The Non-Dual Reality of Lord Shiva

Shiva Mahadeva represents the non-dualistic Absolute beyond all the contraries and oppositions of this dualistic world of time, space, and karma. He is the force of transcendent unity that is more than the combination of opposites and holds simultaneously the power of both sides of all dualities.

Shiva transcends duality in his very nature, appearance and manifestation – which requires that he embraces all dualities and resolves them back into himself. This makes Shiva difficult to understand for the dualistic mind caught in outer differences and distinctions, names, forms and contraries.


Lord Shiva reflects the supreme truth that dwells beyond both relative truth and relative falsehood. He is the Supreme Being beyond both relative being and non-being. He is the supreme good beyond both relative good and evil. He embraces our world on both sides, above, below, and in the center and yet stands infinitely beyond it. He is One, yet he is all. He is everything and nothing, both within all things, outside of all things, and not limited by anything.

As a non-dual deity, Shiva seems contrary to our prevailing views of what is logical, right or appropriate. Shiva is portrayed as a dispassionate yogi yet he has the most powerful passions and the most beautiful and powerful wife. He both destroys Kamadeva, the ordinary God of love but then becomes the Supreme God of Love himself, Kameshvara. He takes us beyond suffering, but to do this he can cause us excruciating pain.

Shiva awakens a higher awareness in us, but for this to occur he must first take us beyond all our preconceptions, making us see the darkness of ignorance behind our lives, and the spiritual ignorance at the root of our minds and society. Shiva represents our higher Self that is the goal of our aspirations, but to reach it we must allow our ego, its attachments and opinions to be dissolved, giving up our ordinary sense of self altogether.

 


The Challenge of our Encounter With Shiva

 

Shiva in his diverse names, forms, and actions is meant to be challenging for us to grasp. Lord Shiva is not meant to be easy to understand, nor can we present his reality in a simple manner that resolves all doubts as to what he actually represents. To contact the reality of Shiva we must face all doubts and difficulties within ourselves and learn how to move beyond them with steadiness, insight and grace. We must recognize the limitations of the mind and its particularized knowledge that cannot grasp the whole. The traditional portrayal of Shiva is not meant to present us with only a pleasing appearance, any more than life is always kind or nature conforms to our desires. Our encounter with Shiva is meant to shake us up, to stir our inner transformative energies – to get us to question ourselves and all that we may hold to be truth or reality.

Any real encounter with Lord Shiva is not likely to conform to our existing beliefs, hopes, or expectations whatever these may be. It may not leave us feeling more confident about who we are, or more certain that our lives are moving in the right direction. An encounter with Shiva may not initially make us feel happier or give us more prosperity or what we may regard as a better life.

Shiva is not what we think God is supposed to be, conforming to our opinions or hopes; Shiva is what the Supreme Divine truly is beyond the limitations of our minds and the fixed tenets of any particular faith or belief, concept or ideology. Shiva is the supreme reality, not we ourselves, our ideas, opinions, books, or institutions. Shiva is the cosmic reality, not our individual or collective imaginations and fantasies at a physical human level. There is no box we can place Shiva into, no formula or structure that the mind can arrive at that can comprehend him. He overflows the universe on every side, within and without.

To arrive at the state of supreme awareness that is Shiva, we must allow ourselves to be stripped bare of our personal conditioning down to the subconscious level, beyond the memories of the present birth and the perceptions of the outer world. We must learn to see ourselves in all beings past, present, and future. We must be humbled back to the core of our being where no self-image prevails, and where there is no other that we have to conform to, please, or fear.

The human mind as it is today is not a conscious intelligence that we can rely upon to determine what is lastingly real. It is a conditioned response mechanism for biological survival and social development. Information technology has augmented its powers but not taken us beyond its dualistic limitations and outer fixations. But in the silence of the heart, where all is forgotten, you can know the truth. You are Shiva in your deepest Self and core being. Shiva is the non-dual reality in which you personally are not there, yet in which through your inmost essence of feeling and awareness you are everything.

We can approach Lord Shiva many ways through ritual, Yoga, mantra, pranayama and meditation, but these are only expedient measures to draw us beyond body and mind to the mysterious core of our being that knows all intuitively without being trapped in any thoughts. Shiva is ultimately the supreme power of the universe for which all the forces of nature are mere attendants. His reality transcends the human world and human mind, and is best understood when we are willing to live in a state of perpetual transcendence.

Vamadeva Shastri

Om Namah Shivaya!

Latest Articles
Articles on Vedic Counseling

Beyond Mind, Memory and Karma

Memory is the dominant function of the mind and forms the basis of our identity in life. Yet if we can detach from the mind and let go of the memory based ego we can remember our immortal consciousness, our true Self that is not bound by time or space,

Read More »
Articles on Ayurveda

Ojas: The Power of Immunity in Yoga and Ayurveda

Ojas is the ultimate resort of strength, patience and endurance for body and mind. Ojas is cultivated in Ayurveda for disease prevention, deep healing, rejuvenation and longevity. Ojas is cultivated in Yoga for inner strength, determination and vitality, steadiness and focus of mind and a more powerful prana for higher

Read More »
Articles on Vedic Counseling

Exploring the Inner Cosmology of Consciousness

  The inner cosmos has its own structure as does the outer cosmos. Each reflects the other. In fact, one could say that the inner cosmos creates the outer cosmos.   The cosmos is not something that exists outside of us extending into vast regions of space beyond our comprehension.

Read More »
Articles on Vedic Counseling

Technology and Consciousness: The Need to Awaken our Inner Being

Can we develop the inner Consciousness to master our powerful new information technology? Or will it come to rule over us through its artificial intelligence?   Humanity has undergone a series of continual, relentless, and powerful technological developments over the last two centuries. Each generation has had to live in

Read More »
Articles on Vedic Management

Economics & Emotions: Artha and Swartha

It easy to say that decisions are best made when we are not acting out of our emotions. Yet emotions play a crucial decision-making role by influencing our minds, however objective we may try to be. At a collective level, emotions play an important role in shaping the destinies of

Read More »
Articles on Vedic Counseling

Yogic Pratyahara and Psychological Immunity

Pratyahara Yoga   What is the main Yoga practice we can do for developing our psychological immunity, emotional calm, and inner equipoise in these difficult times? First, we must note that the principles and practices of Yoga overall are about mastery over the mind, so they all aid in psychological

Read More »
Articles on Ayurveda

Svastha: Wellbeing in Ayurveda

Ayurveda, the Vedic science of life for all living beings, defines health and wellbeing in terms of Svastha. Svastha means abiding (stha) in one’s own Self (Sva). Yet to understand it, we must recognize that this Vedic abiding in our own nature reflects the Vedic view of the universe, which

Read More »
Articles on Vedic Management

Wealth, Money, and Vedic Knowledge

One of the common myths about Vedic knowledge is that it requires an austere lifestyle, where people divest themselves of all pleasures and embrace the life of a hermit. Some believe it regards wealth as evil and shuns it with all its might. While Vedic knowledge recommends the right usage

Read More »
Hindu Deities

The Goddess Kali and the Spiritual Heart

Ma Kali and the Yoga of Knowledge Ma Kali is the primary Goddess of Yoga, the background Yoga Shakti, the power of Yoga or Kriya Shakti. Hers is the force that takes our energy within, which causes us to seek the eternal and lose interest in the outer affairs of

Read More »
Articles on Vedic Counseling

Shravana: The Vedic Yoga of Listening

There is an inner state of listening, called Shravana in Vedanta, where the mind is silent, receptive and non-reactive, allowing it to access a higher level of communication and learning. This meditative of listening called Shravana holds an inner space in which the real meaning of anything said can be

Read More »
Articles on Tantra

Shiva and Shakti Yogas

Yoga means unification, which is first the unity of all the dualities and contraries that constitute the energies of life. Yoga philosophy teaches us to understand and transcend duality, but this rests upon harmonizing the dualities within us in a transformative state of balance. Shiva and Shakti as the dual

Read More »
Articles on Ayurveda

Yoga & Ayurveda in an Age of Social and Economic Uncertainty

In these times of economic and social uncertainty, Yoga and Ayurveda practitioners and schools have faced numerous unpredictable challenges, and often a significant decline in their revenues. After the global shutdown following the initial Covid outbreak, many Yoga Studios had to close, and many were not able to reopen again

Read More »
Articles on Ayurveda

Ayurveda and the Mind: Keys to Yoga and Ayurveda Psychology

Ayurveda is inherently a psychological as much as a physical system of medicine. Its scope of practice includes both physical (sharirika) and mental (manasika) diseases. Therefore, we cannot really understand Ayurveda without looking at its view of the mind and consciousness. As Ayurveda holds that diseases arise more from our

Read More »
Articles on Ayurveda

Why the practice of Yoga should begin with Ayurveda

Following Ayurveda along with Yoga  helps us gain complete harmony and balance in body and mind so that we can discover our true Self that is one with all. Most people today practice Yoga, particularly asana and pranayama, for health benefits as the primary factor, extending at times to mantra,

Read More »

Dr Frawley's Latest Course>>

The Vedic Secrets of the Nakshatras

In this special four-hour video course, Dr David Frawley examine the Nakshatras starting from their ancient Vedic roots, exploring their qualities, energies, spiritual powers and deities, including much material not available in existing texts. It will also correlate the meanings of the Nakshatras with the constellations and fixed stars.