Shiva – the Ultimate Outlaw

In this week's Spot, Sadhguru writes about the significance of Mahashivarathri, and welcomes all to take part in the upcoming festivities. "Spiritual process is about breaking the laws of the physical, in that sense, we are all outlaws. Shiva is the ultimate outlaw. You can’t worship him, but you are welcome to join the Gang." Enjoy!
Shiva riding on Nandi - the Ultimate Outlaw

Unfortunately, most people today have been introduced to Shiva only through Indian calendar art, where he is a chubby cheeked, blue colored man because that is the only face the calendar artist can do. The same chubby cheeked, blue hued man can either carry a trident, a flute or a bow, and is transformed into Rama, Krishna or whoever you want.

When we say “Shiva,” there are two fundamental aspects that we are referring to. The word “Shiva literally means “that which is not.” Today, modern science is proving to us that everything comes from nothing and goes back to nothing. The basis of existence and the fundamental quality of the cosmos is vast nothingness. The galaxies are just a small happening, they are a sprinkling. The rest is all vast empty space, which is referred to as Shiva. So Shiva is described as a non-being, not as a being.

On another level, when we say “Shiva,” we are referring to the Adiyogi or the first yogi, who is the basis of the yogic science. Yoga does not mean standing on your head or holding your breath. Yoga is the science and technology to know the essential nature of how this life is created and how it can be taken to its ultimate possibility.

Shiva is the ultimate outlaw. You can’t worship him, but you are welcome to join the Gang.

This being who is a yogi, and that non-being which is the basis of the existence, are the same, because a yogi is someone who has experienced the Union – experienced the existence as himself. If you have to contain the existence within you even for a moment as an experience, you have to be that nothingness. Only nothingness can hold everything. Something can never hold everything. This planet can hold an ocean, but not the solar system. The solar system can hold the planets and the sun, but not the rest of the galaxy. If you go like this, you will see only nothingness that can hold everything. When we talk about Shiva as “that which is not,” and Shiva as a yogi, in a way they are synonymous, yet they are two different aspects. India is a dialectical culture, so we shift from one to another effortlessly.

This transmission of yogic sciences happened on the banks of Kantisarovar, a glacial lake a few miles beyond Kedarnath in the Himalayas. This predates all religion. Shiva started a systematic exposition of yoga in a scientific manner to seven disciples, the Saptarishis. He began propounding the whole mechanics of life, not intellectually as a philosophy, but experientially. He explored every nut and bolt of creation and brought forth yoga as a technology with which every human being can evolve consciously. This is a way of stepping beyond the limitations that physical laws impose upon us.

Physical nature has set laws within which all life needs to happen. But the fundamental nature of the human being is always longing to go beyond those limitations. Spiritual process is about breaking the laws of the physical, in that sense, we are all outlaws. Shiva is the ultimate outlaw. You can’t worship him, but you are welcome to join the Gang.

If you want to join the Gang, there is no better night than Mahashivarathri (27th February). The planetary positions on this night are such that there is a natural upsurge of energy in the human system. This process of raising one’s energies to their ultimate pitch, to dissolve oneself and become a part of the cosmic oneness, has happened in abundance on this night. A nightlong festival has been established to make use of this possibility by remaining awake and keeping one’s spine erect. May this Mahashivarathri be not just a night of wakefulness, but a night of awakening.

Love & Grace

Watch the Mahashivarathri celebrations at Isha Yoga Center LIVE on Aastha TV, Polimer News, ETV, Raj TV & Sri Sankara TV or the webstream at

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6 years 4 months ago

There are many methods to attain the experience that you mention.. one of them is Isha but that doesnt mean you should disbelieve other methods.. the same message applies to Suresh as well.. :)

6 years 5 months ago

beautiful !!

4 years 9 months ago

he word “Shiva” literally means “that which is not.” ---

6 years 5 months ago

Thank you Sadhguru for offering these possibilities to us....

3 years 4 months ago

Amazing! Its genuinely amazikng post, I have got much clear idea about from this post.

6 years 5 months ago

Shiva Shambho!!!

3 years 4 months ago

Thank you for any other magnificent article.
Where else may anyboidy get that kind of information in such a perfect means of
writing? I have a presentation next week, and I'm on tthe look for such information.

6 years 5 months ago

shambho...wonderful being a very tiny speck of nightlong satsang...

6 years 5 months ago

Till a decade ago
was Ignorant of

6 years 5 months ago

From the infinite potency of nothingness
Evolved the divine possibility of being
Shiva - the vast emptiness of that which is not
Exploded and the universe is ever since spinning........

Sadhguru - Lord Shiva reaching out to us....

6 years 5 months ago


6 years 5 months ago

Shiva did not assume human form as a yogi or anything. only certain avatars came to earth like Rama,Hanuman,Krishna ...etc. Thats wat puranas say. and we should beilieve wat it says, as it has got an age old years of authority. Shiva was the god of gods, no form ultimately , thats why he is worshipped as Lingam(arupam)

There are methods of worshipping lord shiva on shiv-rathiri or any other day.. like chanting rudram(came from vedas) in mass, or watching people chant rudram in temples itself will suffice... it creates hell lot of positive energies. Doing Rock songs with punjabis and clapping ur hands... sadly of no use..

6 years 5 months ago

From what i've seen, this 'gang' isnt into beliefs, but rather direct experience. That is why everything works for them: silence, mantras, classical music, and rock n roll :) awareness makes everything useful.

6 years 5 months ago

So much true Tina !!!!