“I was teaching you about Shiva and Shakti yesterday. Now, I would like to simplify the whole thing for you to understand. This is exclusively for you only and you should not reveal this to anyone else, though the subject is not new.  Only difficulty is that there are too many interpretations for a concept. Some of them may be right and some of them may be wrong.  I will brief you about creation. 

“Visualize like this. In the beginning there was nothing.  It was total darkness.  At that time Shiva created Himself.  You must understand that Shiva was not created by anyone else.  He is His own creation.  That is why, the independent autonomy of Shiva is considered as too powerful.  He alone can have that kind of independent authority.  He can do whatever He likes from His own authority.  There is no body to question Him.  Shiva does not have a form.  He is the source of all energies of the universe. When the aura of a human illuminates think about the power of illumination that Shiva is capable of emanating.  Bioplasmic energy which is also known as ethereal body of any person will have illumination.  As I said, a good yogi can read your aura and from your aura your energy level and from your energy level your thoughts in no time.

“So the first creation in the universe is Shiva.  He is a mass of energy, both good and bad.  His energy is radiating and cannot be seen with naked eyes by anyone.  It is not that their eyes will become blind but they will be charred to death due to the brilliance and heat.  How many people die of sunstroke?  When the sun, a miniscule of His creation, can have an approximate temperature of 5500 degrees Celsius, just imagine the type of heat Shiva can produce.  Sun derives its heat only from Shiva.  For that matter, any luminary in the universe draws light only from Shiva.  Nothing in His creation is supernatural.  He has defined rules, regulations, theories, principles, logics and guidelines for all His acts.  It is not that you are born just like that and die after so many years.  Spirituality talks about all this and hence is totally different from material knowledge. Let us take the example of sun.  It does not shine by directly drawing light from Shiva.  Core hydrogen is converted into helium by nuclear fusion that constantly happens in the sun causing heat and light.  If sun draws its light energy directly from Shiva, it will also be burnt.  Shiva knew His power.  He also knew that He cannot do anything with His original and pure power.  To overcome this obstacle, He carved out a portion from Him and termed it as Shakti.  While carving out a portion, He ensured that it not His own replica. You must understand that carving should not be taken for its literal sense.  Though He carved out His own portion, He continues to remain the same.  This throb in Shiva is called creative pulsation.  He made Shakti as cool and compassionate.  He placed Her in such a way that She forms a sheath around Him, thereby blocking His original effulgence.  His original light and heat get diffused through Shakti.  Two purposes are being served because of this arrangement.  One, His original heat and light get diffused for productive purpose and secondly, He ensured that He cannot be directly approached under any circumstances.  She is also called maya.  When Shiva is addressed as God, She is called as Goddess.  People mistake Her as the consort of Shiva.  No, She is not, as She was carved out of His own cataclysmal effulgence.

“As I told you, Shiva alone has got independent autonomy.  He transferred His independent autonomy by means of a power of attorney to Shakti.  He told Her in unequivocal terms that She has every liberty to create, sustain and dissolve anything She likes and no questions asked.  When Shiva is full of wisdom, obviously, She also has wisdom that is befitting to create, sustain and dissolve.  She decided that She should not be in a hurry to put Her acts together.  She devised a methodology.  She decided to commence creation from subtle to gross.  First, She created sky and from the sky She created air and from air, She created fire and from fire She created water and from water She created the earth.  Sky is the subtlest amongst the elements and earth is the grossest. She termed them as five elements.  She was satisfied with the progress of Her creation and decided to proceed further. 

“She does not take rest even for a second and She cannot.  Shiva does not care about what She does or what She does not.  He always remains in the state of ecstasy.  He continues to enjoy His very presence.  If He gets frustrated for a second, His energy level become depleted and as a result of which, the energy that gets diffused through Shakti also gets depleted leaving room for continued destruction and ultimate annihilation. In order to sustain the universe, the help of Shiva is always needed.  Both Shiva and Shakti are important to us.  If Shiva is not there, we would not have existed and if Shakti is not there, still we would not have existed.  Now, situation arises that for our existence, we need both Shiva and Shakti.  If Shiva is not there, there will be no energy and there will be no Shakti. If Shakti is not there, we cannot bear the heat and light of Shiva. 

“Let us not get into the various theories of evolution.  Let us look into the present trend, particularly humanity.  Liberation is possible only in human birth, as mind alone can liberate a person.  How a human is created?  She ordained a theory for creation saying that two objects are required for creation.  Any single object cannot cause creation.  This is applicable to all the living beings including plants and animals. Seeds of plants are formed only due to fertilisation of pollen grains.  Creation can happen through sexual or asexual means.  Man and animals reproduce through sexual means and plants and certain other beings produce through asexual means. A human is produced through sexual means.  She created men and women.  Men are the carriers of soul that is an essential component of a life.  Soul is Shiva.  Without Shiva universe is not possible.  This is on the macrocosmic field.  In the microcosmic filed, without soul a body is not possible.  Shiva is therefore becomes macrocosm and an individual soul, a replica of Shiva becomes microcosms. 

“What is the difference between Shiva and an individual soul?  Basically nothing, except for the fact they both operate on different platforms. Shiva acts on cosmic platform and a soul acts on earthly platform.  If you keep thousands of pots under the sun, you can notice as many suns as many pots.  This does not mean that suns are many.  The suns that appear in the pots are only the reflection of the same sun.  In the same way, the individual souls are nothing but the reflection of Shiva.  Like Shakti concealing the brilliance of Shiva in macrocosmic platform, in the microcosmic platform, souls are concealed by ignorance.  When Shakti paves way, Shiva can be realized and in the same way, if you remove your ignorance, you can realize your soul. But remember that Shiva cannot be realized in His original grandeur form. Your innate ignorance covering the soul is called maya. Therefore, to realise your soul, first you have to know about Shakti. When you understand Shakti properly, She reveals Shiva to you.  It is only Shakti who can reveal Shiva and Shiva can never be approached directly. 

“There are several souls floating in the cosmos at various levels.  These are subtle bodies of the beings who are dead.  Soul gets embedded in your subtle body along with the impressions of your subconscious mind.  You cannot separate soul, the impressions of your subconscious mind and your karma.  Karmas cannot act on their own; but can act only through your conscious mind.  When karmas are ready to manifest, they move from your subconscious mind to conscious mind.  Your present conscious mind induces your limbs to act.  It is a continuos process.  Spermatozoa are created in millions in male procreative fluids.    Out of the many spermatozoa only one finds its way to the egg of a woman and fertilizes it and the life for that soul begins here.  Individual souls are considered as masculine.  When their karmic period ends, they are attracted by the earth, which is termed as feminine. Without masculine and feminine energies joining together, creation is not possible. 

“During the act of copulation, all the five elements forge together.  Space prevails in the uterus; bodies of men and women are warmed by fire to generate sexual fluids; at this point air enters the uterus; the water content present in the male and female reproductive organs make the act of reproduction easier; and finally, a single sperm is pulled by air inside the uterus and foetus is formed.  Uterus forms the earth for the foetus until the child is delivered.  Thus all the five basic elements interact with each other in causing a creation.  This way is conceived by Shakti.  The foetus grows and delivered as a boy or as a girl.  During its sojourn in the uterus the soul thinks and decides that it should not make any more sins as the soul at that point remembers all its past life.  Once the child is delivered, the ignorance covers the soul making it to forget all its past deeds. 

“With regard to the realisation of the Self is concerned, you have to realize the Soul within you. You are the Soul and the body is just an appendage.  As I said, soul can be realized only by acquiring spiritual knowledge. Spiritual knowledge can be explained in a simple way.  The moment you are born, your soul, the reflection of Shiva, is engulfed by maya, the act of Shakti.  When your soul is concealed by the effect of maya, your mind takes over in the form of ego and intellect. Ego and intellect are the acts of maya that pervades you.  If you want to truly pursue a spiritual life, you have to thrash your ego.  When ego is dead, your mind becomes purified and helps you to realize your soul.  The dissolution of ego leads to disbanding your maya by infusing spiritual knowledge.  The spiritual knowledge that I am referring to cannot be obtained through texts.  You have to acquire this knowledge only through your own experience.  Your own spiritual knowledge alone is capable of removing your maya. When you dissolve your ego, the “I” becomes “That” where That refers to Shiva. When an individual soul realizes the Supreme Shiva, it is called the confluence of Shiva and Shakti.  Now you are identified with Shiva. You continue to exist as Shiva till the last bit of your karma is exhausted.  When you die, your soul merges with Shiva and you are not reborn.  But Shiva could use you occasionally to take birth in the world to propagate spirituality or lead a particular person to liberation.  Only Shiva alone can decide that as you have a part of Shiva.  When you are born as per His instructions, karmas never affect you.  You continue to be a liberated person.

“I may or may not teach this to other inmates of this mutt.  You are now ready to leave this place along with your guru.  You are undergoing a crash programme and you do not have time.  You are destined to meet a deadline, which you will come to know later. You may now proceed to Rishikesh, where you will be trained further.  From Rishikesh, you will travel with your guru to Rudraprayag, your ultimate destination.  If you have any questions, please go ahead.” Baba completed the long discourse.  

I have been nurturing a doubt for long regarding the shape of Shiva Linga. I was wondering why there is no human form for Linga as is the case with all gods and goddesses. 

“What does Linga form of Shiva represent Baba?”

“Linga has two portions; one is the upper linga portion which not only represents Shiva but also Brahma and Vishnu and the lower portion which is called pedestal.  It is generally said that lingam represents male reproductive organ and the lower portion or pedestal is the female reproductive organ.  No, this interpretation is wrong.  Linga form represents the state of liberation, the eternal bliss.  It is the symbolic representation of union of individual soul with the Supreme Soul. The bottom potion represents the individual soul, engulfed by Shakti and the upper portion represents the ever effulgent Shiva.  Due to your practice and prayers, Shakti gives you permission to merge with Shiva.  As I said, She, out of compassion for your hard work, sincerity and dedication and subject to your karmic account gives you liberation to merge with Him.”

Guruji and I got up, bowed before Baba and came out of the room.  It was close to four in the evening. We have missed our lunch.  But I did not feel the hunger.  Guruji never worried about his food if he is busy.  We decided to take a stroll, bathe in Ganges, visit a temple or two, and return.  I was just watching people taking bath, going to temple, chatting, drinking tea and smoking cigarettes.  I was watching every activity that was going on in the area.  We climbed down the river to have our bath.  Ganga water has its own divine fragrance and ability to heal.  After every bath, you become fresh.  I showed guruji the place where I had met the man this morning.  We searched for him and he was not to be found.  We enquired about him in the neighbourhood and nobody seems to know him.  We spent a lot of time in the busy locality.  We thought we should return to the mutt to listen to Baba’s evening lecture.

Baba began to elucidate the difference between Trika and Advaita philosophies

“Shiva, the Supreme Lord, brings about five fold acts - creation, sustenance, absorption, concealment and grace. The last two, concealment and grace are with reference to the essential nature. The first three refer to the physical plane in the form of birth, growth and death. This is the natural cycle that is undergone by all the souls, however with a very few exceptions. The fourth one literally means disappearance or concealment. This is the stage when annihilation takes place by means of deluge. At the time of annihilation, Shiva performs His dreadful cosmic dance witnessed by Shakti. This act of Shiva is also known as laya. This is the state where the entire universe merges with Shiva and the universe as an independent entity no longer exists. At this stage, Shiva and Shakti alone exist. Out of compassion for the beings, they again recreate the universe and this act of Shiva is grace. Shakti casts Her more powerful tool known as maya on the innate souls, thereby causing bondage, attachment, ego, etc. Advaita philosophy says that one should come out of the clutches of maya to realise Shiva, the Ultimate and that one needs to develop enough knowledge about the Brahman, so that one can realise that both the individual self and the Supreme Self are one and the same. Advaita Vedanta attaches significant importance to maya and says that maya should be dispelled. There are three important aspects in spirituality. One is the Brahman, another is soul and the third is cosmos. Dvaita philosophy considers all the three entities as independent, with interconnection between the three. But Advaita School negates dualism. It affirms that everything that exists in this universe is nothing but Brahman, the infinite.

“There is yet another philosophy known as Trika philosophy, declared by Kashmiri saivism. Trika means three fold reality of Shiva, Shakti and nara (individual soul). Though advaita and trika philosophies say that the Ultimate is the Brahman or Shiva, the proclaimed paths are different. In Trika philosophy, the Supreme Shiva transcends everything and abides in transcendental eminence, because He simply wants to remain there. This transcendental eminence is known as Shakti. Practically speaking, there is no difference between Shiva and Shakti. While Shiva is called Supreme or anuttara, His unsurpassable divine energy is His Shakti. She is known as the Grace incarnate. She is present in all conditions as the divine consciousness. The divine “I” consciousness is eternally present and hence Shiva is immanent in all the actions of the universe. Therefore, Shiva becomes the Ultimate Reality. Without Shiva, the universe cannot exist as He alone is Self-illuminating. This Self-illuminating light is prakasha, without which no activity can happen in the universe. This light alone cannot cause activities in the universe. The light can be realised if there are objects as otherwise, the luminance of prakasha becomes unknown. Shiva can know His unsurpassable power only through vimarsha. Therefore, vimarsha (Shakti) becomes the reasoning factor of prakasha, without which, prakasha will remain obscure. In other words, without Shakti, Shiva becomes inert. It is not that Shakti is more potent than Shiva. Factually speaking, Shakti would not have originated as an independent energy, but for the will of Shiva. Shiva has given His power of authority or svatantrya to Shakti, without which She cannot carry out the universal process. Because of this Supreme power or svatantrya, Shakti manifests as ‘This’, whereas, Shiva continues to remain the Supreme “I” consciousness. It is due to the will of Shiva, Shakti creates nara or souls who get bound by Her illusionary power known as maya. One can realise Shiva only in the fourth state of consciousness known as turya. In Trika philosophy, everything originates and dissolves into Shiva and Shiva alone, with whom Shakti always stays united. Shiva has multifarious energy levels out of which four energies are important. They are energies of consciousness, bliss, will and knowledge.

The difference between Advaita philosophy and Trika philosophy  appears to be thin. At the same time, this subtle difference is very significant. For example Bhagavad Gita elaborately discusses the teachings of Advaita philosophy. On the other hand, Śiva sūtrās deal with Trika philosophy. Trika philosophy says that everything originates and dissolves into Shiva and at all the time, Shiva continues to exert His creative energy. Shakti merely represents the power of authority of Shiva and exercises control on nara or the souls. In Advaita philosophy, cause and effect play a dominant role. Advaita states that effect is non-different from cause. However cause is different from effect. This principle is called the non-difference of the effect from the cause. Trika philosophy is explained through the triad of parā the highest, concerned with identity. parā-parā identity in difference and a-parā, difference and sense of difference.” Baba did not discuss much during this session.  

When the session was over, we went to Baba’s room and sought his permission to leave the next day morning.  Baba called me by his side and touched the top of my head.  My God! I thought that my skull had exploded totally.  I saw brilliant lights of different colours.  I heard the sound of Om within me.  I was totally cut for a few seconds from outside world.  You won’t believe, I was able to observe my illuminated form.  I saw me radiating.  It was an experience that cannot be fully described.  He smiled at me and said, “You will come here to meet me again” and blessed for a good journey. 

Next day morning we left Haridwar by bus.  Someone bought tickets for us. 

Haridwar to Rishikesh takes about seventy minutes.  It is a hill road of about 25 KMs. As you travel towards Rishikesh, you will feel the breeze turning chill and carrying with it the sprinkles of Ganges.  You will never know that you have travelled for an hour or so, as the air contains more of oxygen, making the breathing easier.  Rishikesh is the place where the sacred mountain of Himalayas begins.  Rishikesh is colder than Haridwar as the former has higher altitude.  Ganges flows from Rishikesh to Haridwar.  Ganges is in Her purest form at Rishikesh. It has an altitude of about 1200 feet and the average temperature is around 25 to 30 degree Celsius.  Nights are colder and during winter night temperature could plummet to five degrees. Haridwar has an altitude of 960 feet, not a big difference between Haridwar and Rishikesh.

Though I was impressed with the scenic beauty on both sides of the road, my mind was curious to know about the relationship between my guruji and Baba.  My inability to get an answer was bothering me too much.  I thought that I have reached a stage where I cannot wait any longer to know about their relationship.

(to be continued)