The Nature of Shiva
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 Shiva Purana, you cannot identify Shiva as a good person or a bad person. He is Sundaramurthy, the most beautiful. At the same time, nobody can be more horrible than Shiva!
The worst possible descriptions have been given to him. There are descriptions of Shiva having walked around with human excrement on his body. He went through everything any human being could ever go through. 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.
The whole struggle with one’s life is we are always trying to pick out what is beautiful and what is not, what is good and what is bad. But you would have no problem with anything, if only you could accept this man who is a terrible combination of everything put together.
He is the most beautiful, but he is also the ugliest. He is a great ascetic, and also a family person. He is the most disciplined, but also a drunkard and a drug addict. 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 civilization has tried to conveniently eliminate all those un-digestible stories, but this is where the essence of Shiva is. There is nothing that is repulsive for him. Shiva sat on a dead body to do sadhana as an aghori. Ghora means “terrible.” Aghori means that which is “beyond terrible.”
Shiva is an aghori – he is beyond the terrible. The terrible does not touch him, nothing repels him. 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. Even if your enemy is sitting next you, the life in you has no problem. What your enemy exhales, you inhale. Your friend’s exhalation does not feel any better than your enemy’s. The problem is only psychological. Existentially, there is no problem.
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.
He treats food and his excrement the same way. He treats the dead and the alive the same way. He treats a well-preserved body and a rotting body the same way simply because he wants to become absolute life. He does not want to be trapped in his own psychological process and miss out on the existential experience of the grandeur of Creation.
Opening Up the Third Eye
Shiva has always been referred to as Triambaka because he has a third eye. The third eye does not mean someone’s forehead cracked and something came out! It simply means another dimension of perception has opened up. The two eyes can see only that which is physical. If I just cover them with my hand, they cannot look beyond that.
That is how limited they are. If the third eye opens, it means another dimension of perception, which is inward-looking and looks at life completely differently, has opened up and everything that can be perceived is perceived.
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. The two physical eyes are just sensory organs. They feed the mind with all kinds of nonsense, because what you see is not the truth. You see this person or that person and you think something about him, but you are not able to see the Shiva in him. You see things the way it is necessary for your survival.
Another creature sees it another way, as is necessary for its survival. This is why we say this world is maya. Maya means it is illusory. We are not saying that existence is illusory. We are only saying the way you are perceiving it is 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 Shiva is nothing but the very embodiment of ultimate perception. This is not about religion. Today, the world is divided in terms of which religion you belong to. Because of this, if you utter something, it looks like you belong to some “party.” This is not religion, this is the science of inner evolution.
You don’t have to worship Shiva. I don’t. I am worshipful towards everything, but I have never said a prayer in my whole life. When I say “Shiva,” for me it’s everything. When I utter “Shiva,” whatever I wish to know is here for me. If I sit here long enough, just with one word I will know the whole existence. It is because of this that I walk through life with such ease – just Shiva.
You must know the strength of that. Don’t get lost in your logical mind. This is not that kind of nonsense. 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.
We are vagabonds who will not go by the rules set by nature. Nature has set some laws for human beings – they have to be within that. Breaking the laws of physical nature is spiritual process. In this sense, we are outlaws, and Shiva is the ultimate outlaw. You cannot worship Shiva, but you may join the Gang.
(Named one of India’s 50 most influential people, Sadhguru is a yogi, mystic, a bestselling author & poet. Sadhguru has been conferred the "Padma Vibhushan" by the Government of India in 2017, the highest amongst the annual civilian awards, accorded for exceptional and distinguished service.)