Psychological Aspects of Shiva-yoga_

To attain to this high calling, the mystic in the Prasadi Sthala should not only reckon himself dead to the old ways of thought and imagination but he must also reckon himself alive into God’s power of life. He has to train his mind to think as far as is humanly possible from God’s standpoint, direct his imagination to visualize things from his point of view, so that he may become a swiftly sensitive and readily responsive receptacle of divine energy. Thus by being a perfect instrument of God, the Prasadi does not play at cross-purposes with His will. By an intution in his nature, an inspiration in his heart, and a reason in his mind he puts himself to the service of some strong ideal, some intelligent force and serves God and understands the firm Teacher. The Prasadi understands His stern yet loving compulsion in things and learns progress not by struggle and suffering but by obedience. To this end, the mystic in this stage lets his thoughts dwell in God, build up the consciousness of his power to the exclusion of all the fearing and worrying tendency with regard to the past or future. He does resolutely keep God’s all power in the very front of his consciousness and sees all the difficulties and anxieties through the light of his consciousness. This would bring deep stillness and unity of being and conserve all his energies for action. Thus the sine quo non of the Prasadi Sthala finds its justification in the saying, right thought is the infallible source of right action.

By training the cognitive dispositions, by cleansing the doors of perception and by being a perfect instrument of God, the mystic intuits self in natural things, the sense of unity in separateness, the evolutionary sweep of a mighty and actual life pulsating throughout the universe. It is this mighty and actual life that is called Prana-Linga in Shiva-yoga; and the Sadhaka of Shiva-yoga who becomes conscious of living reality of this world of becoming, the vast arena of divine activity, the indwelling creative power, as the very soul of immanent reality of the things is known as Prana Lingi, The self in this fourth stage participates actively and open-eyed in its mighty journey towards its God, and seeing with illumined sight all things and creatures as they are in that transcendent order, detects in them too that striving of creation to return to its centre which is the secret of the universe. To the Pranalingi the universe is presented as an expression of life; great cosmic life transcending and including our own life as an expression of the universe. The strange passionate philosophy of Neitzsche is really built upon an intense belief in this supernal nature and value of life. But the charm of his philosophy is marred by the one-sided individualism which precluded him from holding a just balance between the life of ego and the life of all. Says the pranalingi, “Give yourself to this divine and infinite life, mysterious cosmic energy in which you are ersed and of which you are born. Trust it, let it surge in on you, cast off the fetters of the senes, the remora of desire and making your interests identical with those of the all, rise to, freedom, to that spontaneous creative life which is inherent in every individual self, is our share of the universe. You are yourself vital, a free centre of energy did you but know it. You can move to higher levels, to greater reality, truer self-fulfilment, if you will. Though you be like an oyster in your shell you can open that shell to the living waters without and draw from the immortal vitality. Thus only by contact with the real self you know reality.”

We may then conclude the status of Pranalingi with these words of William James : “Along with the consciousness of the cosmos there occurs an intellectual enlightenment or illumination which alone would place the individual on a new plane of existence – would make him almost a member of a new species. To this is added a state of moral exaltation, an indescribable feeling of elevation, elation of joyousness and a quickening of the moral sense which is fully as striking and more important both to the individual and to the race than is the enhanced intellectual power. With these come, what may be called a sense of immortality, a consciousness of eternal life not a conviction that he shall have this but the consciousness that he has it already”.

The attainment of this exalted status is indeed a wonder and wonder lies not in the degree of the fact but in the fact itself, that the universe is not a mechanism but a life and that we are that life. The real cause of all intuitive knowledge-whether it be the exquisite dawn of love in youth or maiden or the intense fervour of creative genius or whether it be the religious frenzy of the saint or the rapt ecstacy of the mystic lies in the fact that it is the revelation of the self to the self, the great discovery by the individual self of the potentiality of its own infinite nature, of its own mighty power. It is a discovery of this potential mighty power which is the cause of all this manifested drama of space and time that forms the fulcrum of the fifth stage of Sharana Sthala. This almighty power is, as the Sharana observes, the inherent one yet variable inner force of all the changes of object consciousness. It is a fundamental truth of the becoming, a truth that supports and gives a spiritual significance to all its appearances. It is that, which determines the primary law of all becoming since it is the eternal seed from which all other things are the developments and derivations.This eternal seed or Shakti is the power of the spritual being, the conscious will of the Supreme, seed which the Absolute casts into the supramental vastness from which the manifested drama of space and time came into being.

The Sharana therefore believes more readily in a divine will, feels more vitally conscious of the spiritual urge in the irresistible sub-conscious intention of the world. For the order of the things in the cosmic life there is a great unseen power, an universal will, a cosmic force or law at work which not only gives us all the frame-work and condition of our idea and effort but evolves by them and by the law of these conditions out of the thing in being the thing that is to be. This power deals with us not so much according to the devices of reason and fictions of our intelligence, but according to the truth and sinerity of our being. Since the Sharana is a man of action, he will often seize on the idea of that universal force to divinise to himself the mighty energy that he feels driving him on the path of world altering deeds. In the eloquent words of Shri Aurobindo, “He is like a shell discharged from some dim titanic howitzer planted in concealment far behind this first line of trenches which we see thrown out by life into the material world; or he is like a planet sped out from Nature’s hands with its store of primal energy sufficient for its given time, its fixed service to the world-life, its settled orbit round sovereign light. He expresses in the idea of fate the living and constant sense of the energy which has cast him down here whether to break like some Vedic Marut the world’s nrm and established things or to cut through mountains a path down which new rivers of human destiny can pour. Like Indra or Bhagiratha he precedes, the throng of the divine waters follow. His movement decides their course; here Indus shall flow, there Ganges pace yellow leonine to the sea. Therefore we find that greatest men of action the world has seen were believers in fate or a divine will.”

Last comes the Aikya Sthala, the sixth stage which is characterised by a rarified psychological state of unitary consciousness that implies the invariable sense of unity or wholeness which accompanies the mystic experience. That there is a psychological sequence right up from the begining of Bhakta Sthala to the end of Aikya Sthala would be clear enough if we take a bird’s eye-view of the psychological basis of all The psychological basis of Bhakta Sthala is affective; of Mahesha, the conative; of Prasadi, the cognitive; of Pranalingi, the intuitive, of Sharana, the executive and of Aikya, the unitive. What does the psychology of this unitive state represent? It represents the final and successful establishment of that unitary consciousness which has been struggling for supremacy during the whole of the pilgrim’s progress. The deepest and richest levels of human personality have now attained to light and freedom. The soul has at last unified itself with the Supreme and with the cessation of stress and stir, spiritual strength has been liberated for new purposes,.

Sat-sthala – Six steps in Shiva-yoga depicting six evolutionary states of consciousness

In that act of union there is no suppression of life but a sublimation in its form. This change consists in the perfecting of personality by the utter surrender of want or desire which is the badge of subjection with its attendant discord and suffering. By an absolute renunciation of desire and its knot, the soul’s delight and being become self possession of the Aikya. It is only by Ananda or delight of being at once transcendent and universal, that man can be free in his soul and yet live in the world the full active life. For to that perfect person or Aikya there is nothing whatsoever in the universe that is really separate, individual or discrete, that every thing in its wholeness and completeness would expand to infinity and become the Absolute all; that every atom is balanced against the whole universe and acts and reacts at every moment with the whole and that whole is present at every moment, in every thing however minute it may be. This reveals that every thing depends upon what the Aikya sees, how he looks at existence soul’s view of things. Being and becoming, one and many are both true and are both the same thing. The Aikya has the knowledge of reality and lives in the truth consciousness, his will becomes the spontaneous law of the truth in him and knowing all its acts and the objective leads straight to the human destiny which is the enjoyment of delight – the state of immortality. From contact set up with the divine delight, he draws that amazing strength, that immovable peace, that power of dealing with circumstance which is one of the most marked tics of the unitive or eternal life. This is the psychological aspect of Shiva-yoga; I have dealt elsewhere with its physiological, biological aspects.

– Practice of Shivayoga –

Ishtalinga is an indispensable aid to Shivayoga and it is a stone with glazing covering. Since the steadfast gaze on the ishtalinga or Linga on the left palm generates magnetism, Linga is a crystal magnet. Linga is made of light grey slate stone and to be kept intact, it is covered all over with a fine durable paste prepared out of certain ingradients. The colour of Ajna Chakra or naso-ciliary plexus situated in the centre of the eye brows is also indigo. The colour of the coating of Linga and that of Ajna chakra being akin in nature, they act and react upon each other, thus enriching the magnetic force or intuitive power.

In Shivayoga the steadfast gazing at Linga is of vital importance, because it generates magnetism which galvanises into activity the dormant pineal gland. As a result of sustained look at Linga, the transmuted energies rise up the nerve channel into the medulla oblongata through the pons then pass down into the pituitary behind the eyes. The increasing pituitary radiations finally pass through the third ventricle until they awaken the pineal gland and the third eye lights up between them. Thus Shivayoga teaches us the technique of opening the third eye.

Practice of Shivayoga should be done early in the morning or/and late in the evening. The process is as follows: Place the Linga on the palm of the left hand so raised as to come in a line with the center of the eyebrows, behind the back and just above the left shoulder a burning candle or an oil fed lamp should be placed so that the light of the candle or the lamp is reflected in the Linga. With half closed eyes the aspirant should fix his attention on the speck of light reflected in Linga, the coating of which is blue black or indigo serving to widen and deepen concentration. The concentrated gaze generates psychic heat or tapas which stirs into activity the pineal gland. This produces spiritual light or tejas which in turn, leads to the release of ojas or the thought power which is at once a power of vision and a power of execution. Shivayoga therefore lands one into a region of effective will and intuitive knowledge, where to will is to create, to think is to see.



This article ‘Psychological Aspects of Shiva-yoga’ is taken from H.H.Mahatapasvi Shri Kumarswamiji’s book,’Dimensions of Yoga’.