On the occasion of Mahasivarati, which falls on February 27, the Isha Yoga founder Sadguru Jaggi Vasudev elaborates on the attributes of Siva.
Generally, in most parts of the world, anything that people refer to as divine is always referred to as good. But if you read through the Siva Purana, you cannot identify Siva as a good person or a bad person. He is Sundaramurthy, the most beautiful. At the same time, nobody can be more horrible than Siva! The worst possible descriptions have been given to him. A complex amalgamation of all the qualities of existence has been put into one person because if you can accept this one being, you have crossed life itself.
He is the most beautiful, but he is also the ugliest. He is a great ascetic, and also a family person. He is a dancer, and he is also absolutely still. Gods, demons and all kind of creatures in the world worship him. The so-called civilisation has tried to conveniently eliminate all those un-digestible stories, but this is where the essence of Siva is. There is nothing that is repulsive for him. Siva sat on a dead body to do sadhana as an aghori. Ghora means “terrible.” Aghori means that which is “beyond terrible.” Siva is an aghori – he is beyond the terrible. He is an all-embracing kind, not out of compassion or any other emotion as you might like to think, but simply because he is like life. Life is naturally all-embracing. The problems of whom you can embrace and whom you can’t are only psychological problems, not life problems.
So an aghori is not in a state of love. The spiritual process in this part of the world never taught you about being loving, compassionate, kind or anything like that. These are not even considered spiritual – these are social aspects. Being kind and smiling at people around you is a family and social business. A human being is supposed to have that much sense, so no one thought it was necessary to teach such things. An aghori is an embrace with the existence, not out of love – he’s not so superficial – he is in a life embrace.
The Third Eye
Siva has always been referred to as Triambaka because he has a third eye. The third eye simply means another dimension of perception has opened up, which is inward-looking and looks at life completely differently.
If your perception has to evolve and enhance itself, the most important thing is that your energy has to evolve and enhance itself. The whole process of yoga is to evolve and refine your energies in such a way that your perception is enhanced and the third eye opens. The third eye is the eye of vision. . You see this person or that person, but you are not able to see the Siva in him. You see things the way it is necessary for your survival. This is why we say this world is maya, illusory. So another eye, an eye of deeper penetration, has to be opened up. The third eye means your perception has gone beyond the dualities of life. You are able to see life just the way it is, not just the way that is necessary for your survival.
What we refer to as Siva is nothing but the very embodiment of ultimate perception. It is in this context that the Isha Yoga Center celebrates Mahasivarathri. It is an opportunity and a possibility for all to raise their perception by at least one notch. It is an opportunity to not be embroiled in thoughts, emotions or conclusions. This is what Siva is about and this is what yoga is about.
What makes this day so significant? There are twelve Sivaratris in a year. The 14th day of every month, the day before the no-moon, is called Sivaratri. Of all these, the one that appears in the lunar month of Magha, in February-March, is called Mahasivaratri. On this day, especially in the northern hemisphere, there is a natural upsurge of energies.
So when you say “Siva,” it is not about religion. You don’t have to worship Siva. I don’t. When I say “Siva,” it’s everything. Don’t get lost in your logical mind. This doesn’t belong to that genre. This is a way of going beyond where you are. This is a way of stepping beyond the boundaries that human beings are supposed to stay within.
May this Mahasivaratri not just be a night of wakefulness, but let this also become a night of intense aliveness and awareness for you. I hope all of you ride this upsurge and know the beauty and ecstasy of what it means when we say Siva’.