Your Body – Shava or Shiva?

Sadhguru guides us in an exploration of the possibilities of physicality: are our bodies as limited as a “shava”, meaning corpse, or can we harness…

Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev

Sadhguru guides us in an exploration of the possibilities of physicality: are our bodies as limited as a “shava”, meaning corpse, or can we harness the capabilities of this miraculous tool to reach the Ultimate, “Shiva”.

Sadhguru: The most important aspect of your existence is your physical body. When we look at the body as an instrument, different instruments are created and calibrated for different types of activities. When it comes to physical prowess, the human body is not comparable to any animal. If you take an insect, a grasshopper for example – whatever the length of his body, he can jump almost 50 to 100 times that length. If you are five or six feet tall, you would have to jump 500 or 600 feet. If you hold Olympics by the standards of an earthworm, a termite, a grasshopper, a tiger, a deer or an elephant or any other creature on this planet, you are nowhere near that.

Survival at one time meant just getting one or two meals a day. Today, survival means a BMW!

In terms of physical prowess, we cannot compare ourselves to any creature on the planet. But we came with a certain capability to do something beyond our instinct of survival; that is the most important thing. You as a human being can look at life and handle life beyond the needs of survival. Unfortunately, instead of looking beyond the needs of survival, all that most human beings have done is raise the standards of their survival. Survival at one time meant just getting one or two meals a day. Today, survival means a BMW! This is an unintelligent way of using the human mechanism. This mechanism has come with a different possibility.

Physicality: Just a Stroke of Paint

In yoga, we refer to the human spine as the Merudanda, which means the axis of the universe. How can one’s spine be the axis of the universe? Today, modern science sees the whole existence as a vibration. Or if you go deeper, the same energy is reverberating in so many ways. We also know today that whatever you call as creation is held in the lap of vast nothingness – which scientisits are trying to find names for like dark energy; But beyond that, we know there are still totally empty spaces. From the grossest physical entity to what you call the Divine, it is just the same basis. It is just like a long paint stroke – first it comes out thick, then gets thinner and thinner, and becomes nothing. In the process of creation, you as a human being are a little closer to this emptiness.

The essential reverberation in the human being is generated from the spine. The subtler it gets, the further it goes.

The essential reverberation in the human being is generated from the spine. The subtler it gets, the further it goes. If it is gross, it hangs around only to a certain extent. If it gets very subtle, you can throw it all over the place. Once your reverberations spread themselves all over the place, your ability to perceive is also all over the place. Right now, what you call “myself”, in terms of your limited existence, is whatever is within the boundaries of your sensation. Whatever is within the boundaries of your experience is you. Whatever is outside your boundaries of experience is someone or something else. By refining your reverberations, you can extend the boundaries of your experience endlessly. When we say, “Shiva opened his Third Eye,” it means he extended the boundaries of his experience in an unlimited way. Then the whole existence is just a part of him and naturally he is the center. But how do you know he is the center?

The Time and Space Illusion

Today, modern science is proving to you beyond any doubt that your ideas of time and space are very illusory. Time and space are both stretchable; you can alter them whichever way you want. You can make what is 1000 light years away right here. You can make what is 10,000 years ago or what will be 10,000 years later right now; because here and now is all there is. I am not talking mysticism. According to modern science, time and space is a big illusion. You can make whatever you want out of it. In fact, today, a certain segment of scientists are beginning to argue, there is no such thing as time, there is no such thing as space. They are right. It is from this understanding that we said your spine is Merudanda; it is the axis of the universe. Or at least, it can be if you reverberate in a certain way.

You know very well that you gathered this body – it is just an accumulation of food. How can you call what you gather as “myself?”

This body is an instrument. Are you going to use it just to gather food and things for yourself? Are you going to use it to perform feats? Or are you going to use it in the highest possible way? If you want to use it like an instrument, the first and foremost thing is you have to dis-identify yourself from this body. You know very well that you gathered this body – it is just an accumulation of food. How can you call what you gather as “myself?” What you gather can be yours for a certain period of time but it cannot be you.

A Miraculous Instrument

The human body is such a miraculous instrument. If you want to explore this in one lifetime, it will take a lot. But one way or the other, people’s entanglement with the body is so deep that they cannot treat the body as an instrument. Their attachment and identification with the body are so deep that they continue to see this as “myself”. The moment you see this body as “me”, there is a whole lot of emotion attached to it. Then we cannot use it as an instrument.

You can either make this body into a Shava or a Shiva. Shava means a corpse. Shiva means the Ultimate. It depends on what you do with it.

The whole process of Bhuta Shuddhi in yoga is just towards this – to become free from the five elements. If you create distance between you and the five elements effectively, then you have a clear space between you and the body.

Once you create a distance between you and the body, you will have the joy 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 this divine – you can move your energy system in such a way that the body becomes a deity. Or you can be like a corpse. We say, you can either make this body into a Shava or a Shiva. Shava means a corpse. Shiva means the Ultimate. It depends on what you do with it. It can function in ways you have never believed a human being could function.

Editor’s Note: “Body: The Greatest Gadget” is an introduction to the most sophisticated and incredible gadget on the planet. It is a first step on an intriguing and exciting journey that culminates in total mastery of the system, allowing us to stay rooted in the physical, and yet taste the beyond. Download now.



Editor’s Note: Subscribe to the official Sadhguru YouTube channel to watch new videos every Monday, Wednesday and Friday.