18 April 1982, Calcutta, INDIA

In my previous discourse I said that humans came onto this earth about one million years ago.

But human civilization is at the most 15,000(fifteen thousand) years old. If the first mańd́ala [chapter] of the ancient Rkveda is accepted as the starting-point of civilization, then the age of civilization will not exceed 15,000(fifteen thousand) years.

But the civilization of those ancient days was not like the one we see in our times. The humans of those days merely followed a few rules and regulations in certain areas – no more than that.

Shiva was born about 7000(seven thousand) years ago – about 8000(eight thousand) years after the beginning of the composition of the Rkveda, that is, during the last part of the RkVaedik Age and the first part of the YajurVaedik Age.

The civilization we see in the age of the Rkveda may be considered as pre-Shiva, and the civilization we find in the days of the Yajurveda as post-Shiva.

From what we observe in the early and medieval periods of the Rkveda, we can conclude that a well-regulated social order was not yet evolved. Social life was not at all systematized.

The matriarchal social system was in decline, giving way to the patriarchal system.

Under the patriarchal social system, the patrilineal order and the patriarchal system function side by side.

But in those days no fixed tradition had evolved.

For instance, the matrilineal order persisted until the days of Buddha and Mahavir Jain – about 2500 years ago.

At the time of Shiva, the matriarchal system was not very popular, but the matrilineal order was in full force.

The existence of the patriarchal system naturally presupposes the existence of the patrilineal order, and to evolve a patrilineal order, the fathers must be identified in the society.

This is how the patrilineal order evolved.

Each community used to live on a hill, and that hill was named after the head-man, or the patriarch, of the hill.

The days of the matriarch were already past, and in those days, the patriarchs were the heads of the groups.

In Samskrta, a hill is called a gotra.

A particular community of people used to live on a hill, and a particular rśi [sage] used to be the acknowledged father or leader of that community, just as the gotramátá, the clan-mother, had been in the matriarchal age.

For instance, there was a rśi, a sage, named Maharśi Káshyapa living on one hill; naturally that hill was named after him. Another rśi, say Maharśi Bharadvája, might be living on another hill; that hill would be named after him. This is how the system of determining one’s gotra evolved.

In each case, a particular sage or patriarch was the head of a gotra; this is how the patriarchal system functioned.

The matriarchal system had already ended, but the matrilineal order persisted after that, until the time of Buddha, as I have said earlier.

Shiva did not give any particular importance to the matrilineal, matriarchal, patrilineal or patriarchal systems.

He simply allowed people to grow in a natural way.

But when it was necessary to maintain the patrilineal order, one’s gotra had to be ascertained.

Shiva advised His followers, “Don’t create conflicts among yourselves in the name of gotras.”

Previously there had been frequent conflicts between clans living on different hills.

Shiva banned those conflicts and told people, “Those of you who love Me, who obey Me, should accept the benevolent rule of a code of discipline. You should proclaim to the world, ‘Henceforth, we shall no longer remain divided into various gotras, and erect artificial walls of separation among ourselves. Smashing all these barriers, we shall all sit and eat and drink together in the same compound, bound by the ties of one human family. We refuse to remain scattered in numerous clans – we, the followers of Shiva, belong to one gotra, Shivagotra: Átmagotraḿ parityajya Shivagotraḿ pravishatu [Giving up your own clan and enter the gotra of Shiva].’”

Shiva introduced this revolutionary idea into the then society and demolished all narrow sentiments like geo-sentiment, socio-sentiment, etc.

The exponents of those geo- and socio-sentiments immediately opposed and vehemently criticized Him.

In the social sphere, Shiva played a very active role in removing the distinctions among the members of society.

Shiva had three wives – Párvatii, a fair-complexioned Aryan girl; Kálii, a dark-complexioned non-Aryan girl; and Gauṋgá, a yellow-complexioned Mongolian girl.

Shiva wanted to unite the people by obliterating social differences.

He tried His utmost throughout His life to unite the then human society, scattered and fragmented into numerous groups and sub-groups, and lead it towards supreme fulfilment.

The human society of those days was not yet confronted with economic problems, so Shiva did not have to do anything in particular in the economic sphere.

Politics had not yet crystallized in human society, so He did not have to do anything special in politics either.

But there were other aspects of life which demanded His attention.

Regarding the intellectual world, Shiva’s clear instruction was, “Beware of those who want to divide people, those who try to erect walls of artificial separation between pure and simple human beings by encouraging narrow geo-sentiments and socio-sentiments. These people are lokavyámohakárakáh – they try to inject the diseases of narrowness into human minds – you should beware of them.”

Shiva observed that in the days of the Rkveda, chanda [metre] was known, but rágas and ráginiis [melodies of Oriental music] were not yet invented.

Not just any composition with rhythms qualifies to be called Music!

Suppose people are making dissonant sounds in a particular rhythm – that certainly will not be considered Music.

There were seven metres in the Vaedik Age, from the days of the Rkveda. Those seven rhythms were Gáyattrii, Uśńiik, Triśt́up, Anuśt́up, Jagati, Brhatii and Pauṋkti.

The “Savitr Rk” [a Vaedik composition dedicated to Parama Puruśa, Supreme Consciousness] in the tenth súkta of the third mańd́ala of the Rkveda, is composed in Gáyattrii chanda. Sometimes people mistakenly call the Gáyattrii chanda, “Gáyattrii Mantra”.

So the people of those days were acquainted with chanda, but not with the Musical surasaptaka [The Oriental Octave].

After close observation, Shiva concluded that the sounds produced by various birds and animals maintain a harmonious adjustment with the undulations of the sound waves of the universe. The eighth step, the eighth note, of this harmony comes closest of all to the first note.

Based on the sounds of seven creatures, Shiva evolved the Seven Musical notes (surasaptaka).

This Musical Sura-saptaka, which made the rhythm sweeter and more graceful, includes the sounds of śaraja [peacock], rśabha [ox], gándhára [goat], madhyama [horse], paiṋcama [cuckoo], dhaevata [ass] and niśáda [elephant].

By taking the initials of these seven sounds –

sá from śaraja,

re from rśabha,

gá from gándhára,

má from madhyama,

pá from paiṋcama,

dhá from dhaevata and

ni from niśáda –

Shiva made the musical octave – sá-re-gá-má-pá-dhá-ni-sa’.

At the eighth step, the first sounds of the octave are repeated, although in a different scale.

In those regions of the world where the influence of Shiva was less, the eighth notes of the musical scale (surasaptaka) are slightly different from the first.

Thus through permutation and combination, endless varieties of sound can be produced.

So in Western music, we find do-re-mi-fa-so-la-ti-do : or in other words, “do” is repeated at the end of the scale.

That is why, instead of surasaptaka [literally, "seven-notes"]. Western musicians call the scale an “octave”.***

***From the latin word for “eight”.

Thus by inventing the seven musical notes, Shiva made the world of rhythms sweeter and more delightful. This was no ordinary achievement.

The music of the present-day world is entirely based on these seven musical notes.

It is a matter of great regret that people have forgotten this science of music, whose foundation was laid by the intense efforts of Shiva.

Nowadays, instead of considering music as a valuable asset to spiritual practice, they take it as a hobby, a means of livelihood, or a mere pastime.

The arduous effort by which Shiva invented this science is conspicuously absent today.

Some people lament this, saying,

Ár ki Bhárate áche se yantra

Ár ki áche se mohana mantra

Ár ki áche se madhura kańt́ha

Ár ki áche se práń,

Sethá ámi kii gáhiba gán!

[I wonder where in India are those perfect musical instruments –

Where are those charming notes?

Where is that melodious voice?

Where is the soul of music?

Alas, what music shall I sing now?]

To that my reply is: If the followers of Shiva make even one percent of the progress Shiva made, then India and indeed the world and the universe will surely regain that melodious voice and those charming notes. There is no reason for disillusionment. If people only develop their vigour, discipline and simplicity, and make intense effort, then success will come automatically. The lost treasure of the past will be fully restored to human society.

Shiva did not give a systematic form to music only – even to this day people utilize the fruits of His research in the field of phonetics also.

Phonetics depends on the science of breath, on inhalation and exhalation. On the basis of this science, Shiva invented the world of rhythm with mudrá.*

*Mudra’s are subtle, symbolic gestures characteristic of Oriental dance.

He established harmony between rhythm and dance, and added mudrá to them.

In the pre-Shiva society of the Rkvedik Age, there was chanda, metre, but no mudrá.

In order to acquire proficiency in the study of the Vedas, the student had to master the six vedáuṋgas, the six branches of Vaedik knowledge: chanda [the science of metre], kalpa [explanation of rites], nirukta [lexicography], jyotiśa [astronomy], vyákarańa [grammar], and áyurveda or dhanurveda [the science of medicine].

This proves that the people of that time were well acquainted with chanda.

Then how did Shiva introduce mudrá in music?

He observed that in the bodies of different creatures, the various glands were either over-active or under-active, either over-secreting or under-secreting.

As a result, these creatures expressed themselves in various ways.

Shiva intensively researched all these factors, and finally invented mudrá.

Each and every mudrá affects certain human glands in a particular way and thus influences people’s minds accordingly. This was Shiva’s unique contribution to the world of dance.

In those days, people wrongly considered the random movement of the limbs to be dance; later, to this random movement of the arms and legs were added a few Vaedik rhythms.

But that certainly cannot be accepted as classical dance.

Only after the addition of mudrás was it elevated to the status of classical dance.

Regarding the táńd́ava dance invented by Shiva, I will speak a bit later.

Then again, the mere beating of drums is not the art of vádya [percussion].

This should be harmonized not only with chanda and the musical scale, but also with the rhythms and mudrás of the dance.

Shiva Himself added all this to the art of percussion; prior to Him, it was completely unknown.

Shiva did not merely invent nrtya, giita and vádya [dance, song and instrumental music]; He also spread the knowledge of music among the people.

He selected Maharśi Bhárata as an ideal candidate and said to him, “You must teach the science of music to anyone who wants to learn it, without any consideration of caste or community.

You should consider only one thing: whether or not the person has the deep inner urge to learn.”

Shiva gave a systematic form and definite structure to everything which was not well-formulated until then.

He provided a system not only for music but for each and every expression of human life, so that everything might progress in a rhythmic way, so that nothing would be done haphazardly.

[end of section that was printed separately as part of “Shiva – the Embodiment of Saḿgiita”]

Prior to Shiva, there was no system of marriage in human society.

And as there was no recognized marriage system, the matrilineal order was in vogue, because it was easy to identify the mothers.

In the case of the fathers, it was impossible to identify them. Shiva, for the first time, introduced the system of marriage which has continued until this day.

The Samskrta word for marriage, viváha (derived from vi – vaha + ghaiṋ), literally means “to follow a particular system”.

This system of marriage is known as Shaeva viváha.

According to this system, the bride and the bridegroom will equally share full responsibility for their marriage, without any consideration of caste of community. Shiva was above all sorts of geo-sentiment and socio-sentiment.

Now to materialize any principle or ideology, one requires firmness, especially those who provide leadership to society, those who are the pioneers, the vanguard of a new movement. “We must keep the goal fixed before us, and keep moving towards the goal. We shall never deviate from our goal, whatever the obstacles or hindrances in the way. Once we start moving, we shall never stop or look back.”

Prárabhyate na khalu vighnabhayena niicaeh prárabhya vighnavihatáh viramanti madhyáh;

Vighnaer muhurmuhurapi pratihańyamánáh prárabhya uttamáh janáh na parityajanti.

In this world, those people who do not start any work for fear of opposition, are the lowest category of human beings. Those who start a work but, when confronted with mighty obstacles, give up the work in fear, are the middle category. And those who start the work and, when faced with obstacles at every step, defy and demolish them and move steadily towards their goal, are the highest category. They alone can achieve something substantial in this world.

Shiva was such a person. So He was severe – had He been lacking severity, He could not have accomplished so many noble deeds.

But was He severe in every respect? As far as His ideology was concerned, He was severe – very, very severe.

But in His external behaviour, in His dealings with people, He was very tender and soft-hearted.

The people of this world had not seen such a perfect blending of severity and tenderness combined in one person before Shiva. Thus all people, out of deep reverence, accepted His superiority on bended knee and with bowed head.

Tumi komale kat́hore rudraviińáy

Shánti sáyare sikta

Tumi páoyá ná-páoyár

Saba bedanár úrddhve

Sadá ácha nirlipta

Tumi madhurase pariśikta.

[You are tender and severe,

Holding your rudraviińá**

** Shiva’s viin’a’, or Violin, that produces sound of tremendous vigour as well as sweetness.

You are immersed in the Ocean of Peace,

You are above all feelings of gain and loss.

You are uninvolved,

You are immersed in the flow of bliss.]

Shiva’s tenderness is proverbial.

Whenever we meet a gentle and good-natured person, we say, “What a good person! He is as good as Shiva.”

But the same tender-hearted Shiva was severe also; and so He could show a new path to the world – an act for which the people of today, and of the future also, will be eternally grateful.

In fact, as long as humanity endures, its gratitude will never end.

Now, Shiva’s greatest contribution to humanity is the concept of Dharma****

**** [Dharma means “innate characteristic”. The essential innate characteristic of human beings is the urge to attain the Supreme through morality and spiritual practice.]

Here it should be remembered that at the time of Shiva, many Aryans had already arrived in India, many were on the way, and many were still preparing to come.

Among those Aryans there was no clear-cut concept of dharma; they had no spiritual awareness or spiritual urge.

Each rśi propounded his views differently from the others.

Vedáh vibhinnáh smrtayo vibhinnáh;

Naekah muniryasya mataḿ nábhinnam.

[The Vedas are different, the social treatises are different;

There is not a single sage; Who does not differ from the others.]

As I told you a little earlier, each clan used to live on a separate hill, and the leader of that clan was respected as patriarch(rśi) of the clan.

The affiliations of the gotra people were indicated by the name of that particular rśi. After the patriarchal system was established, the members of one gotra would forcibly kidnap women from other gotras to their own gotra, their own hill. Thus immediately after the marriage, the woman’s gotra would change, because she was then a member of a different gotra, a separate hill.

All this invariably led the different clans into bloody conflicts. Those who were defeated in battle were captured as slaves and the women were taken to the harems of the victors. The victorious clan would then occupy the hill, the gotra of the vanquished clan. Thus within one gotra, there were many sub-gotras, called pravaras.

The women were forcibly carried away, their hands bound in iron chains. Even to this day, women in Bengal and some other areas wear iron bangles on their wrists after marriage – the symbols of their ancient servitude.

One should clearly understand this. The males who would attack the neighbouring hills would tie up the women and carry them to their own hill.

Even today, during the marriage ceremony in certain parts of India, the bride’s clothes are tied to the clothes of the bridegroom. This enslavement of the defeated gotra was a great humiliation, especially for the women.

Sometimes, during the battle, the men would strike the heads of the women with an axe, causing blood to flow.

Up until the present, at the time of marriage, women use a vermilion cosmetic mark on their foreheads – a symbol of blood.

However, Shiva, by introducing the Shaeva system of marriage, brought an end to this shameful chapter of human history.

We were discussing the dharmic way of life in those days. Whatever the rśis said, the other members of the clan would follow. The views of the rśis were called Árśa Dharma.

The Vedas did not propound any systematic dharma. The Árśa Dharma that developed in the above-mentioned process was merely a collection of the teachings of various rśis and munis [sages and scholars], and their teachings would vary according to changes in time.

For instance, the Árśa Dharma of the Rkvedik period was different from that of the Yajurvedik period, and in the Atharvavedik period, it was still more different.

So the Árśa Dharma differed from one Veda to another.

The system of incantation of mantras, and their pronunciation, also varied.

For instance, the Bengali language mainly follows the Yajurvedik style of pronunciation, whereas Gujarati follows the Rkvedik system; that is, pronunciation varied with changes in time.

The incantation of mantras also varied, for example:

Sahasrashiirśá Puruśah sahasrákśah sahasrapát;

Sa bhúmiḿ vishvato vrtvá’tyatiśt́haddasháuṋgulam.(5)

Another Veda says,

Sa bhúmiḿ sarvato sprśt́yá atyatiśt́haddhasháḿgulam.

Still another Veda says,

Sarvato vrttvátyatiśt́haddasháḿgulam.

So we see that mantras also varied from one Veda to another.

Furthermore, the non-Aryans, the original inhabitants of India who were not Aryanized, were made the slaves of the Aryans and were not even allowed to utter auḿ, the controlling mantra of the Aryan Vedas.

Later, when the women lost their status, they too were not permitted to repeat the auḿ mantra.

The non-Aryans and the women used to repeat namah instead of the auḿ mantra.

The Árśa Dharma, the Aryan religion, was based on this discrimination.

In fact, the Árśa Dharma was not a dharma at all – it was completely a geo-sentiment, sometimes combined with socio-sentiment.

This continued for a long period.

Shiva observed that this was not dharma at all. He looked deeply into human psychology and found that human beings do not really want happiness – they want absolute peace: peace is better than happiness.

People do not attain peace by performing yajiṋas [sacrifices] nor by sacrificing animals in the sacrificial fire.

They may please their palates by eating meat, but they will not attain peace in this way.

Shiva showed human beings how to attain peace; and that path to supreme peace should not be called a path of ordinary attainment, but of supreme attainment.

Here the spiritual realization is direct – aparokśánubhúti. This path, as shown by Shiva, is known as Shaeva Dharma, or Shaivism.

Of course, Tantra did exist before Shiva, but it was scattered, not well-organized.

As I told you a little earlier, Shiva made everything systematic and regulated.

He brought about a harmonious synthesis between those scattered Tantras and the people’s spiritual urges for supreme fulfilment, and created His Shaeva Dharma, which was above all sorts of geo-sentiment and socio-sentiment.

This path of Shiva, which was a happy blending of the existing Tantra and His practical processes, was an ideal adjustment between the objective world and the subjective world.

In spite of that, this cult was not able to survive the ravages of time.

One of the reasons was that in those days it was not possible to write anything down because script had not yet been invented. Knowledge was conveyed only orally, not by writing.

The Vedas could not be written due to the same difficulty.

Much later, when the Vedas were written down, many portions had already been lost.

However much we might now try to find those lost portions of the Vedas, unfortunately they can never be recovered.

Many of the teachings of Shiva were also lost for the same reason, because people had no knowledge of the alphabet.

This Shiva Tantra inspired people to move towards the supreme truth on the one hand, and on the other hand it exhorted people, “Do not neglect the practical world. Maintain a congenial adjustment with the external world.”

His instructions were, “Varttámaneśu vartteta [Live in the present].

Try to penetrate as deeply as you can into your mind, and keep moving – Caraeveti, caraeveti [Proceed on, proceed on].

But do not forget the realities of the external world, because if you ignore the external realities, your internal peace will also be disturbed.”

This Shaeva Dharma became the essential dharma of India.

In this dharma no one was ignored – neither the non-Aryans – nor the women nor the shudras* nor the untouchables.

*the lower-most social group in India.

In the Vaedik Age, women as a class were neglected and treated as mere commodities of enjoyment; whereas in the age of Shiva they were proclaimed as a class of mothers.

As the influence of Shiva was comparatively great in Bengal, there we still find the custom of addressing unknown ladies as Má [“Mother”].

In Bengali, aunts are called mási-má [mother’s sister], pishi-má [father’s sister], etc.; that is, the word má is respectfully added when addressing women.

And as the matriarchal system is still prevalent in Bengal to some extent, there the women are not altogether separated from the father’s lineage.

After marriage their gotra changes, no doubt, but they still have some relation with their father’s lineage.

For this reason a nephew (sister’s son), inherits the properties of his maternal uncle if he dies without heirs.

Shaeva Dharma is the dharma for attaining Parama Puruśa, and thus there is no external ritual in it.

It does not enjoin any ritualistic offering of ghee, or any sacrifice of animals’ blood in yajiṋa; it is not a path of self-gratification.

The followers of Shaeva Dharma proclaimed in a thundering voice that dharma is the path leading to supreme attainment – not the path of animal enjoyment.

Diipta hayeche hiḿsá-anal kalyáńe mati nái

Bhoga-hutáshan jvaliche bhiiśań sakali kariche chái.

Náhi bhakti-kusuma kśema náhi udár snigdha prema

Shmashán-ándhár heri cáridhár kothay áloka pái

Bhoga-hutáshan jvaliche bhiiśań sakali kariche chái.

Brthá yajiner anuśt́ thán shat niśt́hur balidán

Dharmer bháńe vásaná dánavii mánavii mánave pújiiche tai.

Bhoga-hutáshan jvaliche bhiiśań sakali kariche chái.

[The fire of violence has been kindled,

There is no desire for welfare in the mind.

The fierce flames of gratification, raging furiously, burn all to


There is no flower of devotion, of benevolence nor of generous

and soothing love.

I behold on all sides the darkness of the burial ground –

Where will I find the light?

The fierce flames of gratification, raging furiously, burn all to


Vain are the ritualistic arrangements

For a hundred cruel sacrifices;

In the garb of dharma people worship the demoness of desire.

The fierce flames of gratification, raging furiously, burn all to


The highest fulfilment of dharma is the channelling of all urges for action towards the Iśt́a [the Supreme Goal].

As I said a little earlier, Shiva was the combination of firmness and tenderness.

In His practical life, He was tender, very tender – more tender than even a delicate flower.

And Shiva admitted that human beings are liable to error – after all, they are human beings, not gods.

Even the Vaedik gods, like Indra, the god of energy and king of the gods; or Agni the god of fire; or Varuna, the god of water; etc., make mistakes – what to speak of ordinary human beings?

Shiva was well aware of human psychology. He believed that those who commit wrong today may rectify themselves tomorrow.

If someone accidentally falls down today and gets his clothes dirty, why should he not be allowed to put on clean clothes tomorrow?

So Shiva said, “Those who commit wrongs – strike them with your trident.

But the moment they rectify their mistakes, forgive them and take them affectionately on your lap.”

Whatever Shiva did was for the rectification of human beings. Namah pinákahastáya vajrahastáya vae namah: When giving salutations to Shiva, His devotees say, “O Shiva, wielder of the pináka [drum] and vajra [thunderbolt], I offer my salutations to you.

Your thunderbolt is not meant to inflict pain on people; it is meant to reform them, to protect them from danger.”

The moment the erring people rectified themselves, He completely forgot all their faults, all their past misdeeds.

So all sinful people, all penitent people, pray to Shiva on bended knees, “O Lord, who else but You will give me shelter? You are my Bholanáth***** – I committed so many sins, but as soon as I rectified myself, You forgave me. Oh, how quickly You became satisfied! You are really Ashutośa [quickly Pleased].”

*****The Lord who easily forgets others misdeeds.

When the Asuras, who were most hated by the Aryans, approached Shiva for protection from the Aryans, He readily gave them shelter.

Who were these Asuras?

In Central Asia, there was a country called Assyria, whose inhabitants were non-Aryans, and very hostile to the Aryans. The Aryans used to hate them intensely.

Even today, some of the descendants of this Asura community can be found in the district of Palamau and some other parts of modern India.

Asuras were not abnormal creatures fifty feet tall, with over-sized noses, ears and teeth.

Rather they were ordinary humans, like us.

The only difference was that they would not accept anything Aryan – the Aryan code of conduct, the Aryan religion, etc. Anything related to Aryanism was repugnant to them. This was the only difference between the Aryans and the Asuras, and for this reason the Aryans considered it an act of virtue to kill the Asuras.

Those Asuras approached Shiva for shelter, and He granted it.

You may have noticed in some pictures that the Asuras are praying before Shiva and singing eulogies, and Shiva is granting them boons and coming forward to help them against the gods. Here “gods” means the Aryans, who were bent on annihilating the Asuras.

Just as the present-day Aryans have almost succeeded in eliminating the Maori tribes of the Australian continent, just as the Aryans have almost succeeded in destroying some tribes in India, similarly, in the past, the Aryans wanted to exterminate the Asuras.

But Shiva protected them. He would say, “If I do not protect them, who will give them shelter?”

I do not admit that the Aryans as a race are superior and the Asuras inferior. No one has convinced me on this point.

Shiva was born in this atmosphere of conflict between the Aryans and the non-Aryans, but He always cherished a sincere desire that all the races – the Aryans, the non-Aryans, and the Mongolians – would live together in peace.

In fact, He worked constantly towards that end.

And to live in peace and harmony, there must be a supreme ideology accepted by all, because whenever there are ideological differences, physical conflicts between individuals and groups are bound to occur, and peaceful social life becomes impossible.

So Shiva held one ideal before them: “Remember, you are all the loving children of the Supreme Father, You are entitled to live in this world as the sons and daughters of one and the same Cosmic Father. And I am always ready to help you to establish yourselves in your right to cosmic inheritance and a truly ideological life.”

18 April 1982, Calcutta