Adiyogi Shiva: The First & Ultimate Zen Master
Sadhguru looks at how Shiva, the first yogi and first guru is the greatest zen master. He tells the story of how Shiva expounded the mechanics of creation, and explored the 112 ways in which a human being can attain to the ultimate.
Questioner: Sadhguru, you place great importance in Shiva. Why didn’t other masters like Jesus, Buddha, or the Zen Masters mention or use him in their teachings?
Sadhguru: These questions and these thoughts are coming from a mindset which has grown in organized religions. We are not talking about Shiva versus somebody else because that you refer to as Shiva includes all these things that you are talking about. Just one little dimension, this or that they found out and they started talking about it and they became popular. I am not trying to belittle them; they are all wonderful human beings who’ve done great service to humanity. But I am saying in terms of perception, there hasn’t been another being like him. And perception is all that I value and that's all you should value. Rest can be made up, rest is just frills.
So you are talking about Zen. What greater master than of Zen than Shiva himself? That somebody comes, his own son, he doesn’t get the point – you’ve heard of Gutei, the Zen Master? Gutei always did this (Gestures). He will be talking (Gestures), people look at it, ‘Okay why he is showing his finger to me?’ The thing is he is always trying to say everything is one, this is the teaching. Rest of what I say is not important, this is the teaching. So there was a little boy because in these Buddhists monasteries, Zen monasteries little boys become monks, four, five year olds. So the little boy who is growing up in the monastery, he saw Gutei and you know the boy takes to him. So this boy is going about (Gestures), if anybody says anything (Showing one finger), (Laughter) not this finger. (Applause) So he started doing this. So Gutei watched this. He waited for him to become sixteen. One day he called the boy and he did this (Gestures), the boy instinctively because he has been doing it all over the place, he also did this. He took out a knife and chopped off his finger and they say he attained. He suddenly saw the point that it's not about one, it's about nothing. (Applause)
Shiva went further long time ago. He came back from somewhere, he always carried a trishool – do we have a trishool here? No trishool in the hall? Hmm? They removed it? So trishool is a trident. He is always carrying the trident to show people there are three dimensions – yourself, your way of being, what you know and what you do not know, and what you do not know rules, not what you know. So one day he came back after a long break. He has not seen this boy, his son. Now he is ten, eleven years of age. When Shiva came, this boy is carrying a little trident, with that he tries to stop him. He looked at him and took off his head, not his trident. (Laughs) Then whatever drama happened and then he put another head, a Gana’s head on top of him and he became such a brilliant boy. Even today in India if people want to start education, anything first thing is they will worship this boy which that Gana has become gaja – a Gana’s head has become instead of Ganesha he's become Gajesha now. They kind of modified it and made it into an elephant head but he became the very embodiment of intelligence and brilliance. They said there was nothing that he did not know.
So that’s the first act of Zen. (Laughs) So anything… Anything that you can talk of the world, talk in the world, nothing is left out of his life. He is so complex and so complete and he did not have a teaching, he only had methods. That’s the most important thing. Others have teachings. How many fingers can you cut? A method like this, can you employ? Can you go about employing this Gutei’s method of cutting a finger? One boy’s finger you cut and he got it. If you cut many fingers you will only have crippled people, nothing would have happened. So there is no teaching from Shiva, only methods and the methods are one hundred percent scientific in nature. He gave one hundred and eight ways and added another six and said one hundred and twelve ways. One hundred and twelve ways because there are one hundred and fourteen chakras in the body, two of them reside outside the physical body. He said ‘That realm is only for those who are beyond.’ For human beings there are only one hundred and twelve ways. And he showed clear methods as to how you can exploit this one hundred and twelve dimensions of how this life is made and each one how you can, through each one of them you can realize. There is a beautiful story.
When he was expounding the mechanics of life with the seven sages, he had one witness and she’s, that witness is not like Anantaatheertha, she is Parvati. She is already realized. He taught her or he made her realize in a very intimate manner. But when the seven sages sat he went into a completely different dimension of exploration. So it was interesting for her. Something that happened to her so simply is such a complex process. So as he went about expounding different dimensions, he said, ‘There are hundred and twelve ways in which a human being can attain.’ She being a woman, she being realized and above all she being the wife, she said, ‘Why only hundred and twelve? There must be more ways.’ He was looking at the mechanics of life, exploring things. He is not giving a teaching, he is not giving a philosophy. As he was exploring he saw this as a disturbance, he waved her aside ‘Tch sit. There are only one hundred and twelve.’ Because you are going through something and somebody makes a comment which is a personal comment, a whimsical comment he… ‘There are only one hundred and twelve.’ She says, ‘I’ll find more.’ He said, ‘You go and find.’
Then she went. She is already realized, she is trying to explore different ways to find it. After, they say, many many years of sadhana she came back. He was still talking to the Saptha Rishis or the seven sages. She being his wife, she can come and sit beside him but she came and sat one step below. She did not want the sages to know but she wanted him to know that she has failed. She just came and sat one step below to indicate that whatever challenge she threw, she’s failed. So she did not want the others to know but she wanted him to know.
So there are hundred and twelve different ways. What Shiva is talking is mechanics of life, no philosophy, no teaching, no social relevance, simply science. Social relevance, we add just to make it rounding it off, otherwise it's too scientific. From this science, individual masters make technology out of it. He did not give technology, he just gave the science of it. The technologies that you are enjoying today, either in the form of a Smartphone or a computer or some other gadget that you are using, there is a science behind it. That science is not relevant to you. You are only using the technology but if somebody had not grasped the science you would not have the technology. The algorithms that go into the making of a simple software is very complex. Sometimes you got your email in a coded form, did you see? You can't figure out, ‘Is this what I typed?’ It is all kinds of gibberish but for somebody else it makes sense. Because of that it is going.
Now, here we are just using sound waves. If I speak these amplifiers are just amplifying the sound that I create and it's travelling as sound-waves. But suppose I spoke to you on a phone then what I speak is not going as sound-waves, it’s becoming electromagnetic waves, going there and reconverting themselves. So when it's travelling from here – you speak on a cell-phone, it's travelling from here to Bangalore; it is not going as sound-waves, it’s become something else. If you hear that if you can or if you feel that, it would be something totally different but some other instrument once again converts it into sound waves the way you can understand.
So what Shiva said is simply pure science. He is not talking technology. He left it to the Saptha Rishis to make the technology as it would suit the people who would sit in front of him on that day. Depending upon what kind of gadget we need we produce that but the fundamental science is the same thing, isn't it? Nothing has changed about that. So I am talking about Shiva all the time. Because it is the science, the tech is not important; it's the science which is important. Tech can be made up, technology is a made up thing. Because there is a fundamental science, using that we are making something out of it. Gadgets that are relevant today may be irrelevant tomorrow. Already it's happened, isn't it, so many things? So many gadgets that we thought were very valuable, no more valuable because new gadgets have come but the same science. So what kind of gadgets we produce simply depends upon who is sitting in front of you right now, what is the need of the hour.
So in this context there is a very very very big difference between what you refer to as the Adiyogi and all the other names that you are mentioning. They are all technology people; they grasped one aspect of it and they made a certain technology for people who were sitting in front of them at that moment. It worked for the people so that's all that matters at that moment. But we are looking at Adiyogi as the fundamental science. It's important at a time like this. At a time like this when the humanity is in the kind of state that it is for various reasons, it's important the essential science of it is strengthened.