Thursday, August 30, 2007

Shadakshara Stotra

Shadakshara Stotra means the Hymn of the Hexa-Syllabic, and is a magnificent hymn glorifying Shiva through the universal Shaivite six-syllable mantra - Aum Namah Shivaya. In this hymn we find the six syllables of Aum Namah Shivaya taken apart, and individually glorified with the utmost beauty. The Hymn of the Hexa-Syllabic comes to us from the celebrated and volumious text, Rudra-Yamala Tantra. The Rudra-Yamala Tantra is part of the Bhairava Agama canon of Shaivism and also part of the Tantric canon of Shaktism. Therefore, it is a Tantra of great importance both to Shaivites and Shaktas. The Rudra-Yamala Tantra that survives today is thought to be a fragment of the original text, yet it contains hundreds of prayers to Shiva and Shakti, including its own version of Thousand names of Shiva (Shiva Sahasranama) and Thousand Names of Bhavani (Bhavani Sahasranama). Nevertheless, of all the prayers/hymns of the Rudra-Yamala, the below hymn and its first stanza are perhaps the best known.

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Hymn of the Hexa-Syllabic
(aum-na-ma-shi-vā-ya)

Unto the aum in union with bindu,
Meditated upon daily by great yogis,
Which leads to fulfillment of desires,
And unto liberation, salutations be. ||1||

To the Supreme Lord venerated by the great sages and heavenly maidens,
Hosts of beings, men and Devas, embodied in the syllable na,
Forever be our salutations. ||2||

To the great Effulgent Being, embodied in the syllable ma, that transcendent Self,
To the Absolver of all sins, the Supreme Object of meditation and worship,
Salutations be, again and again. ||3||

To the all-Auspicious, all-powerful Lord of the Universe, embodied in the syllable shi,
The Bestower of peace and prosperity unto the world, to the One, the Eternal,
May our salutations always be. ||4||

He who holds Shakti to His left, whose mount is the Bull (Nandi),
Unto Him garlanded with the serpent Vāsuki, embodied in the syllable va,
Our salutations again and again. ||5||

To the all-pervading Great Lord, embodied in the syllable ya,
To the Guru of all the Devas, to God with and without form,
Wherever may He be; our salutations. ||6||

Whosoever recites this Hymn of the Hexa-syllabic in the presence of God Shiva,
He will certainly attain the Supreme abode of Shiva,
And enjoy everlasting bliss with Him. ||7||

Aum Namah Shivaya.

For printable version click here (with Sanskrit and translation).

Listen to the Shadakshara Stotra!

Related posts: Panchakshara Stotra & Greatness of the Panchakshara.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Sole Refuge

anyathA sharaNaM nAsti tvameva sharaNaM mama |
tasmAd kAruNyabhAvena rakSha rakSha parameshvara ||


I have no other refuge, Thou art my sole refuge,
Out of sense of compassion, protect me, O Supreme Lord!

~ Traditional Temple Prayer ~

..Aum Namah Shivaya..

Monday, August 27, 2007

Triad Jewels (Ratna Traya)

The concept of Triple or Triad Jewels (Ratna Traya) is met with in three different Indian schools of thought - Buddhism, Jainism and Shaivism. In Buddhism, the Triad Jewels are the three principles in which one takes refuge - Buddha (the Awakened One), Dharma (the teaching) and Sangha (the community). In Jainism, Ratna Traya indicates the three principles to be followed on the path of liberation - right perception, right knowledge and right conduct. In Shaivism (and by extension, Shaktism), Ratna Traya indicates the three principles essential in the bringing forth of the manifest universe - Shiva, Shakti and Bindu.

From the dualistic Shaivite standpoint, Shiva is the efficient cause, Shakti is the instrumental cause and Bindu is the material cause of the universe. The Bindu, literally "point", is treated as a point of singular potentiality in which the entire universe rests after universal dissolution. When a new cycle of creation begins, Shiva acts upon the Bindu through His Shakti causing a stirring or vibration in the Bindu. Eventually these vibrations in the Bindu cause it to unfold into the manifest universe. The successive and orderly unfolding of the Bindu is pervaded and directed by Shiva-Shakti. In this scheme, Shiva, the supreme Transcendent, causes the unfolding of Bindu through His Shakti, and pervades the unfolded material universe wholly. The Bindu, otherwise, is distinct from Shiva and Shakti.

From the non-dualistic Shaivite standpoint, Shiva is the essence of all existence, and His Shakti is the substratum of the manifest universe. In other words, the material universe is the expansion of the consciousness of Shiva in the grossest perceivable form. The Bindu is nothing more than Shiva's pure Being, and represents the expansion of Shiva through His Shakti. In this scheme, Shiva is the Supreme Transcendent, Shakti is first conception of Self (I) within Shiva, and Bindu is the first conception of Being (Am) within Shiva arising through Shakti. The Bindu is not distinct from Shiva-Shakti, but is an expansion or rather a pure, undivided concentration of Shiva's Shakti, which goes on to unfold into the universe. Here, Shiva is not only the Pervader, but also that which is pervaded.

Regardless of philosophical and doctrinal differences between Shaivite dualism and non-dualism on the nature of Bindu, all agree that Shiva, Shakti and Bindu are the three principles critical in the bringing forth of the manifest universe and are thus called the Triad Jewels (or Triad Perfections). The first principle Shiva is more aptly called Parashiva (Paramashiva), the second principle Shakti is more aptly called Parashakti, and the third principle Bindu is more aptly called Parabindu.

Aum Namah Shivaya.

© Agnideva, 2007. All rights reserved.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Shiva is Compassion

Basavadeva (Basavanna), the great reformer of the Vira Shaiva branch of Shaivism, once remarked to his followers: "Shivane Daye" - Shiva is Compassion.

This is a most profound thought indeed that the great Basavadeva has given us. Shiva is not to be qualified with adjectives, but glorified with nouns. And by using nouns to glorify Shiva, we slowly condition ourselves into understanding that Shiva is not just a Person who can be qualified with attributes or features, but rather the personification of very glories with which we extol Him. Shiva is All, and All is Shiva.

Shiva is not compassionate, He is Compassion itself.
Shiva is not merciful, He is Mercy itself.
Shiva is not great, He is Greatness itself.
Shiva is not godly, He is God itself.
Shiva is not good, He is Goodness itself.
Shiva is not a creator, He is Creation itself.
Shiva is not a sustainer, He is Sustenance itself.
Shiva is not a destroyer, He is Destruction itself.
Shiva is not a concealer, He is Concealment itself.
Shiva is not a revealer, He is Revealment itself.
Shiva is not a pervader, He is Pervasion itself.
Shiva is not a supreme being, He is Supremacy itself.
Shiva is not a realized being, He is Realization itself.
Shiva is not a full being, He is Fullness itself.
Shiva is not a eternal being, He is Eternity itself.
Shiva is not an infinite being, He is Infinity itself.
Shiva is not a conscious being, He is Consciousness itself.
Shiva is not a existent being, He is Existence itself.
Shiva is not a blissful being, He is Bliss itself.
Shiva is not a knowledgeable being, He is Knowledge itself.
Shiva is not a transcendent being, He is Transcendence itself.
Shiva is not an immanent being, He is Immanence itself.
Shiva is not a true being, He is Truth itself.
Shiva is not an infinite being, He is Infinity itself.
Shiva is not a being, He is Being itself.
Shiva is not all-knowing, He is All-Knowingness itself.
Shiva is not all-powerful, He is All-Power itself.
Shiva is not omnipresent, He is Omnipresence itself.
Shiva is not a he, He is He-ness itself.
Shiva is not a she, He is She-ness itself.
Shiva is not a neuter, He is Neuter-ness itself.
Shiva is not beautiful, He is Beauty itself.
Shiva is not kind, He is Kindness itself.
Shiva is not easily pleased, He is Pleasure itself.
Shiva is not giving, He is Gift itself.
Shiva is not one, He is Oneness itself.
Shiva is not guru-like, He is Guruhood itself.
Shiva is not fatherly, He is Fatherhood itself.
Shiva is not motherly, He is Motherhood itself.
Shiva is not a Vedic god, He is the Veda itself.
Shiva is not an Agamic god, He is the Agama itself.
Shiva is not praise-worthy, He is Praise itself.

Innumerable - innumerable are the nouns with which we may hymn the Lord; innumerable as His forms and His names.

Shiva has no form, all forms are His.
Shiva has no names, all names are His.
Shiva has no praises, all praises are His.

Aum Namah Shivaya.

© Agnideva, 2007. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Ocean of Bliss








Is it on top of this universe?
Or on top of the universe yet beyond,
Or in the midst of the expanse beyond and beyond,
Or in the midst of fire,
Or in the worship of image,
That your devotees adore with flowers
And a melting heart?
Or is it in directions cardinal,
Or in the rims of the horizon,
Or in the spaces vast,
Or in the sphere of luminous bindu and nada,
Or in the state of Vedanta-Siddhanta,
Or in the innumerable things seen,
Or in the state invisible of the Void,
Or in the tenses three,
Or in the state of creation,
Or in the devotees who have conquered
The sense potencies and sense organs,
Where art Thou seated?
Will Thou, pray tell
The secret to this slave?
Oh! Thou, the Ocean of Bliss
That is Cosmic Light!
The Pervasive God
That is Attributeless Pure!

~ Tayumanavar
The Hymns of Tayumanavar (9.10)

Aum Namah Shivaya.

Jyotirlinga Stotram Video

A great video I found today, definitely worthy of this blog! Enjoy!!



Aum Namah Shivaya.

Related posts: Jyotirlingam and Jyotirlingam Shrines.

Siva-Sankalpa Sukta

शिव सङ्कल्प सूक्त


The Divine Essence that goes far away,
from the waking, and likewise from the sleeping,
and that one far-traveling Light of lights,
On that - the
Auspicious Will of the Divine - may my mind dwell. (1)
That by which wise men, skillful in rituals,
and steady in assemblies, perform their tasks,
that peerless Spirit that lies in all creatures,
On that - the Auspicious Will of the
Divine - may my mind dwell. (2)
That which is deep knowledge, intellect, memory,
that which is the deathless Flame in living beings,
without which nothing whatever is done,
On that - the
Auspicious Will of the Divine - may my mind dwell. (3)
That immortal Essence by which all
the past and present world is comprehended,
by which the ritual spreads with the seven priests,
On that
- the Auspicious Will of the Divine - may my mind dwell. (4)
That in which the Rik, the Sāman, the Yajus are held firm,
like spokes in the nave of a chariot-wheel,
in which all thoughts of living beings lie interwoven,
On that
- the Auspicious Will of the Divine - may my mind dwell. (5)
That which guides men like a good charioteer
who controls fleet-footed horses with the reins,
that which abides in the heart, most swift and active,
On that
- the Auspicious Will of the Divine - may my mind dwell. (6)

Śukla Yajurveda XXXIV.1-6.Translated by: R. L. Kashyap

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Background


The Śiva-Sankalpa Sūkta is a hymn (sūkta) of but six verses that comes to us from the Śukla Yajurveda, but originally found in the Rigveda. It is called the Śiva-Sankalpa Sūkta because each of the verses ends with the phrase tan me manah śivasankalpam astu meaning "on that - the Auspicious Will of the Divine (Śiva-Sankalpa) - may my mind dwell." It is a very gentle yet profound prayer that is said to calm the mind, and upon repeated chanting allows one to see the Divinity within. The profundity of the hallowed verses of this hymn has earned it the honor of being called an Upanishad.
Meaning


From even the briefest of overviews of the above hymn, it is clear that the verses speak of Divine Consciousness, that very consciousness which is immanent in creation, and enlivens all beings within it. It is that universal Divine Consciousness, or Śiva-Consciousness, which is perceived within each one of us as the individual consciousness or Ātman. The Śiva-Sūtra of Sage Vasugupta says: the Ātman is but Consciousness (Śiva-Sūtra I.1). The Śiva-Sankalpa Sūkta echoes the same doctrine - that Consciousness itself is the Ātman or the Self, both within and without.

In the above hymn we find the idea of the Consciousness going "far away" when sleeping and returning when awake (verse 1). This refers to the Consciousness only as applied to the physical body, and not Consciousness in its totality. It is, therefore, a perception only that Consciousness should come and go. Truly, Consciousness is neither transient nor limited, but all-pervasive and vibrates in every molecule of existence. For the realized being, Consciousness is no longer applied to the individual body alone, but to all existence. But, for the sake of the entity who perceives himself as an individual, it is spoken of as the Spirit within all creatures (verse 2).

When Consciousness associates itself with the organs of knowledge and action, it enables us to perform mundane tasks and elaborate rituals, to comprehend the past and present, and go about our daily lives in a skillful manner (verse 2). It is that Consciousness which gives us the ability to breathe, to think, to be mobile, etc. Without it, nothing whatever can be done. It is the “deathless Flame” that illuminates knowledge, memory and the intellect (verse 3). In the Śiva-Sūtra also we find the very same idea: ordinary knowledge consists of associations (Śiva-Sūtra I.2). Associations of what? – the associations of the Consciousness with various sensory faculties; associations of the Consciousness with the various sheaths or kośas.

Within each of us is that Consciousness, which is ordinarily understood as an individual soul or Ātman. It dwells within the center of oneself, within the heart, and enlivens the vital airs, the senses, the mind and the intellect. It is the same Consciousness which allows us both to experience the outer world, as well as open doors to deeper and deeper levels of the inner worlds. In the language of Yoga, this is called the rising of the Kundalinī Śakti (serpentine energy) higher and higher through the seven chakras. Using the Vedic analogy, the hymn alludes to rising of the Kundalinī Śakti in calling it the ritual that spreads with the seven priests (verse 4). The ritual is nothing but Kundalinī yoga, and the seven priests are the seven chakras.

Furthermore, the hymn informs us that the very same Divine Consciousness onto which all thoughts, all experiences, all beings, all things are interwoven together, also holds together the Vedas (verse 5). This particular verse gives us much insight into how the Vedas are to be viewed. The entire Vedic canon is an expression of the experience of the Divine Consciousness of various Seers (Rishis). The Seers of the Vedas were firmly established in that Divine Consciousness and saw the hymns as they are composed. Therefore, the Seers are called Mantra Drshtas (Seers of the Mantras). The Vedic hymns are not a mere expression of worldliness or appreciation of nature, per se, but rather an expression of the universal Divine Consciousness seen manifest in the powers of nature. The Vedic hymns are paeans to Divine immanence. That Śiva was experienced by the Seers, not just as transcendent Absolute, but also as the immanent Śakti within existence, within nature and the forces of nature. All of creation is a reflection within the Divine Consciousness and nothing more.

Internally, the same Consciousness also guides us through all of phenomenal and spiritual life. The body is a veritable chariot with the intellect its charioteer, the senses its horses and its reins the mind (verse 6) [Also see Katha Upanishad I.3.3-4]. All of this is enlivened by Consciousness alone. If we allow the senses to take over, they will certainly let the chariot astray. Rather, those established in that Self-Consciousness allow the charioteer, the higher intellect, to control and guide the senses with the reins of the mind*. Only when the higher intellect is allowed is guide the mind and senses through the Yamas (restraints) and Niyamas (observances) established by the Yoga system can one walk on the path to realization. Only then will the mind dwell fully in the Auspicious Will of the Divine.
On that - the Auspicious Will of the Divine - may my mind dwell!

|| Aum Namah Shivaya ||

[*] Note that this symbolism is most overtly used in the setting of the Bhagavad-Gita.
© Agnideva, 2007. All rights reserved.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Kaivalya Upanishad

कैवल्योपनिषत्

Aum! May He protect us both together;
May He nourish us both together;
May we work conjointly with great energy,
May our study be vigorous and effective;
May we not mutually dispute.
Aum! Let there be peace, peace and perfect peace!

Then Aśvalāyana approached the Lord Parameshti (Brahmā) and said: Teach, O Lord, the knowledge of Brahman, the highest, always cultivated by the good, hidden and by which a wise man drives away instantly all the sins and reaches the Purusha higher than the high.(1)

And to him, the Grandsire (Brahmā) said, "Know (this) by means of faith, devotion and meditation. Not by work, nor by progeny, nor by wealth, but by renunciation, some attained immortality. (2)

Higher than heaven, seated in the cave (b­­­­­uddhi), that shines, (which) the self-controlled attain – the self-controlled, who being of pure minds have well ascertained the Reality, by the knowledge of Vedānta, and through sannyāsa or renunciation. In the sphere of Brahmā, at the time of cosmic dissolution, they all get liberated from the highest (apparent) immortality of the manifested universe. (3)

In a secluded place, sitting in an easy posture, pure, with a neck, head, and body erect, living in the last of the orders of religious life, having controlled all the sense, saluting his own preceptor with reverence, meditating within the lotus of the heart (on Brahman), untainted, pure, clear and griefless. (4-5)

(He is) unthinkable, unmanifest, of endless forms, the good, the peaceful, Immortal, the origin of the worlds, without beginning, middle, and end, the only one, all-pervading, Consciousness, and Bliss, the formless and the wonderful. (6)

Meditating on the highest Lord, allied to Umā, powerful, three-eyed, blue-necked, and tranquil, the holy man reaches Him who is the source of all, the witness of all and is beyond darkness (i.e. avidyā). (7)

He is Brahmā, He is Śiva, He is Indra, He is the Imperishable (Akshara), the Supreme, the Self-luminous, He alone is Vishnu, He is Prāna, He is Time and Fire, He is the Moon. (8)

He alone is all that was, and all that will be, the Eternal; knowing Him, one transcends death; there is no other way to freedom. (9)

Seeing the Atman in all beings, and all beings in the Atman, one attains the highest Brahman – not by any other means. (10)

Making the Atman the (lower) ārani (fire stick), and Aum the upper ārani, by the repeated friction of knowledge, a wise man burns up the bond. (11)

With his self thus deluded by māyā or ignorance, it is he who identifies himself with the body and does all sorts of things. In the waking state it is he (the jīva) who attains satisfaction through the varied objects of enjoyment, such as women, food, drink, etc. (12)

In the dream-state that jīva feels pleasure and pain in a sphere of existence created by his own māyā or ignorance. During the state of profound sleep, when everything is dissolved (into their causal state), he is overpowered by tamas or non-manifestation and comes to exist in his form of Bliss. (13)

Again, through his connection with deeds done in previous births, that very jīva returns to the dream-state, or the waking state. The being who sports in the three cities (viz., the states of wakefulness, dream and profound sleep) – from Him has sprung up all diversity. He is the substratum, the bliss, the indivisible Consciousness, in whom the three cities dissolve themselves. (14)

From This spring up prāna (vital air), mind, all the organs, sky, air, fire, water and the earth that supports all. (15)

That which is the Supreme Brahman, the soul of all, the great support of the universe, subtler than the subtle, and eternal – that is thyself, and thou art That. (16)

"That which manifests the phenomena, such as the states of wakefulness, dream and profound sleep, I am that Brahman" – realizing thus one is liberated from all bonds. (17)

What constitute the enjoyable, the enjoyer, and the enjoyment, in the three abodes – different from them all am I, the Witness, the Pure Consciousness, the Eternal Good (Sadāśiva). (18)

In me alone is everything born, in me does everything rest, and in me is everything dissolved. I am that Brahman, the secondless. (19)

I am minuter than the minute, I am likewise the greatest of all, I am the manifold universe. I am the Ancient One, the Purusha and the Ruler, I am the Effulgent One, and the All-good. (20)

Without arms and legs am I, of unthinkable power; I see without eyes, and I hear without ears. I know all, and am different from all. None can know me. I am always the Intelligence. (21)

I alone am taught in the various Vedas, I am the revealer of the Vedanta or Upanishads, and I am also the Knower of the Vedas. For me there is neither merit nor demerit, I suffer no destruction, I have no birth, nor any self-identity with the body and the organs. (22)

For me there is neither earth, nor water, nor fire, nor air, nor ether. Thus realizing the Paramātman, who lies in the cavity of the heart, who is without parts, and without a second, the Witness of all, beyond both existence and non-existence – one attains the Pure Parāmatman Itself. (23-24)

He who studies the Śatarudrīya, is purified as by the Fires, is purified from the sin of drinking, purified from the sin of killing a brāhmana, from deeds done knowingly or unawares. Through this he has his refuge in Śiva, the Supreme Self. One who belongs to the highest order of life should repeat this always or once (a day). (25)

By means of this, one attains the knowledge that destroys the ocean of samsāra or repeated transmigration. Therefore, knowing thus one attains the fruit of Kaivalya or liberation, verily one attains liberation. (26)

Aum! May He protect us both together;
May He nourish us both together;
May we work conjointly with great energy,
May our study be vigorous and effective;
May we not mutually dispute.
Aum! Let there be peace, peace and perfect peace!

Here ends the Kaivalya Upanishad, included in the Krsna-Yajurveda.

Translated by: Swami Mādhavānanda
Published by: Advaita Āśrama, Kolkātta

नमः शिवाय

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Homage to the Guru

ध्यानमूलं गुरुर्मूर्ति पूजामूलं गुरुर्पदम्।
मन्त्रमूलं गुरुर्वाक्यं मोक्षमूलं गुरुर्कृपा॥
तस्मै श्री गुरवे नमः॥

dhyānamūlaṁ gururmūrti pūjāmūlaṁ gururpadam
mantramūlaṁ gururvākyaṁ mokṣamūlaṁ gururkṛpā
tasmai śrī gurave namaḥ

May the basis my meditation be the Guru's image,
May the basis my worship be the Guru's holy feet.
May the basis of my mantra be the Guru's word,
May the basis of my moksha be the Guru's grace.
To such a Guru, I offer salutations.

Śrīmad Guru-Gītā, Verse 76
Uttara-Kānda, Skanda Purāna

ॐ नमः शिवाय

Triad Bodies

शरीर त्रय

One of the most common theological features of all schools and streams of Sanātana Dharma is the teaching that at we are not the body. The body is only the vehicle for worldly experience, we are the Ātman, the soul-spirit. Non-dualistic streams of both Vedānta and Śaivism teach us that this Ātman is indeed Brahman; the Jīva (embodied Ātman) is but Śiva (personified Brahman) in essence. But, when we say we are not the body, we must understand what one means by body. There is more to the body than meets the eye. All streams of Sanātana Dharma teach that by body, we mean the three bodies – the physical (sthūla), the subtle (sūkshma) and causal (kārana). Alternatively, the three bodies may be described as five sheaths (kośas) that cover the Ātman, and lead it to identify with these sheaths and believe itself to be a limited and individual entity, separate or separable from Brahman.

With this brief background, let us take some time to understand the intricacies and subtleties of the three bodies a little further.

I. The Physical Body (Sthūla Śarīra)

The physical or gross body is the body one sees in the mirror. It is the body that is made up of muscles, bones, blood, etc. It grows, ages, and decays with time. The physical body is known as the sheath of food (annamaya kośa) because it is sustained and maintained by the intake of food.

Classical Hindu literature describes the physical body to be made up of the five gross elements (mahābhūtas) – earth (prthivī), water (āp), fire (tejas), air (vāyu) and space (ākāśa). From a strictly physical interpretation, we may understand this to mean that the physical body (like the physical universe) is composed of solid (earth), liquid (water) and gas (air) – the three states of matter, energy (fire) and space, in which all this is contained.

The physical body is said to be of the quality of tamas (inertia). It is a lump of inert matter, only enlivened by the inner active sheaths, as will be described below. When we are in the waking state (jāgrat-avasthā), our consciousness rests with the physical body.

II. The Subtle Body (Sūkshma Śarīra)

From the above description, we know that the physical body is but a lump of matter made up of the five gross elements. Yet, what keeps it alive, what keeps is functioning? The answer is the subtle body contained within the physical body. The subtle body, as the name implies, is subtler than the physical body and carries out the internal physical and mental functions.

The subtle body is classically explained to be composed of three layers of sheaths – the sheath of vitality (prānamaya kośa), the sheath of the mind (manomaya kośa) and the sheath of the intellect (vijñānamaya kośa).

A. Sheath of Vitality (Prānamaya Kośa)

The first layer of the subtle body is the sheath of vitality. The sheath of vitality consists of five major vital airs (prānas) which are prāna, apāna, vyāna, samāna, and udāna, and the five minor vital airs – nāga, kūrma, krkala, devadatta and dhanañjaya. The 10 major and minor vital airs are responsible for carrying out the functions of the physical body at the subtle level. In scientific terms, the vital airs or energies are responsible for various physiological functions like inhalation, exhalation, hunger, thirst, circulation, distribution, transformation, digestion, absorption, elimination, expulsion, excretion, sleepiness, speech, motion, stillness, control of limbs, etc. The vital airs also regulate the flow through the 72,000 nādīs (blood vessels) of the body, and allow for proper distribution of subtle ingredients (essential nutrients) to all parts of the body. In other words, the vital airs together are primarily responsible for controlling and maintaining the organs of the body. The sheath of vitality, therefore, is said to control the five organs of action (karmendriyas) – vāk (organ of speech), pāni (organ of action, hands), pāda (organ of motion, feet), pāyu (organ of excretion) and upastha (organ of procreation and sex).

In addition to the physiological functions, the prānas also regulate the flow of energy through three psychic currents known as the ida, pingala and sushumna. The three primary psychic currents allow for the flow of consciousness up and down the spinal column which is dotted with the seven primary chakras mūlādhara, svādhishthāna, manipūra, anāhata, viśuddha, ājña and sahasrāra. The psychic currents of the body are invariably connected with prāna, which is regulated by breath. Advanced yogis are able to control and utilize the flow of psychic currents by various means, and thereby raise their consciousness to higher levels along successively higher chakras.

B. Sheath of the Mind (Manomaya Kośa)

The next layer of the subtle body is the sheath of the mind (manomaya kośa). The sheath of the mind is composed of the instinctive mind and intellect (manas chitta and buddhi chitta) – associated with the five sense organs (jñānendriyas) – śrotra (organ of hearing), tvāk (organ of perception), cakshu (organ of vision), rasanā (organ of taste) and ghrnā (organ of smell). It is the lower mind guided by the sense modalities that tells us that we are hungry, thirsty, tired, sleepy, etc. The manomaya kośa is, therefore, the layer of the mind where one feels emotion such as I am angry, sad, happy, etc. In classical Hinduism, it is described that upon quitting the physical body (sheath of food), one also drops the sheath of vitality. Therefore, afterlife experiences are experienced from this inner sheath of the mind, from which impressions (samskāras) are made onto the next layer inward (vijñānamaya kośa). The sheath of the mind is also where memory (smrti) is stored and from where it is recalled.

C. Sheath of Intellect (Vijñānamaya Kośa)

Beyond the sheath of the mind is the sheath of the intellect (vijñānamaya kośa). The sheath of the intellect (or cognition) is the place of higher intellect (vijñāna) and the seat of the individual ego (ahamkāra). It is from this sheath that creativity, higher knowledge, realization, understanding, intuition, cognition, etc. arise. It is also the layer in which one experiences the subjective ego, and attributes everything experienced and performed by the sense and motor organs to the atomic self. All thoughts involving morality, justice, compassion, generosity, as well as selfishness, self-aggrandizement, self-glory, self-control, etc. are all attributed to the sheath of the intellect. This layer is also the area where experiences and accumulated karmas are stored in form of impressions (samskāras) to be experienced in this life and future ones. The vijñānamaya kośa, unlike the more gross sheaths, is not dropped prior to rebirth into a new body.

In Śaivite doctrine, the vijñānamaya kośa is also the region where the perception of the limited, individual soul (purusha, jīva or paśu) lies. This perception of the individual and limited soul arises because of the five coverings (kañcukas) placed on it by the mirific energy known as māyā. Due to māyā, the five coverings known as rāga (desire), vidyā (knowledge), kalā (creativity), niyati (space restraint) and kāla (time) bind the purusha and keep him from realizing his true nature as one with Śiva. The five kañcukas of rāga, vidyā, kalā, niyati and kalā constrain the purusha within world of unfulfilled desires, limited knowledge, limited creative potential, limited spatial movement and limited time movement, respectively. Therefore, the purusha fails to realize his true self, until the veil of māyā is lifted.

D. Summary

To summarize, the subtle body is of the quality of rajas (action), as it is involved in the perception of the external world and internalizing the picture of the external world. The perceived external world of the five gross elements is internalized through the vehicle of the sense organs. What connects the external world of the five gross elements to the internal world is the five subtle elements of perception (tanmātras)
smell (gandha), taste (rasa), shape (rūpa), feeling (sparśa) and sound (śabda), which are external stimuli for the five organs of knowledge. Moreover, the subtle body is also involved in processing the external stimuli and performing reciprocal actions (reacting to external cues) through the five organs of actions, all of which is guided by the mind, emotion, intellect, memory, ego, and intuition.

The subtle body is collectively also called the puryāshtaka (the eightfold city) because it consists of the five major groups of five elements: (i) subtle elements of perceptions, (ii) major vital airs, (iii) minor vital airs, (iv) organs of action, and (v) organs of knowledge; plus the three internal organs (antahkaranas): (vi) mind, (vii) subjective ego and (viii) intellect. The subtle body also goes by many other names such as linga-śarira, linga-deha, etc. Sometimes, one finds the subtle body divided in various other ways such as emotional body, astral body, mental body, supramental body, etc. Regardless of how it is described, the collective subtle body is the active component which enlivens the physical external shell we see in the mirror. Also, unlike the physical body, of which we are conscious only during our waking state, we are aware of the subtle body both in the waking state (jāgrat-avasthā) and dream state (svapna-avasthā), as we take in external stimuli and react to it in both conditions.

III. The Causal Body (Kārana Śarīra)

Beyond and subtler than both the physical and subtle bodies, lies the causal body. The causal body, sometimes referred to as the soul or seed body, is composed of the last sheath known as the sheath of bliss (ānandamaya kośa). Per Śaivism, the sheath of bliss is the soul itself, if it can be called as such, free from the constraints of māyā and all her coverings. It is not a sheath in the sense of the other sheaths, as it is not itself composed of any subjective elements. Rather, the sheath of bliss is an effulgent body, reflecting the light of the Supreme, and experiencing the world first in the context of the sheaths described above, then upon liberation experiencing the bliss of the bodiless state. It is the last state of individual being, likened to a spark that has emerged from the fire, and about to, once again, merge back into that fire.

The sheath of bliss is beyond the cycles of cause and effect that affects the physical and subtle bodies, and also beyond the cycles of actions and reactions. Within it lies the cause only, the cause of existence, the cause of experience. It is the silent experiencer of both the individual subjective state (under māyā), and the individual's universal objective state (upon release from māyā and in lower samādhi states). It is this bliss we experience daily in the deep-sleep state (jāgrat-avasthā), where there is no perception of the external world, no reaction to it, no sense of I or you, but a peaceful state of being, of non-applied objective awareness. Hence, the causal body is said to be of the quality of sattva (essence), as the essence of one's individual being lies in the sheath of bliss.

The causal body (sheath of bliss) is the very soul, should there be such a thing, per non-dualistic philosophies of Śaivism and Vedānta. This sheath is not an eternal entity, and ultimately also needs to be dropped or rather merged into oneness with the Light of Parameśvara (Supreme Lord). The identification with Parameśvara occurs in the state of Turīya, the fourth, which is beyond, yet inherent, within waking, dreaming, and deep-sleep states. Turīya is the non-dual experience or realization in the higher states of samādhi, and sustained Turīya is called Turīyātīta. It is the non-dual consciousness of Ātman, which is nothing but Brahman, nothing but Paramaśiva-Parāśakti. Upon the dropping of the sheath of bliss, there is no Ātman and Brahman, no onenesses or twonesses, no individuality or universality, but only That.

Truly, it is because of Śiva’s Tirodhana Śakti (Power of Concealment), which He has placed upon Himself, that we identify with the three bodies and these worlds of transience. And, truly it is His Anugraha Śakti (Power of Revealment), with which He graces Himself, that we identify with Śiva and the worldlessness of permanence. It is His Śakti, that Tripurāsundarī (Beauty of the Three Cities), that has created the three cities of the physical, subtle and causal bodies in which only He inhabits. It is truly He, that Tripurāntakāri (Destroyer of the Three Cities), that will dissolve the three cities, through His very Śakti, and again realize Himself as the very universal experience which He embodies.

|| नमः शिवाय नमः शिवाय नमः शिवाय ||


© Agnideva, 2007. All rights reserved.


For additional information on the three bodies, the sheaths and kañcukas per non-dualistic Śaivism and Vedānta:

    http://tinyurl.com/3dh3ku
    http://tinyurl.com/36x355
    http://tinyurl.com/2kebmh
    http://tinyurl.com/2m6nej
    http://tinyurl.com/2zwvx3
    http://tinyurl.com/3aoukv
    http://tinyurl.com/2ug8eg
    http://tinyurl.com/32qanm
    http://tinyurl.com/3ddf9y
    http://tinyurl.com/2mw7vo

    http://tinyurl.com/2wtnwx

    Friday, August 17, 2007

    Moon of Shravana

    श्रावण मास
    O Moon of Shrāvana, how auspicious you are!
    Adore the crest of Mah
    ādeva, you do always.
    In this holy month of feasts and fasts,
    Grace me with your calm, O Moon of Shr
    āvana.
    Wait, I do, anxiously for your arrival,
    To pour those nourishing rains onto the earth.
    Take away those pangs and those pains,
    Which bind me ever so, and clear the path,
    That straight path to the Infinite One;
    Your very Bearer, your very Lord.
    Be ever so graceful to all, O Moon of Shr
    āvana!

    || नमः शिवाय ||

    © 2007, Agnideva

    Siva Mahimna Stotra

    शिव महिम्न स्तोत्र
    Hymn of Śiva’s Greatness

    By Sage Pushpadanta

    If the praise of Thee by one who is ignorant of the extent of Thy greatness be unbecoming, then the praises of even Brahmā and others are inadequate for Thee. And if all remain unblamable by praising Thee according to their intellectual powers, then even this attempt on my part to compose a hymn is free from any blemish. ||1||

    Thy greatness is beyond the reach of mind and speech. Who will praise That which even the Vedas describe with trepidation by the method of 'not this, not this'? – How many qualities does That possess? And can be perceived by whom? Yet to the form taken later, whose mind and speech do not turn? ||2||

    O Brahman! Does the praise of even Brihaspati cause any wonderment to Thee who art the Author of the nectar like sweet Vedas? O Destroyer of Tripura, the thought that by praising Thy glories I shall purify my speech has prompted me to undertake this work. ||3||

    O Giver of boons, in refutation of Thy Divinity which is described by the three Vedas, which creates, preserves and destroys the world, and which is divided into three bodies according to the different qualities, some thick headed persons offer arguments, which are pleasing to the ignorant but in reality hateful. ||4||

    To fulfill what desire, having what body with what instruments, support, and materials does that Creator indeed create the three worlds? This kind of vain argument with regard to Thee, whose Divine nature is beyond vociferous, is to the delusion of mankind. ||5||

    O Lord of Gods, can the worlds be without origin though they have parts? Is creation of the worlds possible without a Creator? Who else but God can begin the creation of the worlds? Because they are fools, they raise doubts as regards Thy existence. ||6||

    There are different paths of realization as enjoined by the three Vedas, Sānkhyā, Yoga and Pāśupata doctrine and Vaishnava śāstras . Persons following different paths – straight or crooked according as they consider that this path is best or that one is proper due to the difference in temperaments, reach Thee alone just as rivers enter the ocean. ||7||

    O Giver of boons, a great bull, a wooden club, an axe, a tiger skin, ashes, a human skull and the like - these are Thy sole possessions, though by the mere casting of eyes Thou gave the gods great treasures which they enjoy. Indeed, the mirage of sense – objects cannot delude one whose delight is in the Self. ||8||

    O Destroyer of Pura some say that the whole universe is eternal, while others say that all is transitory. Yet others maintain that all these are eternal and non-eternal – having different characteristics. Bewildered, as it were by them I do not feel ashamed to praise Thee. Indeed this garrulity indicates my audacity. ||9||

    O Girīśa, Brahmā trying above and, Vishnu trying below failed to measure Thee who took the form of a Pillar of Fire. Afterwards when they praised Thee with great devotion and faith, Thou revealed Thyself to them of thy own accord, indicating whether Thy worship can go without bearing result. ||10||

    O Destroyer of Tripura, that the ten-headed Rāvana, after riding the three worlds of any trace of enemies, remained with arms eager for fresh war is due to the fact of his having great devotion to Thee devotion which prompted him to offer his heads as lotuses to Thy feet. ||11||

    When Rāvana extended the valour of his arms whose strength was obtained by worshipping Thee - to Kailāsa, Thy abode, Thou moved the tip of Thy toe, and he did not get a resting place even in the nether world. Verily, when affluent the wicked becomes deluded. ||12||

    O Giver of boons, that Bāna, who had the three worlds at his command, put to shade the wealth of Indra is not to be wondered at - he being the worshipper of Thy feet. What prosperity does not result from bowing down the head to Thee? ||13||

    O Three eyed one, it is not that the dark stain on the throat of Thee who drank poison as an act of favor to gods and demons at their being panicky at the threatened destruction of the universe all on a sudden, has not beautified Thee. Even deformity is admirable in one who is given to freeing the worlds of fear. ||14||

    O Lord, the God of love whose arrows do not fail anywhere in the world of gods, demons and men but are always successful became simply an object of memory by looking upon Thee as an ordinary god. For an insult to the self controlled does not conduce to good. ||15||

    In order to save the world when Thou danced, the earth wondered at the striking of Thy feet, whether it would not come to sudden end; so felt the spatial region along with the planets, oppressed by the movement of Thy iron-cube like arms; and the heaven became then miserable - its side being struck by Thy waving matted hair. Ah, Thy very mightiness is the cause of trouble. ||16||

    The river which pervades the sky and whose foams look all the more beautiful because of stars and planets, seems no more than a drop of water when on Thy head. That again has turned the world into islands surrounded by waters. And by this should be inferred how vast is Thy divine body. ||17||

    When Thou wanted to burn the three cities which were but a piece of straw, the earth was Thy chariot, Brahmā Thy charioteer, the great mountain Meru Thy bow, the sun and the moon the wheels of Thy chariot, Vishnu Thy arrow why this paraphernalia? The Lord is not dependent on others - He was playing with things at his command. ||18||

    O Destroyer of Tripura, Hari rooted out his lotus eye to make deficiency when one flower was missing in his offering of a thousand lotuses to Thy feet; this great devotion transformed into a discus is alert in protecting the three worlds. ||19||

    The sacrifice being destroyed Thou ever remainest the connecting link between the sacrificers and the fruit of the sacrifice. When does the destroyed sacrifice bear fruit, if not accompanied by the worship of the Lord? Therefore knowing Thee to be the giver of fruits and putting faith in the Vedas, people become resolute about the performance of sacrifical rites. ||20||

    Thou Giver of refuge, even the sacrifice where Daksha, the Lord of creation expert in sacrifices was the sacrificer, Rishis were priests, gods were supervisors, was destroyed by Thee though Thou art bent upon giving fruits of the sacrifices. Surely the sacrifices cause injury to the sacrificers in the absence of devotion. ||21||

    O Lord, the fury of Thee who became a hunter with a bow in hand has not as yet left Brahmā though, keenly pierced by Thy arrow and terror stricken, he has fled to the sky. ||22||

    O Destroyer of Tripura, O Giver of boons even on seeing in front the god of love, bow in hand burnt like a straw in a trice by Thee, if Pārvatī proud of Her beauty thinks that Thou art under Her fascination, because She was allowed to occupy half of Thy body on account of austerities, ah, surely the young women are under delusion. ||23||

    O Destroyer of the God of love, O Giver of boons, Thy play is in cremation grounds, Thy companions are the ghosts, Thou besmearest Thy body with the ashes of burnt bodies and human skulls are Thy garlands all Thy conduct indeed is thus full of evil. But Thou conduces to the great good of those who remember Thee. ||24||

    Thou art indeed that unspeakable truth which the Yogis realize through meditation on the Self, on controlling the breath according to the scriptural directions, and realize which they shed tears of thrilling joy and swimming as it were in a pool of nectar, enjoy inner bliss. ||25||

    The wise hold this limiting opinion about Thee - Thou art the Sun, Thou art the Moon, Thou art the Fire, Thou art the Air, Thou art the Water, Thou art the space, thou art the Earth and Thou art the Self. But we do not know that thing which Thou art not. ||26||

    O Giver of refuge, with the three letters A, U, M indicating the three Vedas, the three states, the three worlds and the three Gods, the word OM mentions Thee separately. United by the subtle sound the word OM collectively mentions Thee - Thy Absolute Transcendent State. ||27||

    O Lord, Bhava, Śarva , Rudra, Paśupati, Ugra, Mahādeva, Bhīma, and Īśāna – these eight names are mentioned even in the Vedas. To Thee who art beloved and effulgent I bow down. ||28||

    O Lover of solitude, my salutations to Thee who are very near as also very far, far away. O Destroyer of the god of love my salutations to Thee who art the minutest as also the largest. O Three eyed One, my salutations to Thee who art the oldest as also the youngest. This is my salutations to thee who art all as also transcending all. ||29||

    Salutations to Brahmā in whom Rajas preponderates for the creation of the universe, salutation to Rudra in whom Tamas preponderates for the destruction of the same. Salutation to Vishnu in whom Sattva preponderates for giving happiness to the people, Salutation to Śiva who is effulgent and beyond the three attributes. ||30||

    O Giver of boons, why is my ill-developed mind subject to misery and where is Thy Divinity - eternal and possessing infinite virtues? Though terror stricken because of this, I am forced by my devotion to offer this hymn at Thy feet. ||31||

    O Lord if the blue mountain be the ink, the ocean the ink-pot, the branch of the heavenly tree be pen, the earth the writing leaf, and by taking these if the Goddess of Learning writes for eternity, even then the limit of Thy virtues will not be reached. ||32||

    The best of the Gandharvas, Pushpadanta by name, composed in great devotion this beautiful hymn of the Lord, who is worshipped by demons, gods and the best of sages, whose praises have been sung who has got the moon on His forehead and who is attributeless. ||33||

    The person who with purified heart and in great devotion always reads this beautiful hymn to Śiva becomes like Śiva after death in the abode of Śiva, and while in this world gets much wealth, long life, many children as also fame. ||34||

    There is no God better than Śiva, there is no hymn better than the Hymn on The Greatness of Śiva, there is no sacred word better than the name of Śiva, there is nothing better to be known than the real nature of spiritual teacher. ||35||

    Getting initiation into the spiritual life, charity, austerity, pilgrimage, knowledge of the scriptures the performance of sacrificial rites - these do not give one-sixteenth part of the merit that is got by reciting the Hymn on the Greatness Of Śiva. ||36||

    The Lord of Gandharvas, Pushpadanta by name is the servant of the great God who has the crescent moon on His forehead. Fallen from his glory due to the anger of the Lord, he composed this very beautiful Hymn on the Greatness Of Śiva to regain His favor. ||37||

    After worshipping Śiva, who is adored by Gods and who grants heaven and liberation, if one with single minded devotion and folded palms reads the unfailing hymn composed by Pushpadanta, one goes to Śiva, being worshipped by Kinnaras. ||38||

    This unparalleled, sacred hymn composed by Pushpadanta and describing the glory of God is all very fascinating from start to finish. ||39||

    This hymnal worship is offered to the feet of Śiva. May the ever - propitious Lord of Gods be pleased with me at this. ||40||

    O Lord, I do not know the true nature of Thy being - of what kind Thou art. Of whatever nature Thou mayest be, O Great God to That my salutation again and again. ||41||

    The person who reads this hymn once, twice or thrice is glorified in the abode of Śiva, being freed from all sins. ||42||

    If a person learns by heart, reads or keeps in the home this hymn, which came out of the lips of Pushpadanta and which destroys sins and is dear to Śiva, Śiva the Lord of creation becomes very pleased. ||43||

    Here ends the Hymn on the Greatness of Śiva composed by Pushpadanta.

    Translation extracted from: International Gita Society.

    || नमः शिवाय ||

    Thursday, August 16, 2007

    Srimad Siva-Gita

    Chapter VII – Vision of the Cosmic Form

    Rāma said:

    What was asked by me, O all-pervasive Lord, that stands as such. Here, an answer was not received from You by me at all, O great Lord! 1

    Your body, O Lord – being of limited measure – how is it the origination of all beings, their maintenance and dissolution? 2

    How are the Deities bound to their respective duties stationed in You? How is it that all of them are one with You? How is it that the fourteen worlds (are one with You)? 3

    O Lord! Even after hearing it from You, there is a great doubt in me. You must deign to dispel the doubt in my mind which suffers from incomprehension. 4

    The Lord said:

    Though the seed of the banyan tree is very tiny, the huge banyan tree always existed in it. Otherwise, how can that tree come out of that seed? 5

    Similarly, O Rāma, the origination and dissolution of the beings take place in My body. Even a large mass of salt easily dissolves in water and is no more visible, but when (that water is) boiled that salt appears as before. 6

    Just as light emanates every dawn from the solar sphere, similarly all the universe originates from Me, exists and then merges in Me. Everything is in Me. O Rāma of noble resolves! Know it thus. 7

    Rāma said:

    O great Lord! Just as for a person confused regarding directions, the confusion is not removed even when correctly informed, similar is my delusion. What shall I do? 8

    The Lord said:

    O Rāma! I will show you how all this, the moving and the unmoving beings of the world subsist in Me. But you will not be able to see this. O son of Daśaratha, I will endow you with divine vision. Through that, shedding all fears, behold the expanse of everlasting luminosity of Mine. 9-10

    My majesty cannot be perceived through physical eyes either by human beings or by celestial beings without My grace. 11

    Suta said:

    Having said thus, the Lord blessed him (Rāma) with divine vision. Then he (Rāma) saw the form of the Lord resembling subterranean fire. 12

    Seeing that (form) luminous like millions of lightening flashes and striking intense terror even among the brave, Rāma in sheer fright, collapsed on his knees to the ground. Rāma, the dauntless hero, fell prostrate on the ground and again and again praising (the Lord) then rising, looked as far as he could. Rāma saw the form of the Lord, the Destroyer of Tripura, with sidereal universes inside it looking like she-sparrows, in constellations of luminous blaze. 13-15

    He saw (within the form of the Lord) the mountains like Meru, Mandara and Vindhyā, the seven seas, the sun and the moon, the Gods and the five elements. 16

    The son of Daśaratha beheld the forests, the holy mountains, the fourteen worlds and the entire cosmic expanse. He saw the battles between the Devas and the Asuras; those born and yet to be born; the ten incarnations of Viṣṇu and the His sports in those incarnations. 17

    O dvijas, He saw the defeat of the Devas, the burning of Tripura and the extinction of all that is born and yet to be born. Beholding all this, Rāma filled with fear, prostrated again and again. (At this point) true wisdom dawned on Raghunandana (Rāma), and he extolled Śankara with meaningful hymns that contain the very essence of the Upanishads18-21

    Rāma said:

    O Lord! The Destroyer of distress of those who take refuge in You! Be gracious! Be gracious! O Lord of the universe! O, Thou worshipped by the Universe! Be gracious! Thou the Bearer of the Ganges, with moon adorning Your crest! Protect me, helpless as I am, from the fear of births and deaths. 22

    O Lord! This world, indeed, is born only from You, in You alone the created beings live always, O Śambhu! Into You alone they undergo merger, just like trees and creepers into the earth. 23

    O Wielder of the trident! Brahmā, Indra and Rudra, the Maruts, the Gandharvas, the Yakṣas, Asuras, the community of Siddhas, rivers like the Ganges, the oceans, all of them live in the midst of Your person. O Moon-crested One! Everything is illusorily projected by Your māyā. In You alone, the universe attains perceptibility. All this is perceived by the common people mistakenly (as real), just as silver is seen in a seashell or a rope is mistaken for a snake. 24-25

    Filling the entire universe with Your splendour, manifesting things by Your own resplendence, O God of Gods, without Your light, this universe cannot be perceived even for a moment. 26

    Great things do not rest on flimsy support. One single atom cannot support the Vindhyā mountains. This universe rests on Your person through Your māyā alone. I am convinced now about this. 27

    Just as a fear-causing snake appearing in the rope has not really come into being, nor exists, nor undergoes destruction, similarly is the universe too taking shape in You, through that sheer māyā of Yours, O Nilakaṇṭha. 28

    When it is enquired as to Your body assuming the nature of being, the very basis for the world of manifestation, that itself is seen to be certainly due to my ignorance. Thou art wholly the nature of Consciousness and Bliss. 29

    O Destroyer of Tripura, Thou alone, being praised, bestow upon the enjoyers the fruits of the eminently meritorious acts, performance of Vedic sacrifices and charitable acts. But even this statement is not fully true because there is nothing different from You at all. 30

    The Sages declare those as deluded by ignorance who mistakenly think that Śiva, Lord of the Himālayas, is pleased by external acts of worship and services. How can there be any desire for pleasure for one who is formless? 31

    O Supreme Lord! Even the sovereignty of all the three worlds, You bestow as a reward on those people who offer You a leaf or a little water. I deem it all as the work of ignorance. 32

    You pervade all the quarters and the intermediate directions. Thou art the universe, secondless, the infinite and the eternal. Even when this universe become extinct, there is no loss to You, just as there is no detriment to space (within a pot), when the pot is broken. 33

    Just as the one, single Sun in the sky gets its many reflections in various vessels of water, so Thou, O Lord, art (variously) reflected in different minds. 34

    There is nothing to be done by You even when the world is created, protected and dissolved. Even then, You bestow heaven etc. on the souls beginninglessly embodied according to their mortal fruits. It all happens as in a dream. 35

    O Śambhu! For the two inert bodies, the subtle (sūkṣma) and the gross (sthūla) there could be no consciousness without the Self. Therefore, the scriptures, O enemy of Tripura, speak of pleasure and pain experienced through Your reflection in them. 36

    Prostrations to Thee, O Swan in the ocean of Existence and Consciousness; prostrations to Thee, O Blue-Throated One, the very form of Time; prostrations to Thee, the Destroyer of all sins; prostrations to Thee, the one (witness) experiencer of the functions of the mind, which after all is illusory. 37

    Suta said:

    Prostrating thus before the Lord of the universe, standing with folded hands before Him, the over-awed Rāma praised the supreme Lord in so many words. 38

    Rāma said:

    O Self of the universe! Withdraw this cosmic form of Yours. By Thy grace, O Śambhu, the ocean of the world (of existence) has been seen (by me). 39

    The Lord said:

    O Rāma, the mighty-armed! There is nothing other than I.

    Suta said:

    Saying thus, the Lord withdrew the Gods and the other (forms) into His own form. 40

    Closing his eyes in sheer delight, Rāma again opened his eyes and saw the Lord standing over the tiger-skin on the crest of the (Himālaya) mountain. Rāma saw Lord Nilakaṇṭha with three eyes and five faces, donning the tiger skin, His person adorned with sacred ash, wearing the serpents as His bracelets and sacred thread, wearing matted locks, blazing like lightening. (He saw) the One, the Lord of the universe, with moon on His crest, the supremely adorable, assuring freedom from fear, with four arms, holding a battle-axe, with a deer in one hand. 41-44

    Then prostrating, Rāma, at the Lord’s command, sat in front of Him. Then, the God of Gods told Rāma, “Whatever you want to ask, O Rāma, you can ask of Me. There is no preceptor for you other than I.” 45

    Thus ends the seventh chapter called the Vision of the Cosmic Form in the form of a dialogue between Śiva and Rāma in the Śiva-Gītā an upaniṣad delivering Brahma-vidyā, and a yoga śāstra occurring in the Padma Purāṇa.

    Source: Śiva-Gītā. Trans. P.K. Sundaram. Chennai: The Centernarian Trust, 1997.

    || नमः शिवाय ||

    Also see: Siva-Gita Intro and Chapter VI.

    Wednesday, August 15, 2007

    Unfoldment unto the Siva-Neri

    The stream of thought that flowed through ancient minds,
    Continues to flow through my mind presently.
    O Ganeśa, O Lord of widsom infinite,
    Unto Your feet I offer all that I know and have learned;
    No matter how much I resist or repress, my Lord,
    The flood gates have opened now - there is no stopping it.
    The symphony of creation resonates with His vibration,
    That primal spanda, which moves every atom
    And quark into and out of existence.
    O Lord of consciousness, this journey of intellectual pursuits
    Does one no good at all!
    Of Brāhmanism, of Śaivism, there is no logical solution
    To any of its quandries.
    O Śiva, there be no solutions but if You were me
    Pursuing myself in endless cycles of births and deaths;
    Seemingly suffering, seemingly longing to know myself.
    That Linga, that blazing Pillar of Fire burns,
    Bright in every eye and vision.
    O Sadāśiva, O Lord of Immortality, be gracious;
    Be ever so gracious to this creation Thine.
    Stuck are we, attempting to know Thee;
    Through monism, through dualism,
    Through logic and through atomism.
    In the infinite space of consciousness Thou residest, Lord mine,
    The very space that has given birth to all elements existent.
    Of Vedas, of Āgamas, who knows You really,
    But the one who experiences Your bliss in the mundaneness,
    Of life's intracacies, joys and sorrows.
    The Sage is not one, O Sadāśiva, who has worked hard to find You.
    The Sage is one to whom Your Arul has reached.

    || Sadāśiv'om ||

    © 2007, Agnideva


    Tuesday, August 14, 2007

    Srimad Siva-Gita

    Chapter VI – Glory of God

    Rāma said:

    O Lord! (Having heard You declare that You are the Creator of the world) a great wonder wells forth in me. You are the Lord with the moon on Your crest, with three eyes and as radiant as pure crystal. ||1||

    You have a form with limited stature bearing masculine appearance, accompanied by Mother Pārvatī and sport here itself with Your entourage of attendants. ||2||

    How is it that You (create, protect and dissolve) the world made of five elements and consisting of the animate and inanimate? Tell me, O Lord, the beloved of Pārvatī, should You have concern for me. ||3||

    The Lord said:

    Listen, Rāma, the high-souled one and of noble observances! I will tell you that which is difficult to comprehend even for the Gods, (and which can be understood) only by continence and by effort, and through which you will with ease cross to the other shore of the sea of births and deaths. ||4||

    The five elements, the fourteen worlds, the oceans, the mountains, the demons, and the sages; those that are seen as unmoving, like trees, and those that move (creatures), the Gandharvas, the Pramathas, the Nāgas, all these are My glorious manifestations. ||5-6||

    In ancient days, the Gods like Brahmā, desirous to see My personal form, churned (the ocean) as a team, (using) the Mount Mandara, the dearest to Me. ||7||

    The Gods, standing in front of Me, praised Me with folded palms. On seeing Me thus, the Gods were deluded by Me, and the intelligence of Brahmā and the other celestial beings was obscured. ||8||

    Remaining ignorant, they repeatedly asked Me: “Who are You?” Then I told the Gods: “I am that primordial Being. O Gods! I was the first of all! I am so even at the present, and I will be so in the future too. There is nothing other than I in this world. ||9-10||

    O Leaders of Gods! There is nothing whatever other than Myself, either permanent or impermanent. Faultless, I am the Lord of the Vedas and of Brahmā. ||11||

    O Leaders of Gods! I extend unto the south, unto the north, unto the east, and the west, above and below. I am the terminal and the intermediate directions. ||12||

    I am the Sāvitrī and the Gāyatrī, I am woman, man, and neuter; the meters of Triṣṭup, Jagatī, Anuṣṭup, Paṅkti and the three Vedas. ||13||

    I am the truth among all (the phenomena), the tranquil, the three household fires, scriptural study and ritual, the Preceptor, the speech, the secret, the heaven and the Lord of the world. ||14||

    I am the foremost, the pre-eminent among all the Gods, greatest of knowers of truth, am the Lord of the waters, am the noblest, the supreme One with six attributes, the Ruler (Īśa), the Light, and the first cause of the all. ||15||

    I am the Rg Veda, the Yajur Veda, the Sāma Veda, the Atharvaṇa, full of sacred mantras, and similarly the distinguished Angiras all originate from Me. ||16||

    I am the Itihāsas, the Purāṇas, I am the kalpa (rituals), and the performer of the rituals. I am the Narasamsi (hymn of Rudra); I am the Gātha (hymn praising Vedic ritual). I am meditation and the secret wisdom. ||17||

    I am the Vedic verses, the aphorisms (Sūtras), the sub-commentaries; I am the commentaries. Similarly, I am the sciences, the Vedic sacrifices, the oblation and the substances offered. ||18||

    I am the giver as well as the gift; I am this world and the world hereafter; I am the imperishable and the perishable; I am control of senses and of the mind; I am the indweller of the senses. ||19||

    I am the hidden secret in all the Vedas; I am the forest and I am the unborn. I am the nourisher and the pure; I am the middle and anything beyond it. I am the exterior as well as the interior; I am the front and the imperishable. ||20||

    And I am light as well as darkness. I am the subtle elements and the senses. I am the intellect and the ego. Verily, I alone am all the objects of experience. ||21||

    I am Brahmā, Viṣṇu and Maheśa. I am Umā, Skanda, and Vināyaka. I am Indra, Agni, and Yama. I am Nirṛiti, Varuṇa and Vāyu. ||22||

    I am Kubera and Iśāna, the worlds of Bhu, Bhuva, Svaha, Maha, Jana, Tapa and Satya. And I am the earth and I am the waters, the fire and air. ||23||

    I am space; I am the sun, the moon and the stars. The planets, too, am I. I am the vital breath (prāṇa) and time, similarly death and immortality. I am the physical matter too. ||24||

    I am the past and the future. I am the universe in its entirety. I am the sum and substance of everything. For those who silently chant, I am the Praṇava (OM) at the beginning. I am the vyahāritis: bhu, bhuva, svaha in the middle; and then the Gāyatri at the end. I am of the form of the extended universe. ||25||

    I am the eaten and the drunk. I am, too the done and the undone. I am the superior and the inferior. I am the Sun and the Refuge of all. ||26||

    I am the good of the world; I am the Divine imperishable and the subtle. I am the very self of Prajāpati (Brahmā). I am the sacred, the benign, the ungraspable and the first. ||27||

    I alone am the withdrawer. I am the container of the luminous fire of deluge. I am established in the hearts of all as Divinity and vital power. ||28||

    I am the very Praṇava (Omkāra) consiting of three morae (a, u, m) whose head is the north, feet the south and the middle is all that is in between. ||29||

    I am truly the Praṇava (Omkāra), one, eternal and ancient because I lead (pious souls) upwards (to heaven) and send them down (when their merit is exhausted). ||30||

    I am called Praṇava because in the act of sacrifice I am Brahmā (directing the sacrifice) make (the Rtviks) render obeisance to the brāhmaṇas (or Rg, Yajus and Sāma Vedas). ||31||

    Just as ghee pervades a piece of meat and makes the body (of the eater) grow, I (pervade) similarly all the worlds; therefore, the Pervader of all am I. ||32||

    Because Brahmā and Viṣṇu, and other Deities did not see the beginning or end to My form (Jyotirliṅga), I am called the Infinite. ||33||

    Since I save My devotee from the ocean of dread of being born in a womb, old age, death and the cycle of births and deaths, I am called the Savior. ||34||

    I dwell as the soul in the four kinds of bodies (born of womb, of egg, of sweat and of the earth). Taking a subtle form I live in the heart. Hence, I am called subtle. ||35||

    I illuminate the devotees immersed in the primeval darkness (of ignorance) with my incomparable light, like a flash of lightening. Therefore, I am known as lightening. ||36||

    Since I alone create and dissolve the worlds, make (the souls) go from one world to another and bestow grace, I am the only supreme Lord. ||37||

    Since there is no second to that transcendent Brahman, which withdraws all the beings into itself, I (that Brahman) alone exist as Rudra. ||38||

    Since I rule all the worlds with My wondrous powers, I am the Iśāna (Ruler) of this world, the Lord and the witnessing eye. ||39||

    (The scriptures extol Me) as Iśāna, as Indra, as Brahmā and the Lord of all at all times, and the Lord of disciplines and knowledge. Hence, I am called Iśāna. ||40||

    I behold all beings; I teach the knowledge of the Self and the path (to that knowledge). I pervade everything. Therefore, I am called Bhagavān. ||41||

    I perpetually create, protect and dissolve all the worlds and enliven them all. And hence I am the great Lord. ||42||

    He, that great Lord, glories by the stupendous powers and the yoga of self-knowledge. He creates and protects all that exists. I am that (Lord). ||43||

    This Lord am I, present everywhere. I was prior to everything else. It is I who is in the womb; it is I who is born and that which is to be born. I have faces in every direction. I am the indwelling spirit in beings. ||44||

    I have eyes everywhere; I have faces in all directions; My arms are everywhere; My feet everywhere. With my arms and feet I command the production, as one secondless Lord, of the earth and the heaven. ||45||

    Those wise men who directly see Me as abiding in their own self, in the center of their heart, of the size of a tip of the hair; as of the form of the universe; as the source of the Vedas, and to be worshipped always, for them alone there is peace eternal, and not others. ||46||

    I alone stand as the basis of the world of māyā. All the fivefold elements are fully pervaded by Me. One who enquires in this way about Me, the Lord, the Supreme Person, and the Governor (of the universe) attains peerless peace. ||47||

    The marks of mind implicit in the vital airs are said to be hunger, thirst and restlessness. Those who cut asunder the thirst which is responsible for all the activities and fixing the mind in Me through reason, and meditate on Me, get the peace eternal and not others. ||48||

    Knowing Me as Brahman, the bliss, from where speech along with the mind recoil unable to reach it, one does not fear anything whatsoever. ||49||

    Hearing my words on the supreme knowledge as a means to release, chanting My names, giving themselves to meditating on me, the Gods – all of them – at the end of their lives attained union with Me in days of yore. From such a knowledge all the things are seen everywhere by them as manifestations of My glory. ||50-51||

    From Me alone everything is born. In Me, everything is established. In me, everything is resolved. I am that Brahman which is secondless. ||52||

    I alone am the subtler than the subtlest; similarly I am the greatest. I am the world and am pure (unsullied by creation). I am the most ancient. I am the complete being. I am the sovereign. I am the golden One and of the very form of auspiciousness (Śivam). ||53||

    I (grasp) without hands and (walk without) feet; I am that inestimable power; I see without eyes; I hear without ears. I am every manifest form and there is no one who knows Me. I am ever the consciousness. ||54||

    I am alone the One who revealed by all the Vedas. I am the author of Vedānta, and I am alone the knower of the Vedas. There is no merit or demerit in Me; there is no destruction for Me; nor are there births, bodies, senses and intellects for Me. ||55||

    The earth, water, fire, air nor space (the five elements) find no place in Me. Thus knowing the nature of the supreme Self indwelling in the cave of the heart, partless and secondless, witness unto all, devoid of cause and effect, one attains the pure supreme Self (that I am). ||56||

    O Rāma of great intelligence! One who knows Me truly, he alone and none else, in all the worlds attains the fruit of liberation.” ||57||

    Thus ends the sixth chapter called the Glory of God in the Śiva-Gītā which is an upaniṣad delivering Brahma-vīdyā and a yoga śāstra occurring as a dialogue between Śiva and Rāma in the Padma Purāṇa.

    Source: Śiva-Gītā. Trans. P.K. Sundaram. Chennai: The Centernarian Trust, 1997

    || ॐ नमः शिवाय ||

    Also see: Siva-Gita Intro and Chapter VII.

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