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Shiva Gita chapter 16 contains the following statement.

saMsArAnmuchyate jantuH shivatAdAtmyabhAvanAt |
tathA dAnaM tapo vedAdhyayanaM chAnyakarma vA |
sahasrAMshaM tu nArhanti sarvadA dhyAnakarmaNaH || 13||

“The creaturely man is liberated from bondage by the contemplation of his identity with S’iva. Charity, penance, study of scripture or any other act done according to rules are not fit to be even one thousandth part of the act of contemplation (of the above identity with S’iva).”

I want to achieve liberation and I want to practice contemplation of my identity with Shivaji.

I have 2 main questions-

  1. What does it mean to contemplate my identity with Lord Shiva?

  2. How can I contemplate my identity with Lord Shiva?

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  • Moksha is something that cannot be achieved or its something different. Moment you free yourself from bondages of the mind you're liberated. Commented May 1, 2019 at 1:29
  • Shiva Gita is attributed to padma purana uttarakhanda. it is not even found in padma purana now. And is almost a later interpolation..
    – Log Tran
    Commented May 1, 2019 at 12:34
  • @LogTran Shiva Gita is an accepted Gita and I trust it too.
    – user17858
    Commented May 1, 2019 at 12:38
  • For Shiva, tantras are proper than puranas. It's upto you what you want to believe, but it is made famous recently only. it is not found in any puranas and attribution done to padma purana is wrong , some sites mention that someone from 16th century/17th century commented on it.
    – Log Tran
    Commented May 1, 2019 at 12:43
  • @LogTran Can you can link a tantra with an English commentary? As far as I know one cannot practice tantras without initiation. Most practices of Shiva Gita does not require initiation.
    – user17858
    Commented May 1, 2019 at 12:51

2 Answers 2

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This has been made clear in the 'Nirvana-Shatkam' believed to be composed by Sri Adi Sankaracharya.

  1. What does it mean to contemplate my identity with Lord Shiva?

This means contempletating on the 'Mahavakya'-s of the Upanishads which essentially means what Sri Adi Shankara puts in His 'Nirvana-shatkam' as

chidAnandarupah shivo'ham shivo'ham, Meaning:I am Shiva, Who is the of the nature of pure Existence-Consciousness-Bliss.

  1. How can I contemplate my identity with Lord Shiva?

According to Sri Adi Shankara, this can be done by contemplating on

I am neither the mind, nor the intellect, nor the ego, nor the mind-stuff; I am neither the body, nor the changes of the body; I am neither the senses of hearing, taste, smell, or sight, Nor am I the ether, the earth, the fire, the air; I am Existence Absolute, Knowledge Absolute, Bliss Absolute —

I am He, I am He. (Shivoham, Shivoham).

I am neither the Prâna, nor the five vital airs; I am neither the materials of the body, nor the five sheaths; Neither am I the organs of action, nor object of the senses; I am Existence Absolute, Knowledge Absolute, Bliss Absolute —

I am He, I am He. (Shivoham, Shivoham).

I have neither aversion nor attachment, neither greed nor delusion; Neither egotism nor envy, neither Dharma nor Moksha; I am neither desire nor objects of desire; I am Existence Absolute, Knowledge Absolute, Bliss Absolute —

I am He, I am He. (Shivoham, Shivoham).

I am neither sin nor virtue, neither pleasure nor pain; Nor temple nor worship, nor pilgrimage nor scriptures, Neither the act of enjoying, the enjoyable nor the enjoyer; I am Existence Absolute, Knowledge Absolute, Bliss Absolute —

I am He, I am He. (Shivoham, Shivoham).

I have neither death nor fear of death, nor caste; Nor was I ever born, nor had I parents, friends, and relations; I have neither Guru, nor disciple; I am Existence Absolute, Knowledge Absolute, Bliss Absolute —

I am He, I am He. (Shivoham, Shivoham).

I am untouched by the senses, I am neither Mukti nor knowable; I am without form, without limit, beyond space, beyond time; I am in everything; I am the basis of the universe; everywhere am I. I am Existence Absolute, Knowledge Absolute, Bliss Absolute — I am He, I am He. (Shivoham, Shivoham). (Translation by Swami Vivekananda, CW).

(Stavakusumanjali, Gambhirananda(Ed.), Udbodhan, pages 398-400).

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  • Even I have difficulty understanding your answer. All the mahavakyas that you mentioned and more are present in Shiva Gita. Does that mean I should contemplate on Shiva Gita? How, do I contemplate them? Should I just think of them again and again while meditating? Please answer these doubts too.
    – user17858
    Commented May 1, 2019 at 5:20
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    @ShashwatAsthanavIt means contemplating on the concept that 'I am Shiva'. But for most of the people, this path is NOT advised as this is purely Jnana-marga.If one worships Lord Shiva with devotion regularly, gradually the knowledge of the Supreme Self Who is Shiva is revealed to the devotee.
    – user17294
    Commented May 1, 2019 at 5:24
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In addition to the above answer by user "user17294" who has shared beautifully from Vedantic Dharshana using the magnificent words of Child Prodigy Adi Shankara, let me add my findings from Vedic Yajñá standpoint. Please keep a note of the bold content, as that is the key to your question.

Let’s visit one of the long-lost Vedic Shaka, the Katha Shaka which gave forth Katha Upanishad. Katha Shaka has its own Saṃhitās, Brahmana, and Aranyaka which many like the German researcher Michael Witzel conclude to be earlier than the Tairtreya Shaka of Yajur Veda. Like any Aranyaka, it primarily revolves around a particular aspect of Yajñá, so Katha Aranyaka too revolves around the concept of Pravargya which is a Soma ritual. As Michael Witzel says:

As an Aranyaka, it contains the secret doctrine of its particular Veda School (Sakha) and has to be studied in the wilderness (aranya). In the Katha Aranyaka, this is the Pravargya, a ritual in which a blazing clay vessel (mahavira) is identified with the Sun and Rudra Mahavira. This ritual also aims at giving the sponsor of the ritual (Yajamana) a new, heavenly body. This is established by multiple Upanishad-like identification between various entities of the microcosm (man), ritual (Yajna), and macrocosm.

Please note: this heavenly body is a subtle body to ascend to the heavens (sargo vai loka auttaravedikas III 233: 91.1-2)

Now let's compare this with The words of Sri Aurobindo, concerning the Yajñá of Rudra Prashna of Yajur Veda, match the essence of this Yajñá and the statements of Prajāpati:

“This is a special type of Yoga called here as the Vedic Yoga, whose essence is the inner Yajñá. Taittirīya Saṃhitā mentions in many places that this Yajñá is a journey. A common synonym of Yajñá is adhvara which means journey (adhva=path, ra=movement). The aim of Vedic Yoga is to establish an all-sided perfection in both the individual and society. The focus here is on the development of the inner potential, i.e., that connected with the inner physical body, with the prāṇa energy, those connected with our mental and supramental energies. This upward journey involves seven steps or stages, each Prapathaka is one step of this journey. Who journeys? It’s the jiva/soul of the seeker with all the associated prāṇa energies and the subtle bodies which travel to the world of light (svar). In the Veda the standard symbol of jiva/soul is a bird (shyena, hawk) that goes to heaven/svar-ga (celestial realms of light or enlightened state of consciousness), perfects all its energies and organs and returns to Earth in its divinized condition. The anuvakam 4.1.1 quotes Rig Vedā 10.13.1 to stress that each one of us is a child of immortality. Attaining that divine perfection is our birthright” ~~Yajur Veda: Sir Aurobindo Kapali Shastra Institute of Vedic Culture.(n.d)

Now, let's go back to Katha Aranyaka:

When the gods (devas) had succeeded in going to heaven (heavenly realms) they could not recognize him, as he eventually approached them (devas), Sun-colored and boasting of his power. This version is unique and has gone so far unnoticed. It is one of the earliest stories that explain some of Rudra’s many names (Bhava, Sharva, Siva, Mrda). The way the gods (the Yajamana) obtain heaven was by performing a ritual, the Pravargya. From this, they excluded Rudra, told in another slightly version (II 115, III 207). This merely relates the threat by Rudra, with bow and arrow in hand and the compliance of the gods by including him into the Pravargya ritual. ~~Katha Aranyaka, Harvard Oriental Series 65, Michael Witzel

Please notice that all Devas are the cosmic principles of Rta and emerge from Yajñá and ascend to heavenly states, and the one performing all the Yajñá through various exploiters in the Brahmanas and Aranyakas sections of Vedas is Prajāpati. And since amṛta is in Soma consequently all Devas are offered Soma, hence Soma begets all Devas except Rudra, why? The following conclusion says it all.

Conclusion:

Rudras being addressed as स्वयश, meaning "self-majestic" RV1.129.3, or स्व व्ने (self supreme) RV7.46 and स्वतवसो ‘self-mightily’ RV1.166.2, independent Divinity holding the amṛta "elixir of immortality" RV5.58,TS4.5, a creator of Creation TS4.5.2, and a ruler of those with 2 and 4 legs RV1.114.1 AV4.28.3 ruler of all kinds of beings and groups TS4.5, hence is called Paśūpati/PashunampatiTS4.5.2, “Abode of all Beings tiled in the cycle of life” and Satpatim “Abode/master of all beings”RV2.33.12 and Bhutapati AV11.2.1 “Lord of all beings”, this title is also given to Indra RV1.11.1. The term “Beings” is well explained in Atharva Veda as “आत्मन्वन्त्“ AV11.2.10 which means entities of Atman. This independence/sovereignty of Rudra is well explained in Katha Aranyaka II-100/III-177/183 wherein after Prajapathi’s Yajñá, Devas emerged and ascended to the heavenly realm (Svarga), and didn’t recognize an entity walking with Sun-like luster (ādityavarna), as Rudra ascended to supremacy (mukhya mahiman) with His own might and sovereignty and threatened the Devas into submission who excluded him from the Yajñá. In this way, the Pravargya Yajñá states that the Yajamana upon performing this ritual will attain a subtle body (Svargakrti) and will ascend to the heavenly realm (Svarga) just like Rudra. Meaning Yajamana himself becomes Rudra, the independent principle of Rta. With this new body, the Yajamana will overcome rebirth and the cycle of death called purarmrtyu as the hymn sings: “apa purarmrtyum jayati, ya evam veda” KA III-219. This made many western scholars consider Rudra to be an independent outsider and a Sovereign Divinity.

Though we have provided many references one has to ask a simple question: WHY RUDRA? why not any of the other 33 types of Devas mentioned, or Prajapati? Why does one have to become Rudra?

The first hymn (sukta) to Rudra in Rig Vedā 1.43 is a declaration of who He is. In a single hymn, it encompasses the entirety of Rudra – that He is a Divine Contradiction and a “conscious knower”. The hymns say He is “fierce/mighty”, then in contradiction, they call him “pleasant with beneficent heart”. He is “the resort/lord to all hymns/songs”, He is “the resort/lord of all yajñá/sacrifice”, and “He is bliss”. In conclusion, the hymn addresses Rudras as the family of immortals possessing amṛta/soma and this soma is the home to Supreme Truth (ṛtasya). So, what is this Supreme Truth? As the hymn says, it is “ṛta“, meaning the entire cosmic principle/truth.

RV = Rig Vedā Saṃhitā, KYV = Kṛṣṇa Yajur Vedā, TS = Kṛṣṇa Yajur Vedā Taittirīya Saṃhitā, VS = Sukla Yajur Vedā Vājasaneyi Saṃhitā, TA = Kṛṣṇa Yajur Vedā Taittirīya Āraṇyaka, AV = Atharva Veda, AB = Aitareya Brahmāṇa, KA = Kaṭha Āraṇyaka, SB = Śatapatha Brahmāṇa, TB = Kṛṣṇa Yajur Vedā Taittirīya Brahmāṇa, MS = Maitrāyaṇī Saṃhitā

The complete research article can be found by searching in Google: "Sanatanadhara Rudra Shiva across Vedas Itihasa".

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