There was a sage in northern part of Karnataka, who is today revered and celebrated as one of the pillars of the Veershaiva community, his name was Allama Prabhu.
A yogi came seeking Allama because he heard great things about Allama, he wanted to compete with him. This yogi, who came to meet him, he was a little over two hundred and odd years. With very rigorous yoga, mastering the elements within the system, he hardened his body in such a way, he defied age. So, this is his pride, everybody that he knew has fallen dead, but the man lives and strong as a youth – rocklike his body.
So, he came to Allama, they met on a bank of a river and he told Allama, ‘I’m the real yogi. If you want to test me, you take your sword, hit me on my head, see what happens.’ Allama said, ‘okay’ and took his sword and smashed it on his head. It just bounced back, like you hit a rock. So the yogi said, ‘This is my strength. No sword can slice me, I’m practically immortal.’ He asked, ‘What can you do?’
Allama laughed and said, ‘Well, you can also use your sword.’ So he hesitated a bit, Allama did not look so strong, rocklike – he looked normal. Allama said, ‘Go ahead, don’t worry.’ So he took the sword and really went for his head. The sword went straight through, as if it’s through air and he hit the ground and he lost his balance and fell down. So he asked, ‘What is this?’ He said, ‘This is not this or that, this is Shiva.’
This is not this or that. If it is this or that, then it has qualities. This is neither this nor that, this is Shiva – this is ‘that which is not.’