Q: Sadhguru, you have said that Shambho is a “form” of Shiva. What exactly does that mean? And would it be appropriate to keep chanting “Shambho”?

Sadhguru: Indian culture was created as a science to enable you to seek your ultimate liberation. Every aspect of your life – whether you sing, dance, eat, or study – was only aimed at your mukti. Your religion, education, family or business were secondary. The only thing that mattered to you was your mukti. When mukti was the only thing you were seeking, everything was oriented towards that and every possible way of exploring your inner nature was brought forth. Nowhere else in the world – you can investigate it as much as you want – have people understood the interiority of a human being as this culture has. It has been looked at with enormous depth.

But because these are subjective sciences, they were expressed and coded in certain ways, so that you cannot misinterpret them logically. Such care was taken to see that misinterpretations don’t happen. In spite of that, over a period of time, misinterpretation has invariably happened and the science needs to be rejuvenated.

Living Energy Forms

One aspect of this culture was that they created powerful energy forms through which one can seek growth and wellbeing. The creation of these forms is another dimension of what we call consecration. Dhyanalinga for example, is an energy form.

Shambho is one of the more auspicious forms. He is a very gentle form of Shiva, which is rare.


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The word “Shambho” is associated with this. Is it a mantra? Yes. What does a mantra mean? Today, modern science tells us that the whole existence is a vibration. In other words, the whole of existence is just sound. In this complex arrangement of sounds which you call creation, there are a few key sounds that can open up dimensions for you. These are referred to as mantras. If you use a particular mantra with the right sense of awareness, it can open up a completely new dimension of life for you. But if you are just emotionally attached to the mantra – emotions can be juicy and nice but it won’t lead you anywhere.

A mantra is basically a device. Is it a form? Yes, because every sound has a form attached to it. “Shambho” has its own form. Is it a living thing? Yes, very much, because everything in the existence is alive. An atom, a rock, a tree, a plant, an animal, everything is alive. Whether you are able to perceive this or not is the only question. It is only because the air is alive it can give you life. Maybe it is not alive like you, but it is alive in its own way. Because of this, we looked at life in a different way in this culture.

Shambho is one of the more auspicious forms. He is a very gentle form of Shiva, which is rare. Shiva is usually wild and crazy. But this is a very gentle, beautiful form. These forms were established by people as eternal forms so that others could make use of it.

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A Key To Open You Up

When you say “Shambho” or “Shiva”, you are not asking for help. If you say “Shambho” every time your knees hurt, that’s not it! Shiva devotees always called upon Shiva and said, “Shiva, please destroy me.” For example, Akka Mahadevi called upon Shiva and this was her prayer: “Shiva, when I am very hungry, if I get a morsel of food, before I put it in my mouth, let it slip and fall into the mud. And before I bend down and pick it up, let a dog come and take it away. And if I am climbing a mountain, let my feet slip and let me fall down and let my head break.” This is how the prayer goes.

With a very deep understanding of sound, we have taken a few sounds that are like the keys to existence. “Shiva” and “Shambho” are two such keys.

So don’t use “Shiva Shambho” for your survival. Don’t use this because you want to buy a new house, or a new vehicle, or you want to get your daughter married. If you are seeking survival, you are calling the wrong person! Shiva is constantly waiting for one moment of vulnerability in you when he can crack you. He is not looking at helping you survive.

You say “Shambho” because you want to dissolve with this sound. With a very deep understanding of sound, we have taken a few sounds that are like the keys to existence. If you utter them with the right sense of intensity at the right moment in your life, they can shatter all your limitations. “Shiva” and “Shambho” are two such keys. From the solid person that you are, they are meant to open you up to a new dimension. Just make it your life-breath, make the sound constantly “on” within you. If one moment of vulnerability comes, the sound will crack you open. Absolutely new things will happen.

Editor’s Note: Excerpted from the ebook “Himalayan Lust”, available at Isha Downloads. Check out the preview for a taste! Amalgamating Sadhguru’s discourses during yatras to the Himalayas, the book is a blend of the specific and the timeless. It is a chance to make a pilgrimage on the page, travelling through the unpredictable but fascinating terrain of the Master’s words.