Who is Lord Shiva? A lot of stories and legends surround this most prominent figure of Indian spiritual traditions. But, is he a God? Or is he a myth which from the collective imagination of Hindu culture? Or, is there a deeper meaning to Shiva, revealed only to those that seek?
Sadhguru: When we say “Shiva,” there are two fundamental aspects which we refer to. The word “Shiva” means literally, “that which is not.” Nowadays, modern science is telling us that everything comes from nothing and goes back to nothing. The basis of existence and the fundamental quality of the cosmos is vast nothingness. Galaxies are just a small happening — a sprinkling. The rest is all space referred to as Shiva. That is the womb of which everything is born. It is the oblivion into which everything is sucked back. Everything that comes from Shiva also goes back to Shiva.
Lord Shiva is described as a non-being, not as a being.
Shiva is not as light, but as darkness. Humanity has gone about eulogizing light just because of the nature of the visual apparatus which they carry. Otherwise, the only thing which is constant is darkness. Light is a limited happening.
Any source of light — whether a light bulb or the sun — will eventually lose the ability to give out the light. Light is not something which is eternal, and it is always possibly limited because it happens and it ends too.
The Darkness is a much bigger possibility Nothing needs to burn, as it is still – it is eternal. Darkness is everywhere around us. It is the only thing which is all pervading.
But, if we say “divine darkness,” people may think that we are a devil worshipers or something. In fact, in some places the West it is being propagated that Lord Shiva is a demon.
The first Yogi.
When we say “Shiva,” we refer to a certain yogi, the Adiyogi or also known as the first yogi, and also the Adi Guru, the first Guru. It is the basis for what we know as the yogic science today. Yoga does not mean standing on the head or holding the breath. Yoga is the science, the technology to know the essential nature of how this life is created.
One and the same.
So “Shiva” actually refers to both “that which is not” and Adiyogi, as in many ways, they are synonymous. This being that is yogi and that non-being, which is the basis of the existence, are the same. To call someone, a yogi means that that person has experienced the life of himself.
A vessel cannot hold an ocean. This planet can hold an ocean, but it cannot keep the solar system. The solar system can hold a few planets and the sun, but it can actually not hold the rest of the galaxy. If you go progressively like this, you will notice that it is just nothingness which can hold everything. The actual meaning of the word “yoga” is “union.” A yogi is a person that has experienced the union which means, at least for just one moment, that he has been absolute nothingness.
Who Lord Shiva is not!
Unluckily, a lot of people nowadays have been introduced to Shiva only through Indian calendar art. They have also made him a chubby-cheeked, blue-man of color, as the calendar artist has just one face. If we ask for Krishna, he will put a flute in his hand.
In the yogic culture, Shiva is not seen as God. The contribution that he had in the human consciousness is too phenomenal to be ignored. Thousands of years ago, every possible way in which we could approach and transform the human mechanism into the last possibility was explored. The sophistication of it was unbelievable.
The question of whether people were sophisticated at that time is irrelevant, as this did not come from a specific civilization or thought process. This came from an inner realization. It also had nothing to do with what was happening around him. But it was just an outpouring of himself. He also gave a meaning and a possibility to what we could do with every point in the human mechanism. Even today, we cannot change a single thing. We can just spend our lifetimes trying to decipher it.
Source/Inspired: Isha. Image Credit: Shutterstock (licensed by SelfDevelopShop)