Do you want to remain a shava or do you want to turn into a Shiva?
Are our bodies as limited as a “shava”- a corpse or can we harness the capabilities of this miraculous tool to reach the ultimate “Shiva”?
In terms of physical capability, the human body cannot compete with that of an animal… any animal. For example, take an insect, let’s say a grasshopper– whatever the length of its body, it can leap almost 50 to 100 times that length. Equivalent to that, if you are five or six feet tall, you would have had to jump 500 to 600 feet high. Olympics is where man’s maximum calibre is on display. Even if you measure them by the standards of your Olympics, you would nowhere be near any of the animals on the planet, including the smallest of them - the termite or the earth worm.
Though as far as physical prowess is concerned, a human being cannot compete with any of them, what is most significant is that, unlike the other animals on earth, we have been endowed with a certain capability to attain something that is beyond – beyond the basic instinct for survival, which is something that is inherent in every being, from the smallest to the biggest!
But to achieve that, to go beyond, we have to make an effort - quiet a big effort -and get out of this instinctive habit of gathering together stuff that we think is necessary for our subsistence. Though man has been specially equipped, it is most unfortunate to see that what most of the human beings have accomplished in their lives is to enhance their standard of living. They haven’t gone much beyond this basic instinct for survival; they haven’t taken much effort to rise above that.
Survival at one time meant just managing one or two wholesome meals a day. But today, survival means a BMW!
When we know that the human body, this human mechanism has materialised into this world with incredible possibilities, we have to admit to it that this is a most unintelligent way of making use of it.
Human spine is referred to as the axis of the universe.
The most important aspect of human existence is the physical body; it’s such a miraculous instrument. The different parts of the body are shaped and calibrated for the different types of activities. According to the yogic science, we refer to the human spine as the merudanda, which means the axis of the universe.
Today, modern science sees the whole existence as a vibration. Or if you go deeper, it can be observed that the same energy is reverberating in so many different forms. The essential reverberation in a human being is generated from the spine. And the subtler this reverberation is, the further it moves. If it is gross, it hangs around and reaches only a limited magnitude. As it gets very subtle, you can throw it all over the place. Once your reverberations spread all over the place, your ability to perceive is also all over the place. Your power of observation turns naturally farfetched.
Right now, what you call “myself”, in terms of your limited existence, is whatever is within the boundaries of your sensation. In short, as of now, whatever is within the boundaries of your experience is ‘you’, whatever is outside your boundaries of experience is ‘someone or something else’. But by refining your reverberations, you can extend the boundaries of your experience limitlessly.
We often speak about Shiva opening his third eye. What does it mean?
It means that his reverberations were so subtle that he could extend the boundaries of his experience boundlessly. When that happens, then the whole existence turns into a part of him. That is so with any other person. And then naturally, he turns into the axis of the universe, the centre of the universe. It is from this assumption that we the spine is referred as merudanda; the axis of the universe, the centre. Or at least, it can be - if you reverberate in a certain way.
It is so unfortunate that people’s entanglement with the body is so deep that it is impossible for them to see their body as an instrument. Their attachment with the body and their identification with it are so deep that they cannot help but continue to see this form as “myself”. When you categorize this body as “me”, there are a whole lot of emotions attached to it, which will dissuade you from using it as an instrument.
Now the choice is yours - Are you going to use it just to gather food and materials for yourself or are you going to use it to perform extraordinary feats or are you going to use it to attain that which is the highest?
If you want to use it as an instrument to reach the highest, the first and foremost requisition is that you have to dis-identify yourself from this body. This body is something that you have gathered – it is just an accumulation of food. How can you call what you have gathered as “myself?” Even otherwise, what you gather can be yours only for a certain period of time. It cannot be you.
Cleansing of the five elements
If you want to access dimensions that are not yet in your experience, dimensions that are considered mystical, the first thing that you need to do is to start cleansing the five elements within you. These are known as pancha bhutas or maha tatwas and according to the in the yogic science, the body is referred to as the ‘doll made out of the five elements’. As the five elements get purer and purer, you begin to understand the difference between what is physical, what is psychological and what is existential.
The body, the very earth, the universe, and the cosmos… all are just a play of these five elements. The body’s composition is such that most of it is water, 72%, 12% is earth, 6% air, 4 % fire and the rest is akash or etheric space. Everything about you is decided by the way in which these five elements function within you.
The whole process of Bhutha Shuddhi in yoga is just towards this – to free you from the hold of the five elements. Bhuta means element, bhuta shuddhi means to become free from the taint of elements or to cleanse the elements. It means to become free from the physical bonds. Most human beings are completely in the grip of their physiological and psychological processes, both accumulations, accumulated through their food and in the form of impressions. Between these two processes, ‘who you are existentially’ - the nature of your being is completely lost.
If you create the necessary distance between you and the five elements effectively, then you have a clear space between you and the body. Once you create that space - that space between you and the body, you will have the great enjoyment of knowing what kind of a machine has been handed over to you. It has all the ingredients of bondage and freedom within it.
You can make yourself the ‘divine’ – you can move your energy system in such a way that the body turns into a deity, or you can remain like a corpse. That is why we say that you can either make this body into a shava or a Shiva. Shava means a corpse, Shiva means the Ultimate. It depends on how you handle it. It can be guided to function in ways you have never imagined a human being could function. I am not talking about any mysticism.
It is like someone taking a long stroke with a brush dipped in paint; first it comes out thick, it gets thinner and thinner until it fades into a nothing. In the process of creation, you as a human being can be somewhat equalled to this – you have the capability to transform yourself from the gross to the subtle, from a mere corpse to the ultimate…