The Significance of Shiva

Sadhguru looks at the significance of the being we call Shiva, and how his contribution to humanity is truly unique.
The Significance of Shiva

Sadhguru looks at the significance of the being we call Shiva, and how his contribution to humanity is truly unique.

Question: Sadhguru, you place great importance on Shiva. Why do you not talk so much about other Masters, like Masters of Zen for example?

Sadhguru: Because there is no one crazy enough for me. We are not talking about Shiva versus someone else. That which you refer to as Shiva includes everything. There have been many wonderful human beings who have done great service to humanity. But in terms of perception, there has not been another being like him.

Zen Master Gutei

So you are talking about Zen. What greater master of Zen than Shiva himself? Have you heard of the Zen Master Gutei? Whenever Gutei was talking about Zen, he would always raise his finger, trying to show, “Everything is one.” In these Zen monasteries, little boys became monks at four, five years of age. A little boy like this who was growing up in the monastery saw Gutei and also began to raise his index finger whenever anyone said anything. Gutei watched this but waited for the boy to become sixteen years of age. Then one day, Gutei called the boy and raised his finger. The boy instinctively also did the same thing. Gutei took out a knife and chopped off the boy’s finger, and they say the boy attained. He suddenly saw the point that it is not about one, it is about nothing.

Shiva went further, a long time ago. One day, after a long absence, he came back home. He had not seen his son who was now ten, eleven years of age. When he came, this boy, who carried a little trident, tried to stop him. Shiva took off his head, not his trident. Parvati was hugely upset about this. So to fix this, Shiva put a gana’s head on the boy’s body, who then became very brilliant. Even today in India, before people start education or anything else, they will first worship this boy. Now people have kind of modified it and the gana head has become a gaja [elephant] head, but he became the very embodiment of intelligence and brilliance. They said there was nothing that he did not know.

Nothing in this world is left out of Shiva’s life. He is so complex and so complete.

That was the first act of Zen. Nothing in this world is left out of Shiva’s life. He is so complex and so complete. And he did not have a teaching, he only had methods, and these methods are one hundred percent scientific in nature. He gave 112 ways in which a human being can attain because there are 114 chakras in the human system, but two of them are outside the physical body, so he said, “That realm is only for those who are beyond. For human beings, there are only 112 ways.” And he showed clear methods as to how you can exploit these 112 dimensions of how this life is made. Through each one of them, you can realize.

What Shiva was talking is the mechanics of life, no philosophy, no teaching, no social relevance – simply science. From this science, individual masters make technology. He gave the science of it. Behind the technologies that you are enjoying today, either in the form of a smartphone or a computer or some other gadget, there is a science. That science is not relevant to you. You are only using the technology. But if someone had not grasped the science, you would not have the technology.

So what Shiva said is simply pure science. He left it to the Saptarishis to make the technology as it would suit the people who would sit in front of them on that day. Technology can be made up. Depending upon what we need, we produce a particular gadget, but the fundamental science is the same. Gadgets that are relevant today may be irrelevant tomorrow. So many gadgets that we once thought were very valuable are no more valuable because new gadgets have come – but the science is the same.

So with the Adiyogi, we are looking at the fundamental science. At a time like this, when for various reasons, humanity is in the kind of state that it is in, it is important that the essential science is strengthened.

Editor's Note: Download Sadhguru's ebook, Shiva - Ultimate Outlaw, along with Vairagya, an album of sacred chants (also available as an Android App). They're free!

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Image courtesy: Gutei from Wikipedia.
Thanks to ArtLab for the Shiva illustration.

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6 years 2 months ago

This is amazing and amusing. Shiva has always been my addiction but I haven't came across such a simple and free-flowing explanation of Shiva. I am getting positive vibes just by reading above answer by Sadhguru. Namah Shivay.

5 years 6 months ago

Shiva has A Place for Himself in my life. I can't accept Him in a negative light. Though there are stories of Him giving Gana's head to His first son. I can't see it that way. I have my own version of it, and can't accept it any other way. I feel Ganesh as Shiva Himself. I did come across such a depiction too elsewhere, and was very... happy. I feel Ganesh with an elephant's head could be to depict the immensity of the existence. Elephant being the largest animal known then, could have had our sages and saints create a God with its head, and also have them ascribe existencial reality to it. This is how Ganesh would have been born, and not out of any of Shiva's hasty act. There's another story in which Ravana expresses his desire to have Parvathi as his wife and Shiva nods in agreement. Then, the ganas rush to Manasarovar where Parvathi was relaxing then to let her know of the demon's intentions. She then turns the frog princess into a beautiful girl, whom he accepts as Parvathi. According to me, Shiva had nodded because He knew very well of what's in store for Ravana. I can't see Shiva in any other way. Mad after you, Shiva. Lemme know you the way Devi does. May I live with you like Nandhi and never move off you. Lemme know you ever in me...

4 years 9 months ago

Replying my post only to add a new piece of info. I have heard from teens that the girl who visits Shiv Temples on Mondays gets to marry a boy like Him. Why that love for Shiv? Is that because He exalted His wife so much that He gave His Half to Her? There's another sweet angle to it, which I discovered lately, when I bought a book for my dear friend's little boy. It was "Shiva's Fish Swish" (with ISBN 978-81-7597-513-2). The story goes like this: one day, Parvathi gets distracted when Shiva is in conversation with Her. I think He was giving out a sermon or talking about the Ultimate Possibility to Her. Shiva is angered by this and separates Himself from Her. Parvathi then toils as a fisherwoman to reunite with Him, as per His orders. NO ONE WOULD EXPECT THIS FROM A SPOUSE. BUT, WHAT'S THE MAGIC THAT BINDS THE LADY TO THIS GENTLEMAN? The thing is He treats everyone the very same way. What follows is not part of the children's book, and I got to relate to this very lately. One of His ganas too had to face a similar separation for getting distracted during a discourse with Him. That Gana was reborn as Tamil Saint-n-Poet Manickavasagar to regain His Lost Guru's Grace. SHIVA DOESN'T DISCRIMINATE. He loves His Wife so... much. When a sage refused to accept Her as significant as Shiva Himself, He gave Her His half. Then, the sage took the form of a bee and flew just over Shiva's right half that Shiva had for Himself. Immediately, Shiva and Parvathi sat in an unique yogic posture such that the sage gets the fact right. Shiva knows what Parvathi is; but when She was distracted as a disciple, She is treated just as any other disciple. She had to go through what a gana would have to. The Man who doesn't discriminate is the Man everyone looks up to as God, the Ultimate Supreme Power. In love and war, He doesn't change sides. Oh wrong, first of all, He doesn't take anybody's side ever. He does what is needed without any prejudice. Such a Man is Shiva. Namah Parvathi Pathaye! (Hail Parvathi's Husband!) Hara Hara Mahadeva!

3 years 3 months ago

Hello, my name is Joseph ... I have been living my life in such variable ways! That I myself don't know what's going on. But as my life took a journey ahead I really feel like what I tend to do... and that is to just forget this whole worldly things and go to the place somewhere away from this life never to return again. But to dedicate myself to find enlightenment.

I have a strong feelings that I really need this... but to walk this path I have to fulfill my responsibilities... I have to free myself from bondings... I knew very little about this life which I was living... sometime it feels like why am I living in this body as well... can I be free ?? Can I keep my consciousness constant?? I don't know what I'm asking for or ... I just don't know... I wanna be default. .... I have so much to follow but without proper guidance i don't know what to do... I don't know from where ti start either.. I'm complicated.