Shiva, the Masculine Principle in Tantra

 

 

In the Hindu pantheon, Shiva is one of gods in the Divine trinity composed of Brahma, Vishnu and Himself, each representing one of the three aspects of the Divine, that is The Creator, The Sustainer and respectively The Destroyer of the Universe. Shiva is said to live in Svarloka, the realm of gods and demi-gods ruled by Indra, the greatest among them.

Shiva, as distinguished from Parama-Shiva, corresponds to that aspect of the ultimate Reality which is pure consciousness, pure subject, pure I, without even the slightest notion of “I am” or “I am this” or “I am here”.

In his Tantra-Loka, Abhinava Gupta refers to Shiva as “the Mother and the Father of the Universe”. Shiva is the seed, or origin of the multidimensional universe, giving rise to all other ontological categories. Yet, there is no duality in Shiva because he is still completely immersed in blissful union with Shakti.

However, in order to understand properly this fundamental concept of Tantrism, which is the masculine principle – Shiva, we should look back towards the roots of Tantra.

Tantrism enjoys suddenly an immense popularity among philosophers and teologicians as well as among “practitioners” (yogis, ascetics, etc.), its prestige reaching the folk strata. All great Hindu religions have thus assimilated Tantra in one form or another. This process had actually begun thousands of years beforehand, during the Aryan civilization and during the blending of the different co-existing traditions (Dravidian, etc).

The legend says that during these inflaming times a great man was born, named Sadashiva. His name means “the one who dedicated his life to the well-being of his fellows”. Sadashiva, known as Shiva, was an outstanding spiritual teacher or Guru. He was the one who first offered humanity a systematic presentation of a sheer spiritual thought. As the legend goes, he is the one to set the basis of spiritual dance and music in India and is therefore known also as NATARAJA, The God of Cosmic Dance.

Moreover, the real founder of Hindu traditional medicine and also the provider of a system and knowledge in this field (bearing the name Vadyak Shastra) is nonetheless Shiva.

Shiva played an extremely important role in the social area as well. He is the creator of the system of marriage, in which both partners accept equal responsibilities, disregarding caste or community. Shiva himself came from a mixed family and through his marriage to an Aryan princess helped a lot in unifying the warring fractions in India at that time. The Hindu sage Sri Shankar, expert in studies and research on Tantrism, considers Shiva as a real father of human civilization.

However, Shiva’s most important contribution to the development of a truly spiritual civilization represents the concept of DHARMA. DHARMA is a Sanskrit word translated literally as “innate characteristic”. Which may be the innate characteristic of a human being? Shiva explained that human beings seek and yearn for happiness placed beyond that originated in the satisfaction of the senses. The indisputable aim of all human beings, whether aware of this or not, is to obtain absolute peace and freedom, infinite knowledge and spiritual beatitude.

Shiva’s ideas were transmitted orally at first, then in written form. Parvati, his wife used to ask him questions on topics raised by the spiritual practice he taught.

The tantra-s (texts, writings which present the tantric philosophy and practice) are in fact the dialogues between Shiva and his wife Parvati, dialogues in which Parvati asks questions on spiritual matters and Shiva gives divine answers.

The tantra-s are divided into two great categories:

1. The theoretic principles of the tantric system. Tantric philosophy and conceptions on different matters are to be found in the writings named NIGAMA.

2. The practices through which the proposed aims may be attained; the different methods, techniques and procedures are to be found in the texts named AGAMA.

Many of these antique manuscripts were lost for good, others are damaged by time, and others still are unreadable by the mundane because of their coded text meant to hide the tantric secrets from the eyes of the unknowledgeable. This is also one reason for which the conceptions and fundaments of Tantra have not been completely decoded up to our days.

Part of Shiva’s original teachings were lost, other parts were spread on large areas, being assimilated in different ways and under different forms in the traditions and local schools.

Each Hindu believer followed his own path, according to their inner aspirations, choosing one spiritual current which implied the adoration of one of these three gods.

Thus, Tantrism and Yoga are specially oriented towards the adoration of Shiva and are therefore called Shaivites, and this spiritual current is named Shaiva. Others have turned towards the cult of Vishnu, named Vaishnava.

We should nonetheless carefully distinguish between different spiritual currents and opposing spiritual currents, which is not the case of Shaivism and Vaishnavism. Some Western studies have committed the error of sustaining the idea that there were
antithesis, competitions and even fighting between the two spiritual currents. The Western searcher should properly understand that for the Hindu, Shiva and Vishnu represent two complementary aspects of Brahma, The Creator. The first of these two gods, Shiva represents the destructive, transforming and reiterating principle of the infinite Creation, while the latter – the animating, conservative principle, which maintains the creation in its whole.

Unfortunately, nowadays Tantra appears to most people as a tenebrous, unbreakable and controversial mystery owing to a multitude of misunderstandings and misconceptions that occured in the minds of some of the “reputed” Western researchers of Tantra.

The Tantrics (that is the practitioners of Tantra) and the Yoghis (the practitioners of Yoga) belong to the Shaivite current. The aspect of the Ultimate Reality in the form of the Transformer, the renewer of an eternally vivacious, effervescent Creation suited best to their spiritual quest and ardor.

Shaivism presents Shiva as endowed with all the attributes of the Supreme Divinity, and therefore He is the Supreme Creator. His symbolic representation while performing the magic dance of creation is an iconographic theme quite rich in symbolism and offers us an idea about the rhythm of life of the whole creation, and as well of its destruction. We will discuss these aspects in detail further on.

The name Shiva signifies “the good and the kind”. Paradoxically, He is the designated God of destruction, but this must not be understood as the destroyer of human being, but the destroyer of ignorance and corruption in the human nature. Thus, He is an infinitely benevolent force as He rapidly casts away the restraining ignorance and allows human beings to contemplate His magnificence.


The Human Body – Temple Of The Spirit

“I look at you and am convinced of one thing, that you once had something – some treasure, some symmetry, some secret, some key – but you have lost it. Every moment, asleep or awake, you are always busy looking for something. It is quite possible you do not know exactly what you are searching for and that you are unaware of what you have lost, but I see the hunger in your eyes. It is apparent in every beat of your heart.”

RASHNEESH

With these words, Osho has said all about human misery, about human love, about human soul. A soul who is in a perpetual quest from the begining of time, and whose quest no one knows when it reaches the end.

It is indeed the quest for that “something” we sometimes seem to find on the tip of our tongue, but yet we cannot express it.

However, how could we get to truly discover and experience this undefinable “something”?

The Tantrics say that the answer is right here, right now. Begin with what you find in your immediate vecinity, and you shall see it all.

So let’s take a look at the Tantric view of the human body!

With the Tantrism, the human body reaches an unprecedented importance in the whole history of all spiritual disciplines. Of course that health and vigor, the interest for a physiology resembling to the Cosmos, and consequently sanctified are ancient values, but the Tantrism pushes the conception that health is possible only in a “divine body” up to extreme limits.

Thus, the body is no longer the source of all suffering, but the most secure, the most perfect instrument man has in his attempt “to conquer death.”
Moreover, because it is perfectly possible that we reach the ultimate state in this very life, the body must be preserved in a perfect state for a long period, precisely because it allows human beings to meditate.

In this appreciation and possibilities of the human body, we may distinguish two different, but convergent orientations:
1. The importance of the total experience of life as being part of the sadhana. This is the general position of all tantric schools.
2. Moreover, there is the desire to control the body in order to transform it into a divine body. This is the Hatha Yogic position. This control should start in a humble manner, with a precise knowledge of all bodily functions and organs.

The great majority of spiritual schools and currents begin their presentations with the soul and blame the body.
However, Tantra begins by using what is at hand, in this case with the body itself. Tantra accepts everything, approves and, most important transforms everything, sexuality included.

Tantra offers solutions and engages on the path of self-discovery from the actual level of the human being who has reached a certain level of understanding.

In the case of our contemporary society, the human body is perceived as being the one and only existing reality, and the sexuality (unfortunately perverted and misunderstood) – as the unique pleasure.

In such circumstances, Tantra opposes to the opaque vision of contemporary man the sacred perspective of the body as a divine place, a jumping board towards the invisible Reality.

Consequently, the human body reveals itself to the one interested in discovering its secrets as a special and complex vehicle, through whose systematic exploration man may apprehend his own secrets and transform his energies.
For a genuine tantric approach, the body is a true friend, whom he accepts, cares for and loves beyond age, form or color.

Beauty comes from the spirit because in fact the spirit clothes the body, not the proper clothing.
Consequently, the body must be respected, purified, maintained as clean and healthy as possible (on the inside and on the outside), as this respect proves the proper attitude towards the Macrocosm itself.
One must not visit dozens and hundreds of temples in order to find God, as sometimes this search may be superfluous and without any real value.
For those who can understand and feel this, your own body is meant precisely for this purpose and should be regarded as a gift from God.

Kundalini – The Colossal Cosmic Power

“The Wise Yogi will lead Kundalini in order to get together with its Master, who is in the Place of complete Freedom, in the pure lotus from the top of the head. When Kundalini rises, all things are being absorbed by HER.”

Shatchakra Nirupana

Most esoteric traditions talk about a huge power, inherent in every human being. This power is called in Tantra “the woman inside” or KUNDALINI SHAKTI.

It is like a dangerous, rolled snake situated at the base of the spine. This extraordinary force, latent in every man, can act constructively and also destructively.

KUNDALINI might be interpreted both physically and metaphysically. The root KUNDA means “basin” or “source”. From this point of view, kundalini means the mixture of primordial elements of earth. From a worldly, mundane point of view KUNDALINI appears regularly and produces real disasters once in a while as earthquakes and eruptions of volcanoes.

As far as “individual” kundalini is concerned, it is situated in the sexual region and represents a sort of “inner, hidden fire” with a huge potential. This KUNDALINI SHAKTI is, in fact, the sexual force itself that may enslave or free you from the human limited condition.

As a latent power, necessary to spiritual progress, kundalini shows especially to those who attempt to understand the mysteries of sexuality.

Tantra presents different methods of “waking up” and driving the kundalini energy. According to Gheranda Samhita, “The Great Goddess Kundalini, who is the primordial energy of the Self itself, sleeps in the region of sex. It has the shape of a snake coiled three and a half times.

As long as it remains asleep, the individual spirit (jiva) will be limited in its actions, and true knowledge won’t get to the man. But just like the right key may unlock a door, the HATHA-YOGA can unlock Kundalini’s door and let the self experience the union with Brahma and reach the final state.”

The same text explains the way to wake and control the infinite power of Kundalini by using breath retention, focus and mental repetition of certain sounds (MANTRAS) or certain body positions (ASANAS):

“Take a comfortable position and breathe in deeply, visualizing the PRANA (the energy of life) getting together with APANA (the body descendant energy). Contract your rectum (exercising the contraction of anal sphincters) and visualize the vital breath getting into the Great Central Channel, a little upper from the spine base. By holding breath kundalini starts to tremble and to feel suffocated.

Then, wake up the Kundalini Goddess by repeating mentally the sound-seed “hum”. Say “SOHAM” (“I am THAT”) while you imagine that you are overwhelmed by Shakti, in close union with Shiva. Raise the Kundalini energy from the inferior zone and contemplate the union of the pure Spirit of Shiva with Shakti, the primordial energy.”

Yogis spend a lot of time preparing for the awakening of Kundalini. It requires a great mental force, the full conscience of the ascendant motion of the amazing sexual energy and an equilibrated and harmonious body.

Because the physical well fare of the body is connected directly to food and mental attitude, these factors would have to be the foundation of Kundalini’s awakening preparative. Each stage of preparation is simple enough to anyone who wants to follow it. Once the principles are understood, there are necessary only the desire and action.

Sexual contact is possible to stimulate and wake up the Kundalini Shakti. Sometimes the couple experiences this cosmic force spontaneously by converging naturally the vital energies during intercourse.

Long-time physical effort, especially in lovemaking practiced with sexual continence, can be the condition of the awakening of Kundalini. Deep breaths, the motion of sex-region, breathing exchange, sighs and other specific sounds from during intercourse (like “Hmm”, “Ahhh”, and “Uhhh”) all represent factors that play an important role in stimulating the “Serpent” Power.

The experience of waking up and rising of Kundalini is unmistakable. You can feel it as an inner thrill, as a “liquid fire”, hot and cold at the same time, like electricity, which almost lights up and sets free and even stops the breath.

Sometimes it can be a frightening experience, but if your mental attitude is correct, then it would be easier for you to channel this huge energy positively.

If Kundalini is awakened and raised through a spontaneous sexual act, filled with frenzy and love, then the couple will have the opportunity to experience things that the ordinary human beings can’t even think of.

For the couple who follows the Tantric path, Kundalini is the corner stone that can help them reach the ecstasy and the final Freedom. Its power turns all biological instincts into aspiration in order to obtain transcendence.

Visualize Kundalini in yourself as well as in your lover. Drive it carefully and lovingly along your body, upwards. Open it up way from the sexual zone to the top of your head and fill your heart with the energy of Shiva and Shakti. Imagine that you get up in the air, higher and higher and free yourself of any attachments and of world’s duality.

“When goddess Kundalini, who is asleep, is awaken because of the spiritual master, all the lotuses and all attachments are being penetrated by an irresistible force. May that the wise man complete his control over goddess Kundalini in a firm way, because She is the one who gives him miraculous powers.”

Shiva Samhita

The Mind and the Heart in Tantra Yoga

 

 

 

“Because of the same facts that bring slavery to an ignorant, the wise man can free himself from the pain of this world. The main principle is that the fact should be accompanied by the lack of differences between the “mind” and the “heart”.”

Advayasiddha

 

The heart and the mind are two distinct parts of the human body considered in the West as the main cause of the psychic disturbances. But – and it is better that you understand this very well – though the Body Temple is made of several parts, it represents an indestructible Divine Unity as a whole.

We often say, “the heart rules the mind” when, for example, someone loses his/her control because of the strong emotions. We also say, “the head rules the heart” when the mind is cold and calculated, not at all influenced by feelings.

In both cases one of the centres dominates the other. This “misunderstanding” between the mind and the heart always produced problems among humans and it is thus completely incompatible with the ecstasy, free from selfishness that belongs to the Tantric love.

In the mystical Eastern tradition there is the idea of “giving up to lust and flesh pleasures in order to conceive the ones of the spirit”. But in real life this is a hopeless effort and mainly because of the fact that what is forbidden will finally end up going up to the surface, at the wrong time.

Tantra teaches us how to use our all body abilities as well as the mind’s and the heart’s on the way to the Final Freedom. This is how we understand this as a whole. Thus the emotions and passions can be turned into the joy of the divine ecstasy.

But such a transformation takes place because of a strong connection between the head and the heart, sense and emotion. The Tantric image of this process can be expressed in a metaphor; “the fire of emotion mixes up with the waters of the wisdom”.

The notion of mutual exchange and enrichment of emotions represents an essential face of the Tantric erotic game. It makes possible the real exchange of emotions and wonderful feelings between lovers.

The Tantric love puts together all the aspects of emotions and of intellect. It will lead the lovers to the experience of cosmic ecstasy by reaching the conscience of the Universal Self.

“When there is only lust there is no freedom. And when there is no freedom we cannot find pleasure. But together, pleasure and freedom from pleasure is in the hands of the one who is devoted to the Supreme Being.”

Kaularahasya

 

LOOSE CERTAIN HABITS THAT LIMIT YOU
Giving up certain negative habits or in other words giving up those attitudes that limit human abilities of feeling deep happiness can accelerate the evolution of the human being. When you notice that you say or think like: “But I cannot change THIS… I HAVE ALWAYS done it like that”, and then you should know that “THIS” is the first habit that you have to get rid of.

Not being at random is your victory on negative habits. It is one of the most restrictive domains there are. Any act of will has a magical power and it is a lot more efficient than an automatism or than something done with no intention.

The body has the extraordinary ability to adjust, even when it is, apparently, stiffed because of rigid life conditions. The force necessary to make a change exists in every human being, but it is better not to wait for a crisis to appear in order to get rid of a negative habit. Our own surviving as a species depends on our capacity to change and adjust.

Mental habits are a lot more difficult to change than the physical ones because they are never so obvious. Most of them exist because of how our parents or society have taught us. They limit our view on life and make us feel safe, though this it not at all true.

They make us forget about our inner Self and blur our power of comprehension and our conscience. This is dangerous for our intimate relations. Often we fight with the others and do not understand them because we do not see these habits.

In order to avoid this it is important and necessary to have a strong will. A couple should have a strong will in order to change themselves, to progress, to evolve spiritually. When the initial fear of change is overwhelmed, then you can experience new realities in life.

Certain sexual restrictions throw a shadow on a couple relations and that is why Tantra requires absolute adaptability. All Eastern teachings on sexual mystery underlines the necessity of variation and spontaneity in life.

“The obstacle represented by habits appears and is destroying. Kill this bug and you will be able to know.”

Tilopa

 

The Body’s Hidden Structure

 

 

 

“Here, in this body, there are the sacred rivers. Here lie the sun and the moon and also all the holy pilgrimage places. I have never met another temple fuller with happiness as my own body.”

Saraha Doha

 

The physical body represents the temple of the spirit, a true microcosm, the copy of the entire Universe. Inside this temple there can be identified all the cosmic principles. The Tantrism teaches us that there is no temple more sacred than the “Temple of the Body”.

Inside the body there are five elements: space, air, water, fire and earth, along with their properties. This temple of the body has its own “gardens”, “rivers”, “sanctuaries” and “gates”. By definition the temple represents a place of adoration, dedicated to God.

But God, according to the Tantric learning, represents our Supreme Self that has to be known and adored in the body-temple.

Tantra also teaches us that there are nine “gates” to the temple of the body. They lie in the upper and in the lower parts of the body. “The lower gates” are the anal orifice and the one of the sexual organ.

“The upper gates” are the mouth, the nose, the eyes, the ears and the opening from the top of the head (fontanel). The fontanel is clearly visible at the moment of birth as a little hole, but it closes up gradually during the first year of living.

The esoteric Eastern tradition says that this hole under the scalp, also called as “The Brahma‘s Gate”, is the place where the Spirit goes in and out the Temple of the Body. Though the spirit in its successive subtle journeys can use other gates, the one that lies on top of the head leads always to the high spiritual level.

The Temple of the Subtle Body contains three main “rivers” and other affluent one flows from them. The Great River or the “psychical channel” starts from the inferior gate region, the perineum. It goes up the spine to the high gate situated on top of the head. This channel is also called the Great Axe, the Meru Sacred Mountain or the Great Way. It connects the human to the universe.

On each part of the Great River there are other two “rivers” that spring from the same source and go to the superior gates. They are associated with solar energies and lunar energies; on the right side of the Central Channel is the channel through which the solar energies flow and on the left side of the Central Channel is the channel through which the lunar energies flow.

They are represented as spiral lines round the Great River just like two snakes surround a tree trunk. This symbol is known as the caduceus, or the “Mercury Sceptre”. It was used as a symbol by modern medicine.

The adoring of the Body Temple consists in focusing the attention in order to guide the sexual energy along the spine towards the crown. This evolutionary process is experienced as an ecstatic thrill. It goes up from the sexual region and lights up the solar plexus.

The fire of love floods the three rivers and the solar and lunar energies get together and, in this way, enlighten the entire temple. This psychic and cosmic process also looks like an ecstatic emotion that words cannot describe.

By understanding the psychic ways, the sexual experience can become a real force. By practicing the Tantric techniques the human can experience consciously the orgasm and the transcendental bliss.
It is extremely important to see the body exactly as a temple.

This temple of the body must be kept clean, healthy and harmonious. Thus he shows respect to the God inside. Do not be afraid to go as far as you can to visualize your body as a temple. Sincere adoration represents, first of all, a spontaneous and total act of love.

Such an act of adoring, during intercourse, will make all your desires become real. One of the cardinal principles of Tantra is that love is an act of great magical and spiritual potency.

“When my lover comes back home I will turn my body into a Temple of Joy. I will give him this body as an altar of happiness and I will clean him totally with my long hair. Then my lover will dedicate this temple to divine love.”

Vaishnav Baul’s Song

Polarity, Part 2

 

 

The Eastern tradition states that this high level of harmony is a tangible experience, which may be lived permanently by both man and woman. The erotic act becomes thus a path of adoring God in the temple of love, body and soul.

THE STAGES IN THE EXPERIENCE OF THE PROFOUND ORGASM
1. First, perform 3, 6 or 9 superficial penetrations, followed by a profound one.

2. Stop any movement when you feel you get close to the ejaculation.

3. Hold each other and synchronize your breath.

4. Take a position that will allow a good control of the sexual energy. Focus mentally the sexual energy at the level of the upper chakras.

5. Focus on the balance between the Yin and Yang energies.

6. When the energy was transmuted and sublimated, and you feel your erection has decreased, you may start the dynamic movements, contracting the pelvic floor.

7. Take this energy to the upper chakras several times, each time higher. Meditate and focus on each chakra.

Women will benefit to a great degree if they will be active during the erotic play, as the methods of sexual continence will tone up the vaginal muscles, stimulate their hormonal activity and reach old age.

When one of the lovers gets close to the ejaculatory orgasm, he/she should ask his/her lover to cease all movement. They may control the energy by sublimating it on the upper chakras, and releasing the tension accumulated in the area of the genitalia.

TRANSFORM THE SEXUAL ENERGY INTO SPIRITUAL LOVE
This transformation occurs spontaneously in any couple aspiring to the Ultimate Reality. During a profound orgasm, the two lovers will have the experience of the opening and harmonious activation of the chakras, and the sublimation of the energy to the “One Thousand Petals Lotus”, Sahashrara.

Shiva, Shakti And Jiva

 

 

“The love game of Shiva transforms the entire Universe. The love between Shiva and Shakti make the world grow and go down. Shiva can see how his lover becomes a yogi when he is practicing Hatha-yoga, and a fascinating and seductive lover, when he feels the ardent desire of making love with her.”

Shiva Purana

In our article Bhakti and Shakti – Two important aspects for tantric lovers we have talked about the relationship between faith, devotion and the Creative Energy. We have introduced the concept of “androgyn”, meaning the masculine and the feminine co-exist together in each of us.

But every discussion about Shakti, the feminine principle in Tantrism, leads us to its counter part, Shiva, the masculine principle in Creation. We will talk about Shiva, from a transcendent perspective. But for now we’ll analyse briefly the relationship between Shiva and Shakti, so that the reader will be able to easily recognize the masculine principle within him or herself.

The Hindu terminology might seem extremely hard to understand at first, but with patience it will prove to be very useful.

Shiva, signifying the Universal masculine principle, may be found as well inside a man as inside a woman. The ancient texts named him “The Great God” or “The Divine Immortal Principle”, Shiva’s symbol is the phallus.

The lingam represents the Great Spirit, the Universal Spirits in effervescence. The stimulus is the Shakti-The Creative Energy that rotates round the cosmic errection of Shiva as an ocean of infinite variety, a true sea of sensations.

Egyptians, Greeks and Romans in Antiquity, as well as other people from the era b.Ch. worshiped the phallus as the symbol of the masculine principle. Shiva represents the yogic archetype, the Absolute Master of any being on the path of the spiritual evolution.

The Shiva Principle is directly linked to the Eternal Spirit. In the antique mythology, Shiva was presented as “the one who Defeats Death”

The whole universe is created from the union of the two immutable principles that represent the masculine and the feminine principles.

In Eastern iconography, Shiva is represented either as a lingam (a phallus), or as a lingam with a certain face, or as a column, or as a yogi sitting or standing with his lingam in erection, or as an anthropomorphic representation with many arms.

The Tantric works say that there is a lingam in each yoni. Anatomically speaking, this thing makes refference to the clitoris. When it is excited it is erect and reminds us of the inherent bisexuality in every woman.

The understanding of Shiva’s transcendence allows one to perceive the subtle worlds. During the Tantric erotic game try to identify with Shiva’s extraordinary mental energy. This will give you the transcending experience, which is a lot further than the limited world we live in.

Shiva is experimented as an understanding of the space depths, as a penetration in the infinite Universe, beyond any thing or any event, known or unknown. A Hindu Tantric text, Shiva Samhita, says that “those who can experiment Shiva’s principles are the heroes, enterprising, free from the sorrow and blind emotions, capable, perseverant, talented, happy and with a determined and disciplined mind.”

Transcendence can’t be known or perceived from a worldly point of view because, by definition, it goes beyond any limits of the known Universe.

Now, let me introduce you another important concept: Jiva. It means the individual soul. It is compared to a solitary ray of the great sun Brahma, the Creator.

Shiva Samhita presents briefly the nature and the function of Jiva.
It says: “Jiva lives in the man’s body and in the woman’s body as well. It is covered in all kinds of desires. There is a strong and tight relationship between him and the body throughout karma that was accumulated in the past lives. Every being enjoys and suffers according to his/her own past actions. The Jiva who’s done many good and virtuous deeds will enjoy a happy life and wonderful conditions in this world. But the Jiva, who, on the contrary, has done many bad deeds, will never find his peace. No matter what is the nature of his desire, positive or negative, it will always cling to the Jiva and follow him all the time, during his countless reincarnations.”

The concepts of Shiva and Jiva, meaning the supreme masculine principle and the individual soul, are very important in understanding the Universe, especially while on the path of Tantric love. If you can identify yourself with Shiva-The Transcendent, you will have a profound inner vision over the wonderful play between man and woman.

And, if you are able to transfigure your lover as the embodiment of the transcendent, beyond all known limits of this world, then you will be able to fully enjoy the experience of transcendence.

If you worship your lover with love and devotion, the Shakti’s creative energy will awaken the Shiva inside you. Thus, having Shakti as counterpart, Shiva’s force (or in other words the Pure Conscience) will rise strongly inside you.

By an intimate union between Shiva and Shakti, in a complete ecstatic pleasure, Jiva or the individual soul gets free from the slavery of his past existence. Then the couple will be able to reach soon the final freedom.

“There is a bridge between Time and Eternity; this bridge is Jiva, the individual soul itself.”

Chandagya Upanishad

 

Shiva, The Masculine Principle In Tantra

In the Hindu pantheon, Shiva is one of gods in the Divine trinity composed of Brahma, Vishnu and Himself, each representing one of the three aspects of the Divine, that is The Creator, The Sustainer and respectively The Destroyer of the Universe. Shiva is said to live in Svarloka, the realm of gods and demi-gods ruled by Indra, the greatest among them.

Shiva, as distinguished from Parama-Shiva, corresponds to that aspect of the ultimate Reality which is pure consciousness, pure
subject, pure I, without even the slightest notion of “I am” or “I am this” or “I am here”.

In his Tantra-Loka, Abhinava Gupta refers to Shiva as “the Mother and the Father of the Universe”. Shiva is the seed, or origin of the multidimensional universe, giving rise to all other ontological categories. Yet, there is no duality in Shiva because he is still completely immersed in blissful union with Shakti.

However, in order to understand properly this fundamental concept of Tantrism, which is the masculine principle – Shiva, we should look back towards the roots of Tantra.

 

Tantrism enjoys suddenly an immense popularity among philosophers and teologicians as well as among “practitioners” (yoghis, ascets, etc.), its prestige reaching the folk strata. All great Hindu religions have thus assimilated Tantra in one form or another.This process had actually begun thousands of years beforehand, during the Arian civilization and during the blending of the different co-existing traditions (Dravidian, etc).

The legend says that during these inflaming times a great man was born, named Sadashiva. His name means “the one who dedicated his life to the well-being of his fellows”. Sadashiva, known as Shiva, was an outstanding spiritual teacher or Guru. He was the one who first offered humanity a systematic presentation of a sheer spiritual thought. As the legend goes, he is the one to set the basis of spiritual dance and music in India and is therefore known also as NATARAJA, The God of Cosmic Dance.

Moreover, the real founder of Hindu traditional medicine and also the provider of a system and knowledge in this field (bearing the name Vadyak Shastra) is nonetheless Shiva.

Shiva played an extremely important role in the social area as well. He is the creator of the system of marriage, in which both partners accept equal responsibilities, disregarding caste or community. Shiva himself came from a mixed family and through his marriage to an Arian princess helped a lot in unifying the warring factions in India at that time. The Hindu sage Sri Shankar, expert in studies and research on Tantrism, considers Shiva as a real father of human civilization.

However, Shiva’s most important contribution to the development of a truly spiritual civilization represents the concept of DHARMA. DHARMA is a Sanskrit word translated literally as “innate characteristic”. Which may be the innate characteristic of a human being? Shiva explained that human beings seek and yearn for happiness placed beyond that originated in the satisfaction of the senses. The indisputable aim of all human beings, wheather aware of this or not, is to obtain absolute peace and freedom, infinite knowledge and spiritual beatitude.

Shiva’s ideas were transmitted orally at first, then in written form. Parvati, his wife used to ask him questions on
topisc raised by the spiritual practice he taught.

The tantra-s (texts, writings which present the tantric philosophy and practice) are in fact the dialogues between Shiva and his wife Parvati, dialogues in which Parvati asks
questions on spiritual matters and Shiva gives divine answers.

The tantra-s are divided into two great categories:

1. The theoretic principles of the tantric system. Tantric philosophy and conceptions on different matters are to be found in the writings named NIGAMA.

2. The practices through which the proposed aims may be attained; the different methods, techniques and procedures are to be found in the texts named AGAMA.

Many of these antique manuscripts were lost for good, others are damaged by time, and others still are unreadable by the mundane because of their coded text meant to hide the tantric secrets from the eyes of the unknowledgeable. This is also one reason for which the conceptions and fundaments of Tantra have not been completely decoded up to our days.

Part of Shiva’s original teachings were lost, other parts were spread on large areas, being assimilated in different ways and under different forms in the traditions and local schools.

Each Hindu believer followed his own path, according to their inner aspirations, choosing one spiritual current which implied the adoration of one of these three gods.

Thus, Tantrism and Yoga are specially oriented towards the adoration of Shiva and are therefore called Shivaits, and this spiritual current is named Shaiva. Others have turned towards the cult of Vishnu, named Vaishnava.

We should nonetheless carefully distinguish between different spiritual currents and opposing spiritual currents, which is not the case of Shaivism and Vaishnavism. Some western studies have committed the error of sustaining the idea that there were antithesis, competitions and even fighting between the two spiritual currents. The Western searcher should properly understand that for the Hindu, Shiva and Vishnu represent two complementary aspects of Brahma, The Creator. The first of these two gods, Shiva represents the destructive, transforming and reiterating principle of the infinite Creation, while the latter – the animating, conservative principle, which maintains the creation in its whole.

Unfortunately, nowadays Tantra appears to most people as a tenebrous, unbreakable and controversial mystery owing to a multitude of misunderstandings and misconceptions that occured in the minds of some of the “reputed” Western researchers of Tantra.

The Tantrics (that is the practitioners of Tantra) and the Yoghis (the practitioners of Yoga) belong to the Shaivist current. The aspect of the Ultimate Reality in the form of the Transformer, the renewer of an eternally vivacious, effervescent Creation suited best to their spiritual quest and ardor.

Shaivism presents Shiva as endowed with all the attributes of the Supreme Divinity, and therefore He is the Supreme Creator. His symbolic representation while performing the magic dance of creation is an iconographic theme quite rich in symbolism and offers us an idea about the rhythm of life of the whole creation, and as well of its destruction. we will discuss these aspects in detail further on.

The name Shiva signifies “the good and the kind”. Paradoxically, He is the designated God of destruction, but this must not be understood as the destroyer of human being, but the destroyer of ignorance and corruption in the human nature. Thus, He is an infinitely benevolent force as He rapidly casts away the restraining ignorance and allows
human beings to contemplate His magnificence.


 

Shaiva Siddhanta

 

 

PART 2
In central India, the Shaiva Siddhanta of the Sanskrit tradition was institutionalized for the first time by Guhavasi Siddha (approx. 675 A.D.). The third successor on this lineage, Rudrashambhu, also known as Amardaka Tirthanatha, founded the monastic order Amardaka (approx. 775 A.D. in the Andhra Pradesh province).

Ever since, three monastic orders that were essential in the spreading of the Shaiva Siddhanta philosophy all throughout India. Besides the Amardaka order, (identified with one the the holy cities of the shaivism, Ujjain), there were also the Mattamayura order, in the capital of the Calukya dynasty, near Punjab, and the Madhumateya order, in central India.

Each of these developed numerous sub-order with a missionary spirit and they have used the influence of their royal protectors in order to spread their teachings in the neighboring areas, especially in the southern India. The Mattamayura order established monasteries in the areas Maharashtra, Kainataka, Andhra and Kerala (approx. 800 A.D.).

Of many guru-s and spiritual teachers, (acarya) who followed and spread the Shaiva Siddhanta throughout India, two siddha-s Sadyojyoti and Brihaspati from the central India are said to have systematized the theology in the Sanskrit language.

Sadyojyoti, initiated by the Cashmere guru Ugrajyoti, preached the Siddhanta as they were specified in Raurava Agama. His successors were Ramakantha I, Srikantha, Narayanakantha, and Ramakantha II, each of the writing many texts on the Shiva Siddhanta.

Later on, the king Bhoja Paramara from Gujarat (approx. 1018) summarized the massive corpus of scriptural texts Siddhanta that preceded him in a concise metaphysical treatise named Tattva Prakasha, considered as the most important Sanskrit scripture of the Shaiva Siddhanta lineage.

Asserting the monist vision of the Shaiva Siddhanta, Shrikumara (approx 1056 A.D.) indicated in his commentary, Tatparyadipika on Bhija Paramaras works the fact that pati, pashu and pasha (God, the being and the bonds) are in the end one, the essence of everything. Shrikumara kept the idea that Shiva is simultaneously the material and effective cause of the universe.

Shaiva Siddhanta was quickly accepted wherever it spread in India, and continued to blossom until the Islamic invasions which virtually annihilated any trace of the Shaiva Siddhanta in the northern and central India, limiting its unhindered practice to the southern areas of the subcontinent.

In the XIIth century, Aghorashiva had the mission of unifying the northern Siddhanta Sanskrit tradition with the Tamil southern one. As the leader of a monastic branch of the Amardaka order of Cidambaram, Aghorashiva gave an unique direction to the Shaiva Siddhanta tradition, preparing the path for a new pluralist school.

Refusing any monist interpretation of the Siddhanta, Aghorashiva brought a dramatic change in the understanding of God, classifying the first five principles (tattva or nada, bindu, saddashiva, ishvara and shuddhavidya) in the category of pasha (bonds), indicating that they were the effects of a cause and that inherently they were elements with no consciousness.

This was clearly a deviation from the traditional path, which presented the five elements mentioned above as being part of Shiva. Aghorashiva laid thus the foundation for a new Siddhanta, independent from the original Shaiva Siddhanta, which was monist and originar from Himalaya.

Despite his pluralist vision of Siddhanta, Aghorashiva was very successful in preserving the priceless Sanskrit rituals of the ancient agama-ic tradition in his writings.

Until today, the Siddhanta philosophy of Aghorashiva was followed by almost all the priests of the temples belonging to this lineage, and his texts, paddhati, on the agama-s have become the standard ritual manuals.

His work Kriyakramadyotika is a wide work, covering almost all the aspects of the Shaiva Siddhanta rituals, including the traditional puja-s diksha, samskara, atmartha and the installment of the deities.

In the XIIIth century, appeared another important achievement in the Shaiva Siddhanta, when Meykandar wrote the 12 Shivajnabodham verses.

This work, as those written after it, formed the theoretical basis of the Meykandar Sampradaya group, preaching a pluralist realism, where God, individual souls and the universe co-exist from the very beginning of things.

They saw the individual soul uniting itself with Shiva, as the salt dissolving into the water, an eternal unity, which is in the same time also duality. This school dominated through its literature the research that followed to such an extent that Shaiva Siddhanta is often identified with an exclusively pluralist school, which is of course wrong.

Actually there are two interpretations, one dualist and one monist, of which the first is the originar philosophical premise, found also in the scriptures preceding Meykandar, the Upanishads included.

Shaiva Siddhanta is rich in its traditions related to the temples, religious festivals, sacred arts, spiritual culture, priesthood, monastic orders, and spiritual lineages. All these are still in flower.

Today, the Shaiva Siddhanta is the most prominent spiritual path amongst the 60 billion Tamil Shaivites who live mostly in the southern India and Sri Lanka. Here, as anywhere, the societies, temples and monasteries are numerous.

Pashupata Shaivism

 

 

The Pashupata group is the oldest known Shaivist group, made of ascetic monks. Their name derives from Pashupati, a name of Shiva, meaning the “lord of animals”, in fact of all creatures.

The members of the Pashupata Shaivism were said to have wandered across the country, making the dust of the roads rise, having with them their iron tridents or solid cans, their hair oiled and wild, or kept in a loop, their faces burning with intense devotion, and having keen eyes that see Shiva more than the surrounding world. They wore deer leather or bark on their hips.

The Pashupata were devout (bhakta-s) and Shivas white magicians, estranged from a Vedic society dominated by priests.

The religious unrest from India intensified with the coming over the Gangas field of the two waves of agama-ic Shaivist and Buddhist theism.

The Pashupatas evolution and way of life were described by several historians of the time, who sometimes were hostile and left an ambiguous impression on their life and philosophy.

Initially, the Pashupatas would allow anyone to follow their path, disregarding of the caste and social status.

However, once the Pashupatas popularity increased, a great number of Brahmins joined this movement in order to worship Shiva in unconditional abandon.

Nonetheless, in many cases it was preferable for a Pashupata to come from the Brahmin caste. The relationship between these Pashupata monks and the sadhu-s covered in ashes is uncertain. They may be the same or they may be different.

The Pashupata sadhu-s imposed a religious respect wherever they would go. Their path was tough, a path of ruining the ego, designed to infuse the seeker with the karunya (Shivas compassionate grace).

Their austerity was combined with rites (puja) of worship devoted to Shiva, with a profound awareness of the Cosmos as being the perpetual becoming of Shiva, and with a playful spirit of love for Him.

The sadhana (spiritual practice) usually begun with the deepening of an ethical code (yama and niyama), the accent being laid on brahmacharya (abstinence, continence), ahimsa (nonviolence) and tapas (austerity).

As it was detailed in their scriptures, the discipline was practiced on stages. For the beginning they would assume various vows, and would practice various techniques for the release of the blockages.

These techniques included laughing, singing, dancing, all impregnated with the shaivic spirit.

In the next stage, they disappeared into the society and lived incognito. Here, they would practice various shocking actions, with the purpose of attracting the public disapproval and condemnation, gossiping, making strange sounds while in public, snoring, walking about as if they had been crippled, and so on.

This sadhana was a means of self-purification, of annihilation of the ego, of elimination of the instinctual need of being accepted in a group and society, and to implant into the subconscious the idea that liked or disliked, good or bad, all the opposites are equivalent if ones love for Shiva is truly powerful.

This stage of the practice was designed to break the ties with the society and even with ones own attachment for the human situation in which they appeared in this world.

Coming back to their sadhana, the Pashupatas were said to perform various austerities, them abandon any other action to practice kundalini yoga, so that they would come ever closer to Shiva.

When this union with Shiva grew in maturity, they would obtain super-natural powers (siddhi), such as omniscience and others.

The Pashupatas believed that when a person was firm in his or her virtue, and that person is capable to take serenely any abuse and insult, this person is well-established on the path of ascesis.

Shri Kaundinya wrote in his commentary from the 6th century, Pancartha Bhashya on the Pashupata Sutra that the Pashupata yogi “must appear as lunatic, beggar, with the body dirty, grown beard, long hair and nails, with no care whatsoever to the body. Thus, the devotee cuts off his or her access to fortunes (varna) and possessions (ashrama), and only thus the power of detachment is genuinely produced”.

The Pashupata-ism is first of all an ascetic path that does not value the dialectic logic and values instead sadhana as a means of obtaining Shivas grace.

The seekers on this path embrace strict vows regarding the observance of the ethical code yama and niyama, their sadhana ranging from “action” to “non-action”.

The devotional action included puja, penitences, Namah Shivaya japa, wearing the sacred ashes, and the proof of their infinite love for Shiva.