Shakti: My Lord! You have taught me 64 tantras several yugas ago. The universe that you have created billions of years ago is undergoing constant changes. Is there anything you would like to teach me, which is more relevant to the present time period, I mean kālapuruṣa ………..

Shakti: Then what is the difference between mind and intellect?

Shiva: Mind is explained as “saṁkalpa-vikalpātmākaṁ manaḥ संकल्प-विकल्पात्माकं मनः” Saṃkalpa means decision and vikalpa means indecision……….

Shakti: Is there any difference between spirituality and devotion?

Shiva: Plenty of differences and these differences are very significant. We are deviating from the subject you wanted to know. However, I will explain the differences in a nutshell……

Shakti: You say everything is my own energy and all such energies function under me. Then why people worship different shapes and forms? Is it not a mistake?

Shiva: It is not a mistake because they have not evolved to understand the truth. You may ask why. Again it is due to your act of causing illusion. You confuse them with the power of your māyā. Typically speaking, māyā is related to law of karma. You rule the entire universe with the law of karma and hence it is known as “Law of the Lord”………

Shakti: You mean to say that I can’t liberate anyone?

Shiva: Of course, you can’t and you know that. You job ends when you remove the veil of māyā. From birth till unveiling of māyā, everything is done by you. I am responsible in energizing you, annihilating the universe and offering liberation to those who are approved by you. As you know, I have never offered liberation to anyone without your approval.

You asked me what happens to the soul after its exit from a dead body. I told you in the beginning that both of us unite to form zygote and similarly both of us exit together at the time of death of a person. Once we exit, we move apart. As long as we stay united, a man lives and once we decide to part from that man’s body, he dies. Every sentient and insentient being has to die at some point of time. When we join together, we take different shapes and forms. I have already told you how we join together. Now I will tell you how we separate at the time of death……..

Shakti: What happens after the soul exited from the body? Many people perform ceremonies to the departed ones.

Shiva: You mean people offering tarpaṇa (water oblations) and performing śrāddha (annual ancestral rites) which is different from antyeṣṭi (last rites or funeral ceremonies)? Please do not ask any questions on this. I can explain antyeṣṭi, but not śrāddha. I do not want to say something that pleases someone. Please do not ask anything related to śrāddha, as this is only a mythical belief. 

Shiva: It is very important that everyone takes care of his parents, wife and children with utmost care, compassion and love. When one fails on this, he takes several births to get rid of this karma. It is better to worship their parents, rather than worshiping us. After death, no elaborate karmas are needed except paying respects to the gross body that is going to be buried or burnt. It is a mark of respect to the body and not to the soul.

Shakti: Can you now tell me what will happen to these two souls?

Shiva: What is mantra? Mantra is explained as (मननात् त्रायते इति मन्त्रः॥) mananāt trāyate iti mantraḥ || This means that a mantra is meant to protect the mind. Manana does not simply mean mind; it also means thinking, reflection, meditation, thought, intelligence and understanding; trāyate (trāyamāṇa) means protection; iti mantraḥ means this is mantra………..

Shiva: There are two om-s in Gāyatri mantra. One is for three vyāhṛti-s and another is for the three pāda-s. Vyāhṛti-s are separate and the three pāda-s of the mantra are separate. Therefore, the correct way to pronounce Gāyatri mantra is this.

ॐ भूर्भुवः स्वः॥ om bhūrbhuvaḥ svaḥ  ||

ॐ तत्सवितुर्वरेण्यं। om tatsaviturvareṇyaṁ |

भर्गो देवस्य धीमही। bhargo devasya dhīmahī |

धियो यो नः प्रचोदयात्॥ dhiyo yo naḥ pracodayāt ||

Shiva: I exit a body through brahmarandhra (an orifice at the top of the skull) and this point is known as athipati marma point (also known as varma point). As you know atipati (अतिपति) means, transcending everything or supreme. Both are apt interpretations. Transcending everything means transcending all types of bodies a man possesses…….

Shakti: I have two quick questions. How do I become one with Prakṛti and what exactly you mean by ‘I move to higher planes’?

Shiva: As you know we become soul or puruṣa and prakṛti. When both of us remain as one, I am known as an individual soul and you are known as prakṛti. As Prakṛti you encompass both antaḥkaraṇa and bāhyakaraṇa (organs of perception and action)………..

Shakti: Then, as a soul, where do you go?

Shiva: Where I go depends upon the weight of the karmic bag I carry. My journey depends upon the gravitational force………..

Shakti: Does every soul go to heaven?

Shiva: No, not every soul. Only few souls reach sūryaloka. In other words, those karmic bags that have only traces of karmic imprints reach sūryaloka and in their next birth they are liberated. But they stay in sūryaloka for a longer time. Sūryaloka is full of purity and light. There are no traces of any darkness or impurity here. But their stay in sūryaloka, do not in any way affect the remnants of the karmic imprints. Karmas have to be experienced and there is no other go.

Shakti: What about other souls?

Shakti: When are these individual souls reborn?

Shiva: From death to rebirth, there is a time gap and the duration of time gap depends upon the quality of the karmic bag. If they are heavy, they are born immediately, as they are not far away from the earth’s sphere. When the time is ripe for its rebirth, you as prakṛti pull that soul down and both of us unite to form yet another body. This also explains how interdependent we are. This is also known as law of nature or law of prakṛti, which is in no way different from the eternal law of karma.

Shakti: What is mahāśūnya?

Shiva: It is Parabrahman, the origin of the universe………

Shakti: Do you mean to say that there is no difference between your macrocosmic and microcosmic forms?

Shiva: Yes, there is no difference at all. How can there be difference and if the difference is there, how can I become omnipresent...................

Shakti: But these two bindus are interpreted differently.

Shiva: Yes, though they are interpreted differently, there is truth in that. My expansion happens like this. Mahābindu is the point of origin of creation………….

Shakti: Can you explain further on ‘well defined and perfected spiritual path’?

Shiva: I will come to that later. First, one should understand what spiritual foundation is. It is not just yoga and meditation………….

Shakti: Many people are asking me to explain how to realize you fast. Many of them feel that they have not reaped the benefits of their sādhana even after many years of performing pūjā and japa. Can you kindly guide them please?

Shiva: I have explained this already. Now I will teach a small exercise on breathing. As I have already said, only through prāṇa, mind can be controlled………………

Shakti: Are you going to conclude your teachings now?

Shiva: Yes, I am now concluding. I have covered every aspect of realization and liberation. There is nothing more I can reveal. It all depends upon one’s capacity to practice. Divine grace does not come that easily. One has to work through his mind………

The entire conversation can be read here à SHIVA IN COVERSATION WITH SHAKTI

Further Readings:

Shiva In Conversation With Shakti - Introduction

Shiva In Conversation With Shakti - Part 1

Shiva Sutras