Linga Bhairavi is the most exuberant expression of the divine feminine, residing in a triangular-shaped abode at the Velliangiri foothills. Unique in her manifestation in the form of a linga, the eight-foot-tall Devi was consecrated by Sadhguru through prana pratishtha, as a powerful energy form. As we approach Navratri, the nine nights dedicated to the feminine, we look at a few answers from Sadhguru on how one can receive Devi’s grace and be most receptive to her.
Sadhguru: Indian culture has always represented the feminine as the most powerful dimension of life. You will even see calendar art where Kali is standing on Shiva’s chest, who is lying there dead. This is to show you that the masculine is lifeless unless it is invigorated by the feminine. “Shakti” means energy. That energy which makes the atom work is the same energy which makes the cosmos work. And this energy is always identified as feminine.
Feminine worship is the most ancient form of worship on the planet. India, Europe, Arabia, and large parts of Africa were involved in goddess worship. But today, because of too much emphasis on the masculine worldwide, the only culture where feminine worship still flourishes is India.
The festival of Navratri is dedicated to the feminine nature of the Divine. Masculine and feminine are not about being physically male or female. These are two qualities. The feminine can be as alive in a man as it is in a woman. Only when these qualities happen in balance, can a human being live a life of fulfillment. To use an analogy, if you call the root the masculine, the flower and the fruit is feminine. The very purpose of the root is to bring the flower and the fruit. If that does not happen, the root will go waste. Survival by itself does not take care of everything. After survival is taken care of, the subtler aspects of life have to happen to you.
I have been to many Devi temples – not just famous ones, but little ones in towns and villages. I have been absolutely amazed to find that sometimes even in villages, temples that were consecrated hundreds of years ago are still fully, forcefully alive. These are not dolls that you worship. They are live feminine forces of different calibers, intensities and qualities – from gentle to fierce. Whether you worship or not, there are many ways to make use of them to do various kinds of activities. It was humbling to see that in a tiny village, someone had consecrated something with a great amount of sophistication. These were nameless yogis. They didn't think it necessary to leave their name on the temple. This energy they left is all there is. It is not in the nature of the feminine to leave a footprint but to imprint life within through a strong experience.
This Navratri, make use of these spaces and their energy and celebrate the feminine. Only then you can know the beauty of life.
Q: When I went to Linga Bhairavi, I saw men and women were prostrating in a way I had not seen before. Generally in other places, men do a full prostration and women do a half prostration. Another question is, we were told that in a sacred place one should go in a clockwise direction. Here we move in an anticlockwise direction. I wanted to understand this.
Sadhguru: She is a woman, so the rules are different! The prostration is called Devi Dandam. You can receive the energy – which we are referring to as Bhairavi – best through your left side. When you do the Devi Dandam, the very posture is made such that you close your right side, so that your left side is much more open. It is just like if you close the right nostril, the left nostril will take in more breath – if not double, at least one-and-a-half or one-and-three-fourths of what it takes usually. Similarly, with the Devi Dandam, the left side opens up by closing the right side. It is designed so that you become receptive to Devi’s energy, because that is why you are there. You are not just doing something because someone has been doing it in the tradition.
You don’t do that kind of dandam with Dhyanalinga. With him, you don’t even have to prostrate because with Dhyanalinga, devotion is important only as a way of making you receptive. He does not demand devotion, he needs attention and focus. Linga Bhairavi needs mad devotion, otherwise she will not yield. The way they are made is very different.
And you do not go around Devi. If you were going around her, we would have done it clockwise, not anticlockwise. You are only going in front of her, so it is best that you go from her left side, because she is like that. There is no harm in going from the right but it is more receptive to go from the left. That’s why there is a green sari on the left. Red is “Stop,” green means “Go!”
“Those who earn the Grace of Bhairavi neither have to live in concern or fear of life or death, of poverty, or of failure. All that human beings consider as wellbeing will be theirs, if only they earn the Grace of Bhairavi.” – Sadhguru
Q: What else should I be doing to earn Bhairavi's grace?
Sadhguru: How do you earn grace? Many processes have been taught to you. But all these methods will work only if the priority is set in your mind. This is not just about Devi, it is about anything. If anything subjective has to work for you – even a love affair – it is a question of priority. If you hold something or someone as far more important than yourself, suddenly, that dimension becomes beautiful for you.
The problem is, if you hold some person as more important than yourself, we do not know how mature the other person is. He maybe somebody who, if he looks at a tree thinks it is wood. He may look at a woman and think of sex, nothing more. This is not necessarily so, but it is possible because the basic consciousness may have been trained to always look at how to make use of something. “What is the takeaway for me?" is always the question. So, if you hold somebody as more important than yourself, you may be used, misused or abused. Fortunately it is not always so, but unfortunately it happens too often.
This is why we create a powerful form that has no intention about itself. You are also an energy form. But you are unable to maintain a particular level of consciousness because your thought, emotion and the compulsiveness of your body rule and contaminate your consciousness. So you create a powerful form that has no concern about itself and no compulsiveness because these are pure energy forms.
So, to receive grace, you must hold her as the highest entity. The question is not about what you do. The question is about the priority in your mind. If you see her as a tool to get something, she works, but in a mediocre way. If you see her as the highest priority, beyond yourself, you will know something very different. Logical minds can never decipher how this will work. The kind of things that will happen are too phenomenal.
Q: Sometimes I wonder if I am connecting with Devi properly and asking her for what I want in the right way. Sometimes when my wish doesn’t get fulfilled, I think I am not asking properly. How do we go about it?
Sadhguru: The best way is not to ask for anything. The best way is to simply see how profoundly you can connect with that dimension. If you ask, you will only ask from what you know. You cannot ask what you do not know. Asking what you know may look like development for now, but it is actually a backward step.
If what you do not know needs to happen, you should stop asking. If you simply connect with that energy, things will happen. Whichever way it happens, it’s fine with us, because for all these things to happen, you should have established yourself in such a way that what happens around you does not determine the quality of your life. What happens around us determines the quality of our work and what we do in the world, but it should not determine the quality of who and what you are. Once this is established, then you will see, asking is a silly thing.
If something beyond what you know needs to happen, you must understand that asking is not the way to exist. Asking is a very rudimentary way to exist. There are more profound ways to be. So don’t go about becoming anxious about, “Is this going to happen, is it not going to happen.” If it happens, good. If it doesn’t happen, very good.
Does that mean you are wasting your time with Bhairavi? Tell me, should you drive the Divine or should the Divine drive you? If you understand that, there is no issue.
Editor’s Note: Navratri will be celebrated from October 2, and will culminate with Vijayadashami on October 11. Sadhguru has offered a special sadhana for one to become receptive to Devi’s grace. Learn more about Navratri Sadhana.