Rishi Dadhichi is one of the foremost sages in the Hindu mythology. Having been born in the family of Bhrigu, he is credited with the creation of the Prasna Upanishad. It is however his connection to Lord Shiva that makes him all the more interesting. The most powerful thread that joins Lord Shiva and Rishi Dadhichi is the Goddess Adi-Shakti in her avatar as Sati and then as Parvati. Located in the Misrikh region of Naimisharanya, close to the modern day city of Lucknow, Rishi Dadhichi’s ashram was the abode of refuge for Sati as she grew up through childhood. Away from her prejudiced and vain father, King Daksha, Sati learnt from Rishi Dadhichi about the subtle balance of power between the creators and their creations. She learnt that Shiva was an inimitable part of the Hindu tridev, and that the continuation of the process of life ad evolution of time was not possible unless the principles of creation, preservation and destruction came to bear upon all of the universe.
Shiva’s asceticism and its underlying meaning was first made clear to Sati by Rishi Dadhichi. Shiva was not a deranged begger. Roaming in tiger skin and smeared ash all over himself- Such severe avoidance of materiality was only symbolic of disillusionment and consequent escape from the snares of the material world. Trappings of wealth, power and manifest authority serve to blind the best of humans, and Brahma’s human son Daksha was no exception. He found Shiva’s apparent lack of wealth and rustic appearance unacceptable. However on the insistence of his father Brahma he had reluctantly allowed the marriage of Sati and Shiva.
To appease his sense of affront however, Daksha went on to plot and subsequently insulted Shiva by not not inviting him on a Yajna and then by publicly lampooning Shiva and Sati at his Yajna. The first person to have strongly objected to this impunity on Daksha’s part was Rishi Dadhichi. He was also the first one to leave the great gathering called by Daksh for said Yajna.
After the passing away of Sati, and her reincarnation as Parvati, Rishi Dadhichi made it his personal point to visit the Parvat Naresh (King of Mountains) Himvan to train his daughter in the ways of Shiva worship. Owing to his great devotion, Shiva had blessed him with a boon that had transformed his very bones into thunder. Shiva also taught the spirit of the Mahamrityunjay Mantra to Dadhichi, hitherto unknown to any other mortal. Dadhichi was also gifted the boon of knowing about the secrets of the creation of the world and the universe. These are knowledge that Dadhichi had passed on to Devi Parvati, with the help of Goddess of Wisdom-Goddess Saraswati. It is through Goddess Parvati’s later avatars that a lot more positive things happened in the future to extol the virtues of Shiva and Shakti.
The most influential lesson though that one may draw from the example of Lord Shiva and Rishi Dadhichi is the event where Rishi Dadhichi’s power of Bhakti for Lord Shiva reaches its zenith. The Demons under the leadership of Vritasura, one of the sons of Danu- the mother of the Danav Race, had earned the boon of being immune to all conventional weapons made of steel, iron and wood. The Devas faced crushing defeats at his hands and the King of Gods Indra had his jaws broken, such was the power of Vritasura. Desperate, the Gods went to Lord Vishnu for advice. Lord Vishnu told them, Vritasura could only be slain by weapons forged by the bones of a powerful sage. Unsure about which sage would willingly give up his life for Indra, the Gods asked for further guidance. Lord Vishnu named Rishi Dadhichi as the most suitable candidate.
Indra was troubled to go to Rishi Dadhichi for he had on a previous occasion challenged and beheaded Rishi Dadhichi for teaching the Madhuvidya (the knowledge of reinstating life in a dead body) to the Ashwini twins (Gods of sunrise and Sunset, who brought prosperity to men and removed obstacles). The Ashwini twins had saved Dadhichi using the Madhuvidya. Indra was uncertain if Rishi Dadhichi would curse him and make his life more miserable on account of his request. Rishis were known to have the power to curse Gods to terrible plights.
Given his predicament however, Indra was out of options and had to go to Rishi Dadhichi. Lord Shiva and Rishi Dadhichi were so evenly in sync with the principles of asceticism that the great Rishi agreed to give up his life for the greater good. His bones, he said, would be better off as weapons of Gods rather than being buried somewhere in the ground. Dadhichi used his boon of invincibility from Lord Shiva to help Indra, despite Indra’s prior affront, because it was the greater good that was at risk from the menace of Vritasura. Such forms of ultimate sacrifice can be made only by those who place absolutely no value on their own person, considering even their bodies as matter that would eventually be subject to decay, therefore not worthy of being clung to. The relationship between Lord Shiva and Rishi Dadhichi tests the latter’s resolve to the fullest and he wins moksha with his perseverance and dedication to the divine will.
Oh divine Kundalini so sublime,
Unleash thy magic in my spine,
Breaking the shackles limited by body-mind,
So I may partake of the ambrosia of the immortal divine,
Bestowing wisdom & stillness beyond space & time
Raising my consciousness to realms refined
To be in the “image of God” we need to know the secrets of the gods.
Reading the scriptures about Shiva, chanting mantras to his names & practicing bodily postures are all progressive steps in the direction known in the texts as Gyan Yog, Bhakti yog & Asanas respectively. However, the fast track method given by Shiva himself & passed down a lineage of “Nath yogis”, as these self realised masters are referred to, is known as Kriya Yoga.
Described in various texts and taught by various adepts, this technique is a sure shot way to speeding up “the evolutionary process” & cutting the bonds of ignorance asunder. While the other techniques mentioned above, are all used by large masses of people & can be used without any assistance, Kriya yoga, can only be commenced after receiving divine grace & initiation from a satguru or a self realised adept , who has the power to awaken the disciple’s Kundalini. How the actual process works to evolve the individual’s consciousness, after initiation, is explained in the following lines.
Kriya Yoga is a type of Pranayama. To begin with then it is important to understand that Pranayama refers to “Prana” (Life force) & “Ayam” meaning control. So it is essentially life force control & not breath control. Prana thus is the universal life force energy expressed in various modes through Prakriti or nature. So plants, animals & humans, all have Prana. It is an “intelligent force” but does not possess “consciousness”. The “conscious unit” is the “soul” & “Prana” is the basis. Prana takes guidance from the soul to activate the body, through the consciousness which expresses itself through the mind. So we say “Jahan Chitta Vahan Prana” or the Prana or life force energy, flows to where the mind is.
Now, the Kriya yoga pranayam enables the disciple to disentangle the soul from the body which is like a cage. The soul is able to fly to expanded states of awareness & experience divine bliss. This is how the individual realises, that he is not a body subject to decay but an immortal soul whose body is like a dress, which is changed in each life. To get to this state of realisation, where one no longer identifies with the body & experiences his “divine indweller” in the stillness within requires a mixture of divine grace or “Kripa” & willful effort of channelizing the prana in the spine to realise god.
The Kriya technique per say, involves the alternating flow of two life currents in the spinal cord or “Sushumna Nadi” channel in it. One of these current called “Prana” as it were, flows from the coccyx to the midpoint between the eyebrows (third-eye). This soothing, upward, cool current focuses the disciple’s attention inward & leads to spiritual growth. The other warm current, called Apana, flows downwards from the third eye to the coccyx, in the spine. It keeps human consciousness engaged in the delusion of maya. This is a “restless” current which involves man in sensory experiences.
So by ceaseless effort, the disciple uses the Kriya technique of moving these dual currents in the Sushumna channel of the spinal cord. This process leads to the gradual awakening of the Kundalini or electro-magnetic energy which is essentially “intensified spiritual prana.” What really happens is that the prana, breath, vital fluid & mind become one as we practise the movement in the spinal cord & they form the “evolutionary Kundalini energy.
This Kundalini energy enables the disciple to experience the out of body state & enables the shift in our awareness from the gross physical body to the subtle spirit of pure consciousness. Such repeated states, as the disciple evolves lead to the experience of “Samadhi” or ecstatic state of expanded consciousness. The disciple & the Kriya then, become one, in a state of holy communion. The breath stops & one experiences infinite bliss & silence. With the energy thus generated in the spine, the burden on the heart is decreased as the blood cleansing functions have lesser work to do. This state enables the disciple to arrest bodily disease & decay & develop a body of light, immortal like that of the gods.
So dear reader, ‘waste not precious pearls of time”, stop identifying with the body, find a realised master, learn the yogic Kriya technique & find your road to Shiva & liberation or Moksha.
Om Namah Shivay!
Described by many a prophet and poet, experienced by few evolved seers and written about variously , this piece dedicates itself to the infinite mysteries of the elusive reality described by those who know him , as the “being about whom naught maybe said” or the “ isness of the zero not zero” .
The undeniable dilemma of the failure of words to describe the stature & presence of this cosmic being is of course the assailing malady for anyone who dares to describe this colossal force, which is the essence in all sentient & non-sentient beings. The endeavor of this essay is to capture in the limited paradigms that human expression allows, to speak of this lofty presence, who is the direct manifestation of Shiva in the spheres of relativity.
Shiva Goraksha Babaji is SHIVA himself, with his “centre everywhere and circumference nowhere”. In his limited aspect he is perceived by different seers as, Gorakhiya, Tryambak Baba, Maha-shiva baba, Korrakhnath & Babaji, the sage of all sages.
In his ultimate form, he is the “ineffable presence”, ever present & omniscient , the ‘silent watcher” who by his sheer presence, facilitates the evolution of human consciousness towards divinity. He represents, the “eternal now”, without beginning or end as he has no birth or death.
A verse from the Skanda Purana describes him aptly, as follows:
“Om Purna Mada, Om Purna Midam, Om Purnasa Purna Mudachyate,
Om Purnasya Purna Madaya, Om Purna Meyva Vashishyate”
The import of this is, “From the complete if the all is taken, the complete still remains the complete”. This really refers to a point at the beginning of time when Shiva Goraksha Babaji, manifested from Shiva, at the beginning of time to complete his divine work. As suggested the verse points to the impossibility of loss from that which is said to be complete in itself, as Shiva is.
Giving up the bliss of god-realisation, Babaji is also described as “the great sacrifice” for he leaves behind a finite portion of his supreme infinite essence to enable humanity’s spiritual progress to divinity. This finite portion of his appears in the “haunts of men” in the form of Avataras & prophets who are channels for his evolutionary mission. To name but a few, he is the source who initiated the likes of Buddha, Hermes, Zarathustra, Rishi Agastya & many others into the occult practises of god-realisation. More recently, he gave the Kriya Yoga teachings to the likes of Lahiri Mahasaya to spread spirituality in a manner absorbable by people of today.
The “lightening holder” as he is referred to by some is an allusion to his being in possession of “the evolutionary lightening” or “Kundalini Shakti”, which surpasses life & death, to give immortality. This infinite power of his Mahavataric form is so immense, that it would cause more damage to the gentle human body & soul if it were to make direct contact with it. So his thunderbolt force has to be channelized by a “step down transformer.”
His compassionate love & blessing is thus disseminated in diminishing progression. Avataras or high renunciates of varying degrees of spiritual capacity , absorb this power of the Mahaavatara, which reduces, as it is transferred down the spiritual hierarchy & use it in their divine mission and work to spread the power to lesser mortals, at a level at which they can capacitate the voltage , based on their own spiritual progression. So for those, heavily trapped in the veil of maya, & unready for higher levels of spiritual alchemy, Babaji’s blessing gets communicated through ordinary men of wisdom by way of “devotional chanting & spiritual story telling”.
It may thus be said of this divine being, that his wisdom & evolutionary energy is ever present & available for everyone to absorb. However, how much an individual partakes of it depends on his own state of spiritual advancement & degree of receptivity & readiness for this cosmic wisdom.
This in a nutshell, is a feeble attempt at describing the infinite Shiva, as it were, possible in the context of the limited mind & words. He is infact; a much subtler all pervading essence, that our idols, worship, rituals & stories, cannot fathom.
Divine Grace & willful effort, of an honest spiritual seeker are however, always rewarded by the compassionate, Babaji, whose mission is to reclaim lost souls of humanity. By constant effort & devotion, these yearning souls ascend to higher realms of self realisation, where they begin to unravel, through personal experience, the deeper mysteries of this “infinitesimal being.”
The stress-ridden lifestyle that drives the American Dream has led many to seek non-Western approaches to attain better health and well-being. Acupuncture, massage therapy and herbal remedies, to a name a few, are increasing in popularity throughout the United States. Of all these, yoga has won the largest and most dedicated following among health and fitness enthusiasts. Where other trends in health and weight-loss result from the latest scientific research, yoga dates back to antiquity, originating in the Hindu tradition.
Yoga arrived in the United States some fifty years ago, but it has only recently found widespread popularity. As it is commonly practiced, the spiritual side of yoga is largely subdued, and most people know little of its origins. We might compare the interest in yoga in our country to the observation of religiously inspired holidays because both may be practiced with a totally secular mindset.
There does not seem to be any consensus on the precise origin of yoga. Yoga-style positions appear in the archaeological record that date as far back as 3000 BC. Some Hindus say that, as the divine science of life, yoga emerged at the dawn of human civilization from the meditation of sages.
The Hindu scholar Patañjali is attributed with formalizing yoga in written doctrine. Although Patañjali’s ideas deviated from his classical Hindu sources, this has not been of great consequence because yoga emphasizes practice over doctrine. And perhaps it is the lack of doctrinal emphasis that allows so many non-Hindus to accept the practice while discarding the foundational beliefs.
While doctrine may not be rigorously studied, without it there is no understanding of the original purpose of yoga. Distinct from the five other systems of classical Hindu philosophy, yoga is known for strict self-control and the potential for supernatural powers in the most advanced yogis.
The goal of yoga is to achieve union with Brahma, the universal spirit and object of knowledge. One must advance through eight stages that free the spirit from the body and all physical reality.
According to Hindu teaching, the final stage can rarely be attained in one lifetime, but usually requires several rebirths before the spirit achieves total liberation from the physical world. The adept yogi advances to the final stages to possess extraordinary mental powers. Though rare, witness accounts have testified to the yogi-sleep, more popularly called suspended animation, where the yogi is unresponsive to sensory stimuli and the limbs remain in a rigidly fixed position.
Of those who practice yoga, the spiritually disinterested will identify with only three or four of the above mentioned stages. When the religious elements are toned down, the abbreviated form that remains is Hatha. Hatha yoga is the most popular style in the West, which includes an extensive set of poses, strict mental focus, and controlled breathing.
Hatha Yoga aims to tune the body and the mind to a state of relaxed equilibrium and increased energy. Health and fitness experts also recommend yoga for cleansing the body of toxins, strengthening concentration, losing weight, toning muscles, and increasing flexibility.
For all its spiritual depth, the simplified practice of Yoga is exceptionally user friendly. Whatever shape you may be in, you can get acquainted with the fundamental positions with only a beginner’s video, a padded surface, and enough room to stretch out. Naturally, the benefits increase with time, but even after the first 10 minute session, beginners experience a sense of calm composure.