If Shiva had not opened his third eye, he would not have the same significance that he still holds today. Sadhguru discusses the two ways of opening the third eye, and the pitfalls of trying to follow a “middle path.”

Sadhguru: The most significant aspect of Shiva is that he opened his third eye. He did many other things – he danced, he meditated, he married twice. All that is fine, but it is only because he opened his third eye that we remember him even today. After thousands of years, we still bow down to him because there is no substitute for knowing. To know is to be free. And there is no way to know unless your perception is enhanced beyond its present limitations.

Shiva is significant because he perceived what most human beings failed to perceive. What is unseen for a large segment of humanity became a normal part of his vision. That is what the third eye means. People say when Shiva opened his third eye, fire came out of it. This fire indicates that within himself, he burnt everything that he thought mattered to him. Within himself, he became a kiln that burnt everything that can be burnt. And then, from every pore of his body, instead of sweat and blood, ash came out. This is to indicate that he burnt every shred of ignorance – everything that one believes as true. Once this was done, the opening of the third eye could not be denied to him.

The Two Ways

There are two ways of opening the third eye. One way is, the inside has become a total vacuum so the doorway gets sucked in and has to naturally open. The doorway becomes limp and falls inward because there is nothing. Shiva has burnt not only his thought, his emotion, his relationships and possessions – he has burnt his very being. There is a total vacuum. So the door fell inward and opened.

Another way of opening the third eye is you contain everything inside. You do not find any expression for your thought, emotion or anything else. You could not even utter a word. You will see, if you remain silent for four days, on the fifth day you will suddenly feel like singing. If you do not know how to sing, you will want to howl because you want to let go. But if you do not let anything go, so much pressure will build up that the door will get knocked open from inside. This is another way.  

The Middle Path

However, if you are diplomatic, if you believe in the middle path, that means you do not wish to go anywhere. People who believe in the middle path are determined not to get anywhere in their life. The middle path is just your comfort zone, neither this nor that. It means you are a full-time bull-shitter. It does not matter where you go, you do your own stuff – that is the middle path. The middle path is a way of not getting anywhere, and after some time thinking this does not go anywhere.  

The middle path is a way of not getting anywhere, and after some time thinking this does not go anywhere.

 
Let’s say you were walking on the street and you came across a big rock. There are only two ways to go around it. In one direction, a tiger is growling. In the other direction, a fire is burning. If you think the middle path is the best way and walk into the rock, it will only give you good exercise for a while. You do not go anywhere.  

So, either you become empty and the sheer power of vacuum will open it, or you build a pressure in you and it will burst open – these are the two ways. The first way is a better option because if you open the door by building pressure, it may open up today and shut itself tomorrow. Or, before enough pressure builds up, something else may freak in you and you may run away. It is a lot of torture not letting a single thought or emotion find expression, not uttering a single word, not finding expression to a single opinion or idea that arises in your mind. It can make you burst! But if you do hold everything intact, the third eye will open.

Editor’s Note: Sadhguru’s latest book “Adiyogi: The Source of Yoga”, is a tribute to Shiva, the Adiyogi, and a chronicle of the progenitor of mysticism. Order today on Amazon (India only) and get 30% off.