside person.”

Many things happened – I will not go into the whole detail of conspiracy, because it is a very large conspiracy. If you want an inside view of Shiva, it needs a tremendous conspiracy, which they planned and plotted and executed. So they got Shiva married to Sati. He yielded and he got completely involved and became absolutely passionate about her.

Sati’s Father Insults Shiva

He allowed Sati to become a part of his life. But Sati’s father Daksha hated Shiva, his son-in-law because Shiva is not a king, he does not dress well, he is smeared with ashes, he eats out of a human skull, all his friends are all kinds of demons and goblins and demented beings. He is always either in meditation or intoxication. Either he is with eyes closed or he is in a mad dance. This is not a son-in-law to be proud of or to be seen around with.

Some time later, Daksha wanted to perform a great ritual for which he invited every king, every god and every yaksha. But he did not invite Shiva. Shiva and Sati were sitting in the forest and out of her love, Sati was trying to feed him with the fruits from the forest because that is all they ate. They had no home or proper arrangements for cooking, so they just ate fruits and whatever else that came as offerings.

Then she saw a lot of traffic, the finest of chariots, all the kings, gods and goddesses going somewhere fully decked up. Then she asked Shiva, “What is this? Where is everyone going?” Shiva said, “It does not matter. We do not need to go where they are going.” But she got very excited. “Where is everybody going? See how they are dressed. What is happening?” He said, “Do not bother, we are fine here. Are you unhappy? No. You are happy. Do not worry about them.” Because he knows what is happening.

But her curiosity and feminine excitement would not allow her to just sit there and enjoy the fruits of the tree. She walked on and stopped one of the chariots and asked them, “Where are you all going?” They said, “Don’t you know? Your father is holding a huge yagna – a sacrifice – and he has invited all of us. Are you not coming?” She felt totally lost when she came to know that she and her husband have not been invited. She felt disgraced. She thought this is not fair to Shiva. She told Shiva, “I am going to my father. Why did he do this?” Shiva said, “It does not matter to me. Why are you getting worked up? We are fine here. Why should we go to his sacrifice?”

But she was so stung by this insult of not being invited. She said, “No, I have to go. There must be a mistake. Maybe the invitation was lost. It cannot be. How can they not invite you and me? I am his daughter. There must be some mistake. I am sure he would not do this. My father is not like that.” Shiva said, “Don’t go.” But she would not listen and she went.

Sati Burns Herself In The Ceremonial Fire

When she went to the ritual, she found all her cousin sisters and everybody who was somebody was there, fully decked up. But she had come in her simple clothes in which she lived in the mountains. So people mocked and laughed at her. They asked, “Where is your ash-smeared man? Where is that man who has not combed his hair for who knows how long?”

The sacrificial fire was on. She just walked into it and burnt herself.

She ignored all that and went in to meet her father, still believing that it must be a mistake. When she found him, Daksha was furious. But she asked, “How can you not invite Shiva?” Then Daksha abused Shiva in every possible way and he said, “I will never have him stepping into my house. ”

She was so crestfallen. The sacrificial fire was on. She just walked into it and burnt herself. Nandi and a few others who had followed her, when they saw this happen, they were so terrified that they came running back to Shiva and told him that Sati burnt herself in the sacrificial fire because she was insulted by Daksha.

Shiva Creates Veerabhadra

Shiva sat in stillness for a certain period of time. Then he became fire. He just rose in fury. Shiva plucked a strand of his matted hair and hit it upon the rock that was next to him and produced a very powerful being whose name was Veerabhadra. He told Veerabhadra, “Go destroy the sacrifice. Nobody should get anything out of it, including Daksha. Anybody and everybody who is involved in this sacrifice, go destroy them.” Veerabhadra went in full fury and just laid the sacrifice to waste, slaughtered anybody and everybody who came in his way, and above all, impaled Daksha.

The Birth of the Shakti Sthalas

As every part of her body fell, one quality of the Shakti was established there. These are the main Devi temples in India.

Then Shiva came, picked up the half burnt body of Sati and his grief was simply beyond words. He put her upon his shoulder and walked. He walked in great fury and grief. He would not keep the body down nor would he let the flames consume her body or give her a burial. He just walked on. As he walked on, Sati’s body began to rot and as it rotted, it became many parts and fell down in 54 different places. These 54 places came up as Shakti Sthalas in India. As every part of her body fell, one quality of the Shakti was established there. These are the main Devi temples in India.

Three of them are supposed to be secret and nobody knows where they are except a few people, but 51 are known to people.


The Story Of Shiva Kicking Off Ravana Of Kailash

February 21, 2019

2 min read

Summary: Ravana was a fierce devotee of Shiva. Once, he travelled all the way to Kailash from down south to see Shiva. He came all the way from south to meet him. All along the long and tumultuous journey, he kept singing Shiva's praises and composed 1008 verses extempore which called Shiva Tandava Stotram. Carrying a drum with him, the music and beats he produced were so melodious that Shiva was completely engrossed and enthralled listening to this. As Ravana came nearer and nearer, he started climbing Kailash from the South Face. What happened as he was about to reach the top?

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article originally published on isha.sadhguru.org

When Shiva Kicked Ravana Off Kailash

Sadhguru: Ravana was a fierce devotee of Shiva and there are many stories about them. A devotee shouldn’t become great, but he was a great devotee. He came to Kailash all the way from down south – I want you to just imagine walking all the way – and began to sing Shiva’s praises. He had a drum which he used to set the beat and composed 1008 verses extempore, which is called the Shiva Tandava Stotram.
Shiva was so pleased and enamoured listening to this music. As he sang, slowly, Ravana started climbing Kailash from its Southern Face. When Ravana was almost on top, and with Shiva still engrossed in this music, Parvati saw this man climbing up.

There is space only for two people on top! So Parvati tried to bring Shiva out of his musical rapture. She said, “This man is coming all the way up!” But Shiva was too engrossed in the music and poetry. Then finally, Parvati managed to bring him out of being enthralled, and when Ravana reached the peak, Shiva just pushed him off with his feet. Ravana went sliding down the South Face of Kailash. They say his drum was dragging behind him as he slid down and it left a furrow on the mountain all the way down. If you look at the South Face, you will see a wedge-like scar in the center going straight down.

It is a little inappropriate to distinguish or to discriminate between one face of Kailash and the other, but the South Face is dear to us because Agastya Muni merged into the South Face. It is just a South Indian prejudice that we like the South Face and I think it is the most beautiful face! It is definitely the whitest face because it is very snowy there.

In many ways it is the most intense face but very few people go to the South Face. It is far less accessible and involves a more difficult route than the other faces, and only certain type of people go there.


The Story Of Malla Bandit – A Shiva Devotee

September 7, 2017

3 min read

Summary: Sadhguru tells the captivating story of Malla who was a bandit but a fierce Shiva devotee. How he celebrated mahashivaratri, and how he attained to mahasamadhi.

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The story of Shiva Devotee who was a thief

Sadhguru: Let me tell you of one yogi who lived very close to the place where I was born. I had heard about this person and the phenomena that happened there, but as a youth I did not pay much attention to it. It sort of gave me a kick, but I did not give much more importance to it at that time.

There was a devotee who lived about 16 kilometers from Mysore, on the outskirts of the now-famous Nanjangud. His name was Malla. Malla did not belong to any traditional or know any formal way of worship or meditation. But right from his childhood, if he closed his eyes, he only saw the image of Shiva. Maybe a devotee is not a good enough word for him. There are millions like him. They are prisoners of Shiva. They have no choice. Maybe I also got trapped by him. We did not seek him – too arrogant to seek anything, but trapped by him. Shiva was a hunter. He snared not just animals but human beings too. This was one more.

Malla knew nothing but Shiva, and he grew wild – he did not learn any particular trade or craft. It did not occur to him that it would be wrong if he stopped someone and took whatever he needed from them. So he just did that, and got branded as a bandit.

He became a regular bandit on the forest pathway which people had to use. The place where he used to collect his toll came to be known as Kallanamoolai, which means “a thief’s corner.” Initially people cursed him, but when the end of the year came, every paisa that he had collected from people was spent on celebrating Mahashivaratri. He threw a huge party. So after a few years people recognized him as a great devotee and started contributing voluntarily. Those who did not contribute voluntarily, he had no qualms about encouraging…

Then, two yogis who happened to be brothers came this way, and saw this man who was a bandit but a great devotee. They told him, “Your devotion is fantastic, but your ways are hurting people.” He said, “I am only doing it for Shiva, what is the problem?” They convinced him, took him aside and put him into other systems, and renamed the place from Kallanamoolai to Mallanamoolai. Even today it is called Mallanamoolai. And the Mahashivaratri event that he celebrated evolved into a big institution in that place.

Within about a year-and-a-half from the time he gave up his banditry and sat with these yogis, he attained Mahasamadhi. After they released him like this, these two yogis also sat down and left their body on the same day. Today there is a very beautiful shrine built for these people, still called Mallanamoolai, on the bank of river Kabini.


The Story Of Sage Poosalar – A Shiva Devotee

October 27, 2016

4 min read

Summary: Sadhguru tells the wonderful story of sage Poosalar, the shiva devotee. He tells us that - "This well-known legend of southern India reminds us of a profound truth: if devotion overflows, divinity will follow and serve you."

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article originally published on isha.sadhguru.org

The Inauguration of a Grand Shiva Temple

Sadhguru: Sage Poosalar was steeped in poverty, but determined to build a magnificent temple for his beloved Shiva. Every day he built this temple, brick by brick, entirely within himself. This inner exercise took him years.

This well-known legend of southern India reminds us of a profound truth: if devotion overflows, divinity will follow and serve you.

The king of that land was also planning to inaugurate a big Shiva temple that he had commissioned. The night before the grand opening, Shiva appeared in the king’s dream and said, “I will not be able to come to your temple’s inauguration because Poosalar has built another temple in the same town. I need to go there. He is also opening it tomorrow.”

The king woke up with a fright, because after he has strived to build this temple for so many years, after so much money and effort, Shiva says he has to go to some other temple built by Poosalar in the same town. “Who is this Poosalar and which is this temple that I do not know about?” he wondered. He set out in search of Poosalar and finally found him in a dilapidated hut in the poorest district in town. “Where is your temple?” demanded the king. “The only temple I have,” replied Poosalar, “is in my heart.”

This well-known legend of southern India reminds us of a profound truth: if devotion overflows, divinity will follow and serve you. Humanity and divinity are not mutually exclusive. And hence the poet Basavanna’s memorable line that “the moving” temples are those “that ever shall stay.”

Indian Culture – Become One with Divinity

The distinctive hallmark of Indian culture is that we do not aspire to worship God. Instead we seek to embody the sacred ourselves. We do not seek to adore the divine. We aspire to instead become one with divinity. This is the only spiritual culture that is not God-oriented – an invaluable contribution to a world ravaged by wildly conflicting definitions of God.

This is the only spiritual culture based on a bedrock of science, not faith. For all problems of human wellbeing, in is the only way out.

Someone once told me, “I believe there is no God.” I replied, “Really? I don’t believe even that.” This culture offers you the license to believe in the god of your choice, or not to believe at all. And if you do not find a god to your taste, it allows you the freedom to create one. That is how we ended up with 33 million gods at last count! To see God in a tree, rock or elephant is not considered absurd because every speck of creation is seen as a portal to the divine.

These gods were not mere imaginary toys. Instead we evolved a science of consecration, an entire science of god-making. Our deities are referred to as yantras – literally, machines to enhance life in all its manifestations. Devotees are sometimes disconcerted when I speak of the divine as a tool. But this is the audacious insight of this tradition: it dares to see not merely devotion as a technology but even god as a device!

And so, God becomes a stepping stone to your ultimate liberation. How you reach your liberation, whether with or without God, is entirely up to you. But your destination is always mukti or freedom – which ultimately means freedom from all concepts and beliefs.

Thousands of years ago, the world’s first yogi, Adiyogi, turned his attention on seven thirsty aspirants and proclaimed a radical truth: that the spiritual process is a science and the supreme goal is liberation. That historic day is celebrated to this day as Guru Purnima. The vibrant plurality of paths in India today owe their origins to the incredibly composite science of yoga that he propounded in which every dimension of the human being – body, mind, emotion and energy – is seen as a doorway to the divine.

This is the only spiritual culture based on a bedrock of science, not faith. For all problems of human wellbeing, in is the only way out.


The Story – When Shiva Takes You For A Ride

March 5, 2016

2 min read

Summary: Sadhguru tells a short beautiful story from the yogic lore - when shiva takes you for a ride!

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When Shiva Takes You For A Ride

Sadhguru: There is a beautiful story in the yogic lore. On a certain day, a man was walking through the Himalayas. It was a very hard journey, and anyone would want to seek help. He said, “Oh Shiva, I can’t do this, just come help me. At least hold my hand, take me along.”

Shiva appeared and said, “You walk. I’ll walk with you.”

“How do I know you are walking with me?” the devotee asked.

Shiva said, “Look out for the footprints. You only have two legs. If there are four footprints, that means I am walking with you.”

So every few minutes he checked, and sure enough, there was one more pair of footprints coming along with him.

After a few days he looked back, and there was just one pair of footprints. He said, “Oh you’ve forsaken me again.”

Shiva said, “See, it is very wet and slippery. But look at your feet, they are dry. That’s why there is only one pair of footprints.” The fool was riding on Shiva’s shoulders.

Within you, if you reduce “what is me, what is mine”, your life will become as wonderful as it can be. This is a simple device to breach the boundaries of who you are, so that something far bigger than you becomes a part of you and your life.


The Story – When Shiva Lost His Home (Badrinath)

March 1, 2016

3 min read

Summary: Sadhguru tells us the story of how Vishnu tricked Shiva and Parvati out of their home in Badrinath. They finally settled in Kedarnath.

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When Shiva Lost His Home - The Legend of Badrinath

Sadhguru: There is a legend about Badrinath. This is where Shiva and Parvati lived. It is a magnificent place at around 10,000 feet in the Himalayas. One day, Narada went to Narayana or Vishnu and said, “You are a bad example for humanity. All the time you are just lying around on Adishesha, and your wife, Lakshmi, is constantly serving you and spoiling you silly. You are not a good example for other creatures on the planet. For all the other beings in the creation, you must do something more purposeful.”

To escape this criticism and also work for his own upliftment, Vishnu came down to the Himalayas looking for the right kind of place to do his sadhana.

To escape this criticism and also work for his own upliftment, Vishnu came down to the Himalayas looking for the right kind of place to do his sadhana. He found Badrinath, a nice little home, with everything just the way he thought it should be – an ideal place for his sadhana.

He found a house there and went into it. But then he realized this is Shiva’s abode – and that man is dangerous. If he gets angry, he is the kind who can cut off his own throat, not just yours. The man is very dangerous.

So, Narayana transformed himself into a little child and sat in front of the house. Shiva and Parvati, who had gone out for a walk, returned home. When they came back, at the entrance of their home a little baby was crying. Looking at this child crying his heart out, Parvati’s maternal instincts came up and she wanted to go pick up the child. Shiva stopped her and said, “Don’t touch that child.” Parvati replied, “How cruel. How can you say that?”

Shiva said, “This is not a good baby. Why does he land up at our doorstep by himself? There is no one around, no footprints of parents in the snow. This is not a child.” But Parvati said, “Nothing doing! The mother in me will not allow me to let the child be like this,” and she took the baby into the house. The child was very comfortable, sitting on her lap, looking very gleefully at Shiva. Shiva knew the consequence of this but he said, “Okay, let’s see what happens.”

Shiva had two options: one was to burn up everything in front of him. Another was to just find another way and go.

Parvati comforted and fed the child, left him at home and went with Shiva for a bath in the nearby hot water springs. When they came back, they found the doors were locked from the inside. Parvati was aghast. “Who has closed the door?” Shiva said, “I told you, don’t pick up this child. You brought the child into the house and now he has locked the door.”

Parvati said, “What shall we do?”

Shiva had two options: one was to burn up everything in front of him. Another was to just find another way and go. So he said, “Let’s go somewhere else. Because it’s your beloved baby, I cannot touch it.”

This is how Shiva lost his own home and Shiva and Parvati became “illegal aliens”! They walked around, looking for an ideal place to live and finally settled down in Kedarnath. Did he not know, you may ask. You know many things, but you still allow them to happen.


The Story of Punyashi – Shiva’s Love Affair

February 26, 2016

5 min read

Summary: Not many would believe that Shiva could be a passionate lover. He is always portrayed as a intense and dispassionate yogi. Shiva has many facets to him, whatever we say about him, the opposite is also true. Sadhguru tells us about Punyakshi, Shiva's south Indian love affair. Though it did not find success, it resulted in the kailash of the south!

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Shiva's South Indian Love Affair

Sadhguru: Punyakshi, a woman of great perception, was an oracle who lived in the southernmost point of the Indian subcontinent. She developed a longing for Shiva and aspired to hold his hand as his wife. She had decided that she would marry only him and no one else. So Punyakshi started working towards making herself capable and suitable to draw Shiva’s attention. She remained absolutely focused upon him every moment of her life; her devotion crossed all boundaries and her austerities crossed all levels of sanity.

The society in which Punyakshi lived was worried. They believed that if Punyakshi married, she would lose her abilities to foresee the future and to protect and guide them.

Seeing the intensity of her passion, Shiva’s compassion and love were stirred. He reciprocated her love and was willing to marry her. But the society in which Punyakshi lived was worried. They believed that if Punyakshi married, she would lose her abilities to foresee the future and to protect and guide them. So they did everything possible to stop this marriage. But nothing could move Punyakshi from her determination and her devotion towards Shiva.

Shiva responded passionately, and the date of her wedding was fixed. He set off towards the southern tip of the subcontinent. But the people of her community were against the marriage so they appealed to Shiva, “Oh Shiva, if you marry her, we will lose the only eye of perception that we have for ourselves. Please do not marry her.” But Shiva was not in a listening mood and he continued to proceed towards the wedding.

The community elders stopped him and said, “If you want this girl as your bride, there are a few conditions. There is a bride-price that you have to pay us.”

Shiva asked, “What is the bride-price? Whatever it is, I will pay you.”

They listed out three items that Shiva was to pay as the bride price for Punyakshi, “We want a sugarcane without rings, a beetle leaf without veins, and a coconut without eyes. That is the bride-price you have to pay.”

All these items are unnatural. A sugarcane always comes with rings, there is no beetle leaf without veins, and there cannot be a coconut without eyes. It was an impossible bride-price and a sure way of stopping the wedding.

Shiva was very passionate about Punyakshi and wanted to marry her at any cost. So he brought forth his occult force and magical capabilities and breaking the laws of nature, created all these three objects.

Shiva was very passionate about Punyakshi and wanted to marry her at any cost. So he brought forth his occult force and magical capabilities and breaking the laws of nature, created all these three objects. He broke the very fundamental laws of nature to fulfill the unjust, impossible bride-price that was demanded. Having fulfilled the demands made of him, he proceeded towards the wedding.

But then, the community elders put one last condition on Shiva. “You must be married before the sun rises tomorrow morning. If you are late, you cannot marry the girl,” they said.

Hearing this, Shiva hastened towards the southern tip of the country. He covered the distance at a rapid pace and was sure that he would reach Punyakshi on time. The community elders saw that Shiva was overcoming all the impossible conditions they had fixed and would fulfill his promise to Punyakshi. They were really worried.

As Shiva was hurrying on his journey, he came to a place, known today as Suchindram, which was just a few kilometers away from the place of the wedding. He saw the sun coming up! He could not believe it. He had failed in his mission! But it was actually the community elders playing their final trick; they had decided to create a false sunrise. They gathered together a huge mound of camphor and set it ablaze. The camphor burned so bright and intense that when Shiva saw it from a distance, he thought the sun was coming up and that he had failed in his mission. He was so close – just a few kilometers away – but he was deceived into thinking that the time was up and that he had not been able to keep his word to Punyakshi.

Punyakshi was an accomplished yogini and standing there at the very edge of the subcontinent, she left her body.

Punyakshi was preparing for her grand wedding with Shiva, completely unaware of her community’s efforts to ruin the wedding. When the real sunrise broke upon the horizon, she realized that Shiva was not coming. She became furious. She kicked and broke all the pots which were full of food prepared for the celebration, and in a violent temper, she went to the edge of the land and stood there. She was an accomplished yogini and standing there at the very edge of the subcontinent, she left her body. Even today, there is a temple on the spot where she left her body; that place is known as Kanyakumari.

Shiva thought he had failed Punyakshi and was so despondent and frustrated with himself. He turned around and began walking back. But because of the anger within him, he needed a place to sit down and work out his despondency. So he went up the Velliangiri Mountain and sat on the peak. He did not sit in blissfulness or in meditation. He sat in a certain kind of despondence and anger about himself. He stayed there for a considerable amount of time and the Mountain imbibed his energy which is very, very different from anywhere else.

Traditionally, any place that Shiva stayed for a certain period of time was called Kailash. So this mountain is called the Kailash of the South. In height and in color, and probably in magnitude, the Velliangiris may not be comparable to the Kailash in the Himalayas, but in potency, in beauty, and in sacredness, it is not any less. For thousands of years, many sages, yogis and mystics have walked this mountain. The Vellaingiri Mountain has witnessed a phenomenal amount of mystical work. So many beings, the kind of men that gods would be envious of because they lived with such grace and dignity, have walked this Mountain. These great beings let the whole mountain imbibe what they knew, and it can never be lost.


The Story of Shiva’s Companions – The Ganas

February 16, 2016

2 min read

Summary: Ganas were alwaya around Shiva. His private company was always with Ganas. The yogic lore described them as demented distorted beings. Why is it that they looked so different? Could it be that they were celestial beings who came from some other place? Could it be that Shiva himself was a celestial being? Sadhguru also tells us that that Ganesha, is Ganapati, i.e. with a Gana's head, and not Gajapati, it is not an elephant trunk!

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Shiva’s Ganas – Demented or Celestial?

Sadhguru: In the yogic lore, the ganas are all Shiva’s friends. They were the ones who were always around him. Though he had disciples, a wife and many other admirers, his private company was always ganas. Ganas are described as distorted, demented beings. It is said that they had limbs without bones coming out of odd parts of their bodies, so they are described as distorted and demented beings. They were just different from who we are.

Why could they be so different? This may be an aspect of life that is a little hard to digest now. See, Shiva himself has always been described as a yakshaswaroopa. Yaksha means a celestial being. A celestial being means someone who came from elsewhere. Somewhere over 15,000 years ago, Shiva arrived at Manasarovar, which is a lake in Tibet. It is one of the remnants of the Tethys Sea, which is considered as a crucible of human civilizations. Today, it is at almost 15,000 feet above mean sea level, but it is actually an ocean which has moved up and become a lake now.

The ganas were the ones that Shiva was really close with.

The ganas, Shiva’s friends, were not like human beings, and it is clearly said that they never spoke any of the human languages. They spoke in utter cacophony. When Shiva and his friends communicated, they spoke a language that nobody understood, so human beings described it as total, chaotic cacophony. But the ganas were the ones that he was really close with.

And you know the story of Ganapati losing his head. When Shiva came and this boy tried to stop him, Shiva took off his head. When Parvati became distraught and asked Shiva to replace the head, he took off the head of some other creature and put it on the child. This other creature is described as an elephant. But what you need to understand is, nobody called him Gajapati (Lord of Elephants). We always called him Ganapati (Lord of Ganas). Shiva took off the head of one of his friends and put it on the boy.

The ganas had limbs without bones, so this boy became Ganapati. Because in this culture, a limb without bones meant an elephant trunk, so artists made it into an elephant – but actually, he is not Gajapati, he is Ganapati. He got the head of one of the ganas, and Shiva made him leader of the ganas.


The Story of Akka Mahadevi – A Shiva Devotee

November 12, 2012

3 min read

Summary: Sadhguru tells us about Akka Mahadevi, a woman who defied a king and walked naked out of her devotion to the Adiyogi.

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article originally published on isha.sadhguru.org

Sadhguru: Akka Mahadevi was a devotee of Shiva. Right from childhood she had completely given herself to Shiva and she looked upon him as her husband. A king saw her one day and she was so beautiful that he wanted to marry her. Akka refused but then the king threatened her, “If you don’t marry me, I will kill your parents.” So, she married the man but she kept him at a physical distance. He tried to woo her but she kept saying, “I am not married to you. I married Shiva long ago. He visits me and I am with him. I cannot be with you.”

This was too much for the king to take and one day he decided, “What is the point of having a wife like this? How does one live with a wife who is married to some unseen man, somewhere?” There was no formal divorce in those days and he was just distraught. He did not know what to do. So he brought her to his court and asked the court to decide. When the court asked her, she kept talking about her husband elsewhere. This was not hallucinatory, it was 100% real for her. Your imagination, if it is empowered by life energies, it becomes reality, 100%.

Akka Mahadevi wrote hundreds of beautiful poems about Shiva and her devotion. Her devotion was such that every day she begged him…

The king got angry because in front of all these people, his wife was claiming that her husband was elsewhere. 800 years ago, socially it was not a simple thing to take for a king. So in great anger, he said, “If you are already married to somebody, what are you doing with me? Everything that you wear, the jewels, the clothes – everything is mine. Leave them here and go.” Those days in India, there was no way a woman even thought of leaving her husband’s house at all. But in the full assembly of the court, Akka Mahadevi – a young woman of 18 years – just dropped all her clothes and left. She refused to wear clothes from that day onwards.

Akka Mahadevi wrote hundreds of beautiful poems about Shiva and her devotion. Her devotion was such that every day she begged him, “Shiva let no food come my way. Let my body also express the longing and anguish that I am going through to become part of you. If I eat, my body will be satisfied. My body will not know what I am feeling. So let no food come towards me. If food does come into my hands, let it fall down in the mud before I put it into my mouth. If it falls in the mud, the fool that I am, before I pick it up, let a dog come and take it away.” This was her daily prayer.

Devotees are a completely different kind of people. They just have one foot in this world. Their ways of living and the power with which they exist is completely other-worldly.


The Story Of Allama Mahaprabhu – A Shiva Devotee

May 17, 2013

4 min read

Summary: Sadhguru tells the captivating story of a shiva devotee and a gentle yogi, Allama Mahaprabhu, and what happened when he was challenged by Yogi Siddhalinga, who they said was over 280 years old and as hard as a diamond.

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article originally published on isha.sadhguru.org

Allama Mahaprabhu and the Yoga of Gentleness

Sadhguru: There is a very beautiful story in the yogic lore of Karnataka. This was a great yogi named Siddhalinga who lived in the region of Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh in the Deccan Plateau of South India. He walked this region with such great authority, going everywhere and proving to everyone that he was the greatest yogi. He was on the path of Kayakalpa. Kaya means “the body,” and kalpa means to get your body into a different dimension altogether. These were the kind of yogis with mastery over the fundamental elements. With this kind of sadhana, they made their body so hard and stable. These are the kind of people who live for 300-400 years because they have stabilized their body with their mastery over the five elements in such a way that they continue to live beyond the normal span of human life. At the time of this story, they say Siddhalinga was already over 280 years old and he had made his body as hard as a diamond. In those days, all the weapons were made from either steel, brass, copper, or similar metals. So, no one could cut through his body with any weapon that was available. That was his pride. Wherever he went, he was always challenging people to prove that he was the greatest yogi.

They say Siddhalinga was already over 280 years old and he had made his body as hard as a diamond

Siddhalinga heard about Allama, another great yogi, who did not live like a yogi. Allama, who was generally known Allama Mahaprabhu, was a very beautiful sage and a devotee of Shiva. He was one yogi who was greatly respected in South India and still is. Many devotees such as Akka Mahadevi were in touch with Allama. Allama’s message of unconditional devotion and various other types of sadhana that he was giving to people were spreading in a big way during that time.

Allama was actually a king. He had his temporal duties so he dressed like a king and lived like one but he was a yogi. Siddhalinga dressed like a yogi and lived like a yogi. He had “yogi” painted all over his face. He did not like this man who dressed well, ate well and lived in a palace, but called himself a yogi. So he went to Allama and challenged him, “You call yourself a yogi? You call yourself a devotee of Shiva? Show me something. What have you got?”

Allama Mahaprabhu said, “You are the great yogi. It is best that you show what you can do.”

Siddhalinga pulled out a diamond-tipped sword, gave it to Allama and said, “Take this sword and hit me on my head with all your strength. Nothing will happen to me.”

Allama was amused. He took the sword, and with both his hands and all his might, smashed it on Siddhalinga’s head. The sword just bounced off because his body was so hard. Siddhalinga just stood there like a rock. He laughed, “See. You cannot do anything to me.” Then Siddhalinga said, “Now that you used the sword against me, I can also use it against you.”

Allama said okay. Siddhalinga took the sword and slashed Allama with it. The sword went right through him like he was thin air. It just passed through him. Siddhalinga swished this way and that way but the sword went through Allama again and again without even touching him. Then Siddhalinga bowed down and said, “I know the yoga of strength but I don’t know the yoga of gentleness,” and he became Allama’s disciple.

Allama inspired and created a whole genre of saints called Veerashaivas. Veerashaivas are warrior devotees. They are Shiva bhaktas but they bear arms. Allama was a very soft and gentle being. He had written thousands of couplets of such enormous depth and dimension. In many ways, I can clearly say he was one of a kind in the whole history of humanity. He was an extraordinary being.


The Story of Nandanar – A Shiva Devotee

January 29, 2018

5 min read

Summary: Sadhguru tells the beautiful story of a bonded labor, who later became known as Nandanar!

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article originally published on isha.sadhguru.org

Nandanar: The Nayanmar for whom Nandi stepped aside

Sadhguru: There is a beautiful incident that happened in Tamil Nadu. There was a man who was an outcaste in the society, a bonded labourer. He had no name. In a society that wants to enslave someone, the first thing they do is take away your name because a name has a powerful identity. They will make Mumbai into Bombay, Bengaluru into Bangalore, Thiruvananthapuram into Trivandrum.

This man had no name and was generally just referred to as a tiller. Right from his childhood, the very thought of Shiva had intrigued him.

This man had no name and was generally just referred to as a tiller. Right from his childhood, the very thought of Shiva had intrigued him. As a bonded labourer he was not supposed to have any thoughts of his own, but the thought of Shiva fired him up. About twenty-five kilometers away from where he lived was the famous Shiva temple of Thirupungur. He had always wanted to visit this temple because he felt Shiva was calling him. But since his life was not his own, he could not make the trip. Any number of times, he presented his case to the landlord: “I’ll make just a one-day trip to the temple and come back.” The landlord always replied, “Today, there is weeding to do. Tomorrow, there is fertilising. Day after tomorrow, you have to till the land. No, you cannot waste a single day. What do you think? As it is, you are a good-for-nothing. You want to waste a whole day in your life? No.” But this intrigue began to build up within him. He wanted to see Shiva in Thirupungur.

One day, a new kind of energy began to reverberate through his entire body. So he went and stood before the landlord with a different kind of dignity that a bonded labourer is never supposed to know. The landlord started off, “You idiot, last time, your mother was sick. Before that, your sister was getting married. Before that, your grandmother died three times over. Now you want to go to the temple?” The man said, “I’ll do all the work today. Tomorrow, just a day trip, I will go and come.” The landlord, in that moment, gave in and said, “Okay, go and come back before evening.” But the landlord immediately realized what he had just said. So he added, “Before you leave, all the forty acres should be tilled. Since it is evening now, before tomorrow morning, you must plough the land and only then leave for the temple.” The tiller was not foolish enough to even attempt that. He just went to bed. His entire system was reverberating and he knew that this time, he would go to the temple no matter what the consequences were.

The problem with most logical minds is that when something intrigues you, you give a stupid explanation to it and kill it right there.

In the morning, he woke up to a big commotion in the village. To the man’s surprise, the entire forty acres were ploughed. The landlord was standing there with a gaping mouth. The landlord’s wife and children fell at the tiller’s feet. He always thought that by appealing to Shiva, he could bend the laws of nature, but the laws of men are so cruel that they can never be bent. However, here, the laws of men, gods and nature were all bent. People came and put silver coins in his hand. Someone put a food hamper in his hand. Someone gave him a stick and said, “He is going to the temple, he is a chosen one. Shiva himself has come and ploughed forty acres of land for him.” He went to the temple with great joy in his heart. But having lived a life of an outcaste, he did not forget that the priests would not allow him to cross the threshold of the temple. He stood outside the temple and of course, though Shiva bends everything for his devotee, the priests will not bend. But he just wanted to see Shiva once. So, the big Nandi which was sitting in his way moved to one side. Even today, at Thirupungur, the Nandi sits to one side. Later on, people called this man Nandanar, and he became a famous sage. You cannot call him a devotee, but his entire life was this intrigue. He was unwilling to let go of the intrigue.

The problem with most logical minds is that when something intrigues you, you give a stupid explanation to it and kill it right there. Most minds are incapable of living with intrigue. They come to a conclusion. Every intrigue that comes up, you try to answer it with your silly ideas. That is just a way of dodging life. With conclusions, you will close doors for yourself. There is so much that is unanswered. Many of the top scientists today are saying that not only do we not know the nature of the universe, we will never know the nature of the universe. So, accept that you do not have the intelligence or the means to answer all the questions that are unanswered. Just remain with that. That is a sincere human being. One who knows that he does not know the answers is a sincere human being. One who finds a silly logical answer is a foolish human being but he thinks he is smart. All that is needed is to walk with this intrigue. When your mind bothers you, just maintain the intrigue. That’s all it takes.


What Is Shivanga Sadhana?

January 2, 2018

16 min read

Summary: This is a profound article by Sadhguru, and a must read for all those seeking to grow spiritually, and all those concerned about their own wellbeing. Sadhguru elaborates on the various aspects of shivanga sadhana and their significance. This simple process brings a certain organic intelligence into the system, a different dimension of intelligence is invoked, making life effortless.

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article originally published on isha.sadhguru.org

Shivanga Sadhana - A Tool To Rise

Sadhguru: This process that we have set forth now, that we are referring to as Shivanga – anga means a limb, that means a limb of Shiva. You are a part of him. So being a part of the Creator, the transition or the journey is from being a part of creation to being part of the source of creation or the Creator. This is something that is infused in all of us – not just as human beings – every life around us has the same source. But the biggest advantage we have or the biggest challenge we have, the biggest possibility that we have in our lives is we are capable of realizing it. We are capable of making it into a conscious process. None of the other creatures can do it. None of the other life forms, though they are made of the same stuff, they are never ever able to realize that they are made of this stuff. But if you light the fire of devotion in your heart, you will not live here as a piece of earth, you will live here as a limb or a part of Shiva.

As devotees, I want you to bring a new level of sensitivity to everything around you. Devotion should become the most beautiful and attractive thing.

So as devotees, I want you to bring a new level of sensitivity to everything around you. I want you to bring this culture of a new level of sensitivity. Devotion should become the most beautiful and attractive thing. It has always been. This is what human heart longs for, that it wants to be on fire without reason. If it is not on fire without reason, you will set it on fire with hormones. If there is no devotion, you desperately try to cling to somebody. If there is devotion, you will see, whatever you want is happening within you. The most beautiful things are happening within you, there is no time even to look around for anything because so much is happening within you.

It will be good to do a few years of sadhana and bring that sense of devotion, which is absolute balance within yourself. When you are a devotee, you are in total balance because devotion brings that dimension into you. It looks like an extreme process. A devotee is an extremist who is not against anything. We need such people. Right now, we create extremists who are always against somebody. I want you to just imagine people like the “terror people.” They are causing havoc on this planet, but there is one dimension to them, which is very valuable: that is they are willing to die for what they hold as valuable. This is a great quality. Only thing is they are against somebody. That’s the only problem. Suppose they had no enemy. Suppose you have no enemy and you are incapable of an enemy but you are an extremist, you would be a fantastic, intense human being. A very intense and wonderful life you would be, if only you did not make an enemy within yourself. If you do not create an enemy and you are an extremist, it is a great way to be, because you will live an intense life – absolutely intense life. When you are not for anything or against anything – just an extremist, you will be a great piece of life.

Sadhana time is not a time for you to ask for all the arrangements to be made. Sadhana time means, this is a time to bring humility, this is a time to live like you’re just another creature on the planet, which you are. You may have ideas, but the reality is you’re just another creature on the planet. And being just another creature is not a bad thing, it’s a great blessing. Otherwise, you’re just a psychological case. The reality is you are a creature on the planet. If you are a creature on the planet, the hand of the creator has touched you. If you are a psychological case, it’s all just your rubbish. Whether you’re an ant, or an insect, or a cockroach, or a human being. If you are a creature on this planet – a creature means the creator has touched you. There’s no better blessing. If you are a psychological case, you are just a rubbish of your own.

Sadhana time is not a time for you to ask for all the arrangements to be made. Sadhana time means, this is a time to bring humility, this is a time to live like you’re just another creature on the planet, which you are. You may have ideas, but the reality is you’re just another creature on the planet.

This is a time to understand that you are just another creature, you’re not something else. The sadhana is devised to make this sink a little deeper into you because only a living thing can evolve. A psychological case, most probably will only regress. And if it evolves that means you are really getting sick. If your psychological condition, if it’s evolving that means you are really getting sick, but if a creature evolves it’s getting better and that cannot be stopped, anyway it will evolve. We are only trying to throttle it up, hasten it up. Make it happen little faster than the natural process. We don’t want to go at the Darwinian pace, we want to go little faster than what Charles Darwin is predicting for us.

This sadhana is structured this way, there are many aspects to this. One is, to use the body in a certain way. We left the ladies without any physical exercise because we thought they are already overworked in most families. There is a simple process called “Shiva Namaskar” which those who get into the sadhana will do. Another important part of the sadhana is, you must go out and beg from at least twenty-one people. When they give you something, you should not see what they are giving. Suppose they are just giving you a twenty-five paisa coin, you must stretch out your hands and look at their face in supplication. When they are giving, you must close your eyes, not see what they are giving.

This phase, till Mahashivratri, is a significant phase for that, because in terms of elements, in terms of the way the planet is positioned, in terms of the sadhana that you do, if you do it with the necessary involvement, it will have the necessary impact and results.

Learning to receive, whether it is one rupee or one million, to receive it with the same sense. When you give you must see what you are giving, because anyway, you will be giving less than what you can give. But when you receive, you must close your eyes, whatever they give, whether it’s one rupee or one million rupees, you must receive it with the same sense of gratitude. Giving and taking can be just a mere transaction or can become a process of inclusion. Everything someone takes and gives to you can become a way of sharing and it can become much more. It can become a way of breaking the boundaries of who you are.

The sadhana is about this, whether they give you one paisa or one crore, to receive that one paisa you have to give away something of yours. Your pride, your sense of ego, your sense of who you are, to keep that aside and just go and ask for this, shirtless. If you wear a shirt you’ll become a big man. You have to go shirtless. And at least with twenty-one people – you can beg with 200 people if you want – at least twenty-one people you must go and ask for something. And whatever you gather will be used to feed so many people who are here on Mahashivratri and other days when people come.

So to approach someone just with utter humility, shirtless, going and asking somebody, “Please…” Just do this, it will make a lot of difference. Simply the body becomes still, no matter what is happening, and this ease is very, very important. If the body doesn’t come to ease, you need to understand this, what is not at ease is not willing to release you. What is not at ease will cling. Even if you want to be, “I am not the body, I am not the body, I am not the body,” the body doesn’t listen. It will not let you go. The body should come to ease. Then if you say, “I am not the body,” it says, “Yes, you are not.” If it doesn’t say yes, you have no way to get out.

So bringing this ease is very, very important. This phase, till Mahashivratri, is a significant phase for that, because in terms of elements, in terms of the way the planet is positioned, in terms of the sadhana that you do, if you do it with the necessary involvement, it will have the necessary impact and results.

Many of you are going to start the 21-day sadhana till Dhanya Pournami, which is generally known as Thaipoosam in Tamil Nadu. The significance of such periods of sadhana is unfortunately being lost in so-called modern societies. Today, it is only the uneducated and the rural people who do these sadhanas. Once you become educated, you are not supposed to do anything right. You are supposed to be confused about everything!

The significance of a sadhana period like this is to bring an organic intelligence to your system.

The moment you get educated, you are supposed to get confused about all the most basic aspects that human beings have been doing for thousands of years – about your body, your mind, your relationships, the world around you – about everything. That is the quality of the educated. So we can imagine the quality of education that we are rendering to the world.

Education is no longer about making human beings, it is creating scattered human beings. They feel they are superior to everyone, but they are confused about every little thing. They do not know what an illiterate peasant knows, but they think are superior. They are definitely a superior level of confusion.

The significance of a sadhana period like this is to bring an organic intelligence to your system, a different dimension of intelligence which makes life effortless. You do not imagine that creation is a problem that you have to solve. Creation is not a problem. Creation is a tremendous phenomenon. You can either ride it, or you can be crushed by it. The choice is yours. If you ride it, it is a phenomenon beyond anyone’s imagination. If you are crushed by it, it is a horrible thing.

Riding the Wave

Life is a horrible thing for those who are being crushed and ground by it, but it is a phenomenal thing for those who ride the wave of life. Recently, I was watching a video of the longest surf ride. These waves could crush people to death, but for the one who rides it with just a simple piece of plastic or wood, the joy of it is different. The same thing goes for life as a whole – if you ride it, it is such a fabulous phenomenon. Otherwise you cannot fathom the depth of one’s suffering.

The word “sadhana” literally means a tool or an instrument. If you do not have the right kind of tools, every simple thing will become a problem.

Sadhana is a tool to rise, to be able to ride the surf of life. The word “sadhana” literally means a tool or an instrument. If you do not have the right kind of tools, every simple thing will become a problem. I was in an international airport recently, and there was a young woman there. She was sitting in the center of the hallway, not on a chair but on her bag. Thousands of people were walking up and down, everyone with their trolley – someone rushing to the airplane, someone getting off and coming – but she was undisturbed by all this. She was sitting there with a small mirror and a little tweezer and plucking her eyebrows very efficiently.

I thought her level of focus was quite something. The important thing was the tiny little tool that she had. It was a little forceps that she was so efficiently using in the middle of a hallway in an airport, where thousands of people are moving – undisturbed and pulling it off. Whoever innovates these tiny little instruments, hats off to them!

From the smallest level of instrument to the highest, it is the level of focus and involvement that makes the instrument effective. Of course, the design of the instrument is important, but still, with this tweezer, with so many people going around, you could poke your eyeballs out. It is a tiny little sharp thing. The level of involvement is very important. It is all a question of how much it matters to you – not your eyebrows. I mean your spiritual process. If you grow a third eye, there is one more to be tweezed! But it usually does not grow a brow, just the eye!

Involvement and Focus

The sadhana is structured in such a way that the maximum results happen with minimum effort. Sadhana is like an eyebrow tweezer – if you apply it meticulously, it works well. Otherwise you can poke your eyeballs with it. That is not the purpose for which it is created. It is the meticulous way in which you go about it and the level of involvement and focus in it that will bring results. The tool is important, but how you use it is most important. If I ask you to tighten something with a screwdriver, and you put the wrong end in, all you will do is poke yourself.

Do not be fooled by the simplicity. If you give yourself absolutely, it [sadhana] produces results that you cannot imagine possible.

In the surfing video, I was watching this young boy floating on the surf endlessly – each time you thought it is going to end, it does not. He goes more and more, with just a piece of plastic. You have seen all the things we can do with a frisbee. Just a piece of plastic, but it can keep your life going if you know how to use it. This sadhana is just like that.

It is very simple. We could make it more complex, but if we make it very sophisticated and complex, a lot of people cannot understand what the hell it is all about. Do not be fooled by the simplicity. If you give yourself absolutely, it produces results that you cannot imagine possible. That is all it takes with life because we do not have to create it – it is already there. We just have to make it function smoothly and efficiently at its highest possible level. If you had to make life, that would be a different kind of challenge. Everything is there. You just have to position it right. That is all. And that will happen with the sadhana.

Finding Employment in Hell

This sadhana is intentionally structured in such a way that some of it appeals to you and some of it does not. What does not break you or bend you, that is what you are comfortable with. But what you do not like is most important. If you are doing what you like with hundred percent involvement, then you must do what you do not like with two hundred percent involvement.

The sadhana is such that you understand the instruments of body, mind, speech, hearing, seeing.

Are you eating the neem ball in the mornings? Maybe you are throwing it in the back of the throat and drinking water over it. No, you must put it in your mouth and chew it. Instead of a neem ball, we could provide you a rasgulla. But you can eat a rasgulla with complete unawareness. If we give you a heap of rasgulla, after some time, you do not even know how many you have eaten. But will you ever forget how many neem balls you ate? If somebody says, “You ate only two neem balls”, you will say, “No, I ate three!” Neem is very beneficial, but above all, things that you do not like make you very alert to life.

Your likes and dislikes are just a question of thought. You can think, “I like this person.” The next moment, you can think, “I hate this person.” You are allowed that freedom. If you think, “I like this person,” it will be true. If you think, “I don’t like this person,” that will also be true for you.

After all, it is your thought – at least you must be able to think pleasantly. If even in your thought you are unpleasant, then you have found employment in hell. You have no present, but you have a future because you have a job waiting for you. I am sure the HR department in hell will recruit you because you are such an expert in torturing yourself that you should do very well in torturing other people!

The sadhana is such that you understand the instruments of body, mind, speech, hearing, seeing. All these are your instruments. How you learn to use them is your business. You can use them towards your wellbeing, or you can use them to make yourself into a private hell of your own. At least your hell, do it privately – do not make it public.

The Simple Things

During this sadhana, every breath, every step, every heartbeat should be on and on. That is when you know how significant simple things can be, and what great things these simple things can do. Such simple things have done miraculous things. It is the atoms that built the whole cosmos. They are so insignificant that you cannot even see them in a microscope. We could have ignored them, but they made the planet, the universe and everything. So do not ignore those simple things. It is only because those simple things have been ignored that life has become complex. If you had taken care of those simple things, life would be wonderful.

During this sadhana, every breath, every step, every heartbeat should be on and on.

How to sit, how to stand, how to breathe – bring these simple things into your life. Life will become a graceful process, not an aberration. That is what the sadhana is about. The only aspiration in your life should be you must do your life in the highest possible way – whatever you see as the highest, at least to that level, it must happen. Otherwise it is a worthless life. You do not have to do what I see as the highest. But at least what you see as the highest must happen.

If you do not aspire for what you hold as the highest, that is a wasted life. Do not be a wasted life because the most precious thing about life is life itself – not the diamonds, the property or the money. Will you get this now or will you get it on your deathbed when you are taking your last breath? You will anyway get it one day. I think today is a good day.


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