On Knowing Shiva- A dose of Liberation for the one who dares to find it
Oh! How rejuvenating & full of ambrosia so sublime
Is Shiva’s masterful stroke devoid of space & time,
Raising my consciousness to spheres beyond the mind
Intoxicating my soul with the Infinite divine
Such enigmatic language colours the dense landscape of literature that evokes the mighty Lord Mahamrityunjaya, the victor of Death. Those who claim to know him, say words are menial descriptors & cannot capture the perfect experience of Shiva’s essence or what it means to be a self realized master.
Intrigued by these abstract notions & yearning to “Know” the Mahayogi better I delve deeper into the mysteries that shroud him & here’s what I find.
For the erudite, he is Sarvayoni, the source of everything. Mythological annals have thus dedicated many a stories, hymns, festivals & rituals to venerate his existence. The paradox they say is that his ultimate existence is expressed by the nothingness that engenders within it all these little dry morsels of thoughts, emotions, energies & activities we perform ceaseless over eons to finally return to the void, which he personifies.
With the mind of a lolling child, who wears a naughty grin & flees from the complex notions of the scholarly, I decide to make my life simple & give him a form –an easier way to comprehend Shiva, for my little head. There are many, who dwell in this limited perception of the Mahadev, as the forthcoming paragraph describes.
My grandmother tells me, he is in the rosary beads she counts all day. My aunt says I will find him in the pillar shaped stone, of the famous city temple, where many a chants are sung in his name. My uncle says, I am too young to bother with him and should keep busy with more productive pastimes. My nanny advises me, that I will be, Shiva himself, if I have a bath every day & eat well. My dog, tells me, he is in the garden hidden in the aroma of the lilies & fleeting birds, butterflies & lady bugs. My mother says I’ll find him one day, if I live a righteous life, whatever that be. And in their own way, they are all right, BUT they don’t assuage my yearning to experience the ambrosia of his presence, which esoteric texts describe.
I run amok these voices, restlessly looking for him, the great Shiva. I must admit that all along, I am amused, as it were, to identify that in the ultimate analysis, I have no fixed or final idea about who he really is & why I even need to find him. I feel a bit scattered & yet my instincts provoke me to search more.
Tired & dejected by this long winding path of inexactitude & unclear yearning I find a clearing in a lonely spot on a hilltop with a reasonable sunshine. I sit there sullenly, sipping my juice, wondering if I will ever witness any tale of fantasy I have ever heard of from the heroic glory of the mystical past or ever possess occult powers of the divine sages. My thinking mind begins to make me accept the verdict of the rational world of so called sane beings, that such wishful magic is scorned upon & nothing but an escape from reality.
Just when, I’m about to derail myself from contemplating these inexplicable yearnings for god realisation within my being & return to the mundane Humdrum my gaze falls upon him- Dressed in white, replete with the gleaming beard of the mystics I behold before me, a face whose eyes I cannot forget. I stand transfixed, as his eyes hold mine. He says nothing but a voice inside my head, which I decipher with an unnerving certainty as being of this familiar but unknown face, begins to guide me – “Look at me and nowhere else”, he says. Absorbed in the halo of his invisible glow, I obey him. The longer I look at him the more I lose consciousness of my body, thoughts & the world around me. My breath elongates & I feel resuscitated with the elixir of life. As my focus deepens, I shut my eyes & find my body fall into the cross legged posture I associate with sages. My breathing deepens & thoughts begin to wither away. I feel enveloped in the protective layers of his light and the voice in my head, which I perceive as his, whispers, “My child the purpose, of life is to seek god. Mundane chores are menial pastimes which enslave you. To rid yourself of bodily desires, you must seek further, the wisdom of immortality, to conquer death altogether.” Mesmerised by his words, I continue to listen & intuitively, begin to comprehend what Shiva really is. As I turn my gaze inward, my consciousness shifts from thought & form to the moving currents of energy in my spine. The voice guides me, saying this is Prana or the cosmic life force, gushing in my own spine. I continue to bask in the infinite bliss of this rejuvenating energy in my spine & get lost in its movement up & down the spinal cord. This goes on for a while until finally, my attention is fine tuned & even more focused at a point in the centre of my eyebrows, on my forehead. Legend has it, that this is the third eye. I experience a deep silence and emptiness within my being & as I melt further in this divine state of ecstasy which I am told in a whisper, is known as a lower Samadhi in yogic parlance. I begin to finally, experience Shiva, – the infinitesimal silence of being, as it is, one with creation.
With much reluctance, after being summoned by the bearded man who I now, kneel before, as does a novice before master, I open my eyes and absorb the essence of my experience. Suddenly, the enigma of all that I have read falls away in light of my experience which validates the finer nuances of what it means to be intoxicated by the nectar of an enlightened consciousness. I thank him profusely & urge him not to leave me.
To deconstruct the experience for you dear reader -The child in this tale is each one of us, yearning for that infinite wisdom called Shiva or god, whom we all seek after being disappointed by material nothings. Blessed are those who find even, fragments of him & realize that his secrets lie within our own being as we experience & find our own, centre of gravity & stillness. The gradual detachment from all the sources of misery which we cling to & achievement of deep states of internal solitude & bliss are a giant leap in the direction of the Yogi’s way – the path to luminosity, wholeness & ultimately the liberation from Life cycles or the turning wheel of time, Kaal Chakra . Experiencing this, subtle wisdom, by the grace of a true master is infact, the golden beginnings to Knowing or realising Shiva.
Be bold & seek, & thou shalt find him!