Shivayoga -Technique of Opening the Third Eye


Shiva-yoga is a technique of opening the third eye. The third eye is an enigmatic organ having a universal mythological history. It is the middle eye of Shiva; it is the eye of Horas of Egyptian tradition, it is the horn of the unicorn. The third eye is an organ apparently dormant but innately acquired by mankind whose awakening is the birth right of every individual. It is an organ of inner vision which embraces eternity, while the two physical eyes look before seeing neither the past nor the future.

Physiology has recognized the importance of the midbrain and of endocrine glands; it has therefore set a value upon the pituitary and pineal glands. A special relationship unites the pituitary gland with the roof of the third ventricle on the one hand and on the other with the whole system of ductless glands throughout the body. The third ventricle is a narrow slit lying near the base of cerebral hemispheres and separating the two thalamia from each other. At the posterior end of this slit, a small nodule of grey matter projects backwards and overhangs corpora quadrigemina of the mid brain. This is the pineal gland. It represents all that remains of the third eye which used to adorn the forehead of some of the lizard ancestors in far off times. This type of lizard is found only in New Zealand and it dates back to the end of palaeozoic period in the Permian epoch. One of the lizard’s feature is that it has a quite well developed third eye behind and between the usual two. This is known as the pineal eye and is represented in man as the pineal gland.


Anatomical location of pituitary and pineal gland
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The pituitary gland is situated at the base of the skull with its two lobes – anterior and posterior. The pineal gland is connected with the posterior portion of the pituitary. The pituitary gland gives tune to all other glands which are dependent upon it, just the way an orchestra is dependent upon the first violin. It controls the inner mobility and agility of the system promoting the proper growth of the body. It maintains the efficiency of the various structures and prevents the excessive accumulation of fat. The function of the pituitary is to control the development of the body to suit the development of consciousness. It exercises this function through the other ductless glands. The chief change which it brings into the organism is the awakening of the genetic functions by stimulating the sexual glands. But the pineal gland is there to prevent the pituitary from awakening the sexual functions too soon and acts as a check on the anterior lobe of the pituitary. This is why the pineal gland is associated with the spiritual nature of man.

The pineal gland is a rudimentary organ in most people, but it is evolving though slowly. It is possible to quicken its evolution into a condition in which it can perform its function of apprehending events comprehensively. The full development of this organ helps the yogi to transcend mathematical time which is only an illusion produced by the succession of states of consciousness, as one travels through eternal duration. In Yoga Shastra this pineal gland is spoken of as the third eye, the function of which takes place through the middle of the forehead. Hence in the symbolic representation of Shiva, we see in the middle of his forehead an opening with red flames issuing therefrom. This third eye is now atrophied simply because the tendency of man has grown downwards and it has got immersed in sexual pleasures. This eye and the organ of lust are said to be like two pans of a balance, one of which has to kick the beam when the other grows heavy. Only when man outgrows kama, lust or libido and makes it as light as possible that this third eye will reopen, that this pineal gland will flower out in brilliance.

In man there are organs for hearing, seeing, touching, tasting and smelling. Similarly, there is an organ for thought and it is the pineal gland. Of course it is dormant but it is possible to galvanize it into activity. When it is stirred into activity, thought force is raised to n-th degree, and cosmic intelligence begins to function. Scientists opine that the pineal gland is a relic of the third eye, hence it is vestigial. But the adepts affirm that it is embryonical and therefore it is capable of being developed. The whole process of Shiva-yoga is designed to bring about the development of this dormant pineal gland through the steadfast look at Linga.



Anatomical location of pituitary and pineal gland Pineal gland, Posteo-lateral view
              Image Courtesy — pineal_gland.aspx, bibliothek/electricity.html

 The pineal gland is a tiny cone-shaped body in the middle of the head behind and just above the pituitary. It contains pigment similar to that found in the eyes and is connected by two nerve cords with optic thalamia. It is said to control the action of light upon the body and for this reason the scientists have suggested that it is the remnant of the third eye. Yoga science has pronounced it to be the seat of cosmic consciousness. When pituitary and pineal have become fully developed and stimulated, their vibrations fuse and stir into life the third eye, the eye of the soul. When the third eye opens, man will have personal access to higher knowledge.

Pineal is the seat of cosmic thought. Human thought may be regarded as the result of suspended action, which the subject does not allow to proceed to its full realization. At each step new inhibitions intervene to prevent energy from immediately discharging itself into motive channels. This necessitates introversion or inward storing of energy until thought is substituted for the inhibited action. It would therefore be a pity to confound introversion with open retrogression, since the latter marks a stage backwards in a line with evolution. Introversion is an indespensable condition of self-realization. It is a rich and luminous simplicity which achieves the dispersion of analysis surpassing and overcoming it. It is the fruit of true intuition, the state of inner freedom. Hence in the complete introversion there is no loss of consciousness but only a displacement of attention. Consciousness is dynamic, it is in fact something intensely mobile. When the exterior world has disappeared the circle of consciousness contracts and seems to withdraw into the pineal wherein all organic functions and all psychic forces meet and there it enjoys unity. Herein lies the secret of samadhi, herein lies an instrument for penetrating to the depths of functional consciousness of supernal life. Some of the inscriptions obtained in Mohenjo Daro and Harappa describe Shiva as Munkan, Minkan, Bidukan and Orkan which mean respectively three-eyed, fish-eyed, open-eyed and one-eyed. Christ says, “If thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light“. Christ did not mean by single eye any physical eye, for one-eyed person is handicapped in sight. The single eye therefore refers to the third eye which is latent in man as the pineal gland, the awakening of which shall fill the whole body with the inner light.

Incidently we may notice the difference between Shiva-yoga and Kundalini-yoga. They differ from each other in method and aim. Kundalini is dormant, likewise, pineal is also dormant. The seat of kundalini is pelvic plexus while the seat of the pineal is the third ventricle of the brain. The process of awakening kundalini is attended with hardship, struggle and labour; the process of awakening the pineal gland is easy, simple and effective. When awakened kundalini ascends and meets the olive body which has the form of a dot O or bindu rupa in cerebrum. In Kundalini-yoga there is no descent. When the pineal is stirred, the cosmic consciousness residing in it descends to meet the individual consciousness which is situated in the pituitary gland through the nerve of the optic thalamus. The meeting takes place in the centre of the eyebrows. This meeting brings about the efflorescence of the intuitive faculties.

The human brain has a fundamental resemblance to the human embryo. It presents the component parts of a bodily form, with the repetition of the endocrine glandular pattern which is hermaphrodite. The pineal and pituitary represent the male and female elements, while there are two perfectly formed little breasts, known as the mammary glands. When the pineal and the pituitary are aroused to a new livingness, they are stimulated to the point where finer vibrations and new radiations are set up. These finally impinge upon each other. Then the wonderful harmony within the head, between the pituitary and the pineal takes place. When this happens, the real consciousness is born and the sacred third eye glows into being. In Shiva-yoga the steadfast gazing at Linga is of vital importance, because it generates magnetism which galvanizes into activity the dormant pineal gland. A 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 dormant pineal and the third eye lights up between them.

Thus Shiva-yoga teaches us the technique of opening the third eye.


The above information on ‘ Shiva-yoga ‘ is taken from H.H.Mahatapasvi Shri Kumarswamiji’s book, ‘Mirror of Virashaivism’.