The Pervasive Influence of Shiva (Discourse 4) — corrected from different source better than Electronic edition – 7.5


9 May, 1982, Calcutta, INDIA

Is Shiva a philosophy or a personality or a deity?

We must first say a little about Shiva-tattva [the inner meaning of Shiva], Devatá-tattva and daevii-shakti, and then analyse Shiva and the other gods and goddesses who are claimed to be related to Him.

There are deep-seated questions in human minds about this, but all the questions remain unanswered.

Shiva was a great personality. At the same time, His entire life – we may say, His very way of life – is a philosophy.

And when one’s personality becomes fully identified with one’s philosophy of life, one becomes a god.

Dyotate krid́ate yasmát udyate dyotate divi;

Tasmát deva iti proktah stúyate sarvadevataeh.

The endless expressions of life emanating from the Universal Nucleus which move all-pervasively in and through everything of the universe and influence all entities are called Devatá. Shiva’s ideology is totally identified with His life, with His way of life. Hence, Shiva is definitely a Devatá – a deity.

Now while we discuss Devatá-tattva [the inner meaning of a Devatás] we must add something more.

Normally, each and every expression that emanates from the Supreme Hub, the Cosmic Nucleus, is a Devatá. In that sense, Shiva is not merely one such Devatá; He is the aggregate of these Devatás.

Shiva is no doubt a god, but the word “god” does not encompass the totality of His personality.

He is not only a god, He is the God of gods – Devatánáḿ Devatá.

Devanáḿ Devah ityarthe Mahádevah. Shiva is Mahádeva. [the God of all gods and goddesses].

Now it is necessary to discuss those entities who were involved with Shiva, such as Párvatii, Kálii, Gauṋgá, Sarasvatii, Lakśmii, etc.; and all the other gods and goddesses of Shiva Tantra, Buddhist Tantra, Jain Tantra, Post-Shiva Tantra and the Paora’n’ik religion.

First we shall find out how much Shiva was related to them from the philosophical, social and personal points of view – or whether there was any relation between them at all.

In this context, the topic of Daevii-shakti must be discussed.

When some wave of expression emanates from the Universal Hub and moves in the process of systalsis, two main forces are active, the Cognitive Force and the Operative Force.

The former is called Citi-shakti, and the latter is called Káliká Shakti.

It is called Káliká Shakti because the Operative Force maintains Her creation through kálacakra, the eternal time factor. (This has nothing to do with the deity Kálii.)

Now, to discuss Shiva and other gods and goddesses concerned with Him, we must review briefly a long period of history stretching over 7000 years.

In the field of applied Tantra that was popular during Shiva’s lifetime, there were different forces, no doubt, but they were not defined into gods and goddesses.

So to say something about gods and goddesses, we must go back still further.

In the Vaedik Age there were gods and goddesses, but there was no system of idol worship.

People used to worship those gods and goddesses through sacrificial rituals.

Indra, Ágni, Varuńa, etc., were all Vaedik gods, but they were not worshipped with idols.

Nor was there any system of worshipping Parama Brahma, the Supreme Entity, with idols.

It was said that Iishvarasya pratimá násti [“There cannot be any finite pratimá, image, of God”].

Pratimá means “duplicate”, something identical to the original. Suppose there is an eggplant. If we create an object exactly like the original eggplant, we say that the second eggplant is the pratimá of the original eggplant.

But as there is no other entity like Parama Puruśa, Parama Puruśa cannot have a pratimá.

Tulá vá upamá Krśńasya násti [“Krśńa has no parallel or equal”]. These were the ideas of the Vaedik Age.

Next came the age of Shiva Tantra. In those days, many deities, or Kalashakti, were accepted, but there was no system of idol worship.

Then followed the age of Shivottara [Post-Shiva] Tantra, during the periods of Buddhism and Jainism.

During this period, various systems were introduced.

In the subsequent period, that is, the period of the metamorphosed Post-Shiva or Shivottara Tantra(metamorphosed because it was Shiva Tantra but largely influenced by Buddhism and Jainism), image-worship became quite popular.

In this context, one important thing has to be mentioned about Buddhism.

300 years after the death of Buddha, Buddhism was clearly divided into two groups,

(1)             Mahásaḿghik, and

(2)             Sthavirvádii or Theravádii.

Some time afterwards one more branch, Sammitiiya, was created, but it did not last long.

The Mahásaḿghikas used to call themselves Maháyánii Buddhists, and the Sthavirvádii, Hiinayánii.

The former is called the Northern School of the Buddhist Cult, and the latter is called the Southern School of the Buddhist Cult.

The Maháyána is called the Northern School because its jurisdiction was Tibet, China, Mongolia, Outer Mongolia, Afghanistan, Kashmir, Nepal, Bhutan, Sikkim, NEFA [Northeastern Frontier Agency], southern and eastern Russia, Japan, and Korea.

The Sthavirváda is called the Southern School of the Buddhist Cult because its jurisdiction was Sri Lanka, Chittagong of Bengal, Burma, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, the Philippines, etc.

Gradually the gap between them widened more and more.

The scriptures of the Southern School were written in Pali, that is, Mágadhii Prákrta.

And the scriptures of the Northern School were written in simple Sanskrit, although Buddha gave his teachings in the Pali language.

The Maháyána School of the Buddhist Cult was further sub-divided in the course of time into two groups – Mantrayána and Tantrayána.

Considering the psychological needs of the people, the followers of these Mantrayána and Tantrayána, sub-cults invented various new Buddhist gods and goddesses.

Later on, the Tantrayána group was further divided into two sub-groups, Kálacakrayána and Vajrayána.

During the days of Vajrayána and Kálacakrayána, there was a philosophical upheaval in Buddhism; this upheaval was not for the good, but it was definitely a change.

The philosophy that Buddha preached was Duhkhaváda, a kind of pessimism.

According to Buddhist doctrine, there are Four Noble Truths: Caturájjasaccam.

Those four Noble Truths are – (1) There is suffering; (2) There is a cause of suffering; (3) There is cessation of suffering; (4) There is a way to the cessation of suffering.

Due to the influence of Duhkhaváda, Buddhism became estranged from the practical world.

But during the days of Vajrayána and Kalacakrayána, which were propounded about 1600 or 1700 years ago, the Buddhists made a departure from their old doctrine and preached a new philosophy which was known as Atisukhaváda.*

During those days, the followers of the Buddhist Cult prayed to Buddha to provide them with various objects of pleasure.

The propounders of this doctrine conceived of a stage of Buddha named bodhisattva, the stage immediately preceding enlightenment, or in the intervening period between unenlightened humanity and the state of enlightenment.

People conceived of Paiṋcabuddha, the Five Stages of Buddha, with the expectation that Buddha in his different stages would grant them different objects of enjoyment.

And within the practical world, the various operative forces through which the activities of Buddha and the Bodhisattva were performed were known as Paiṋcabuddha-shakti.

Anyway, the Maháyána School of the Buddhist Cult arrived at this condition during the days of the Kálacakrayána and Vajrayána.

Vajrayána was very popular in East India, particularly in Bengal.

Now, we must say something about Paiṋcabuddha, Paiṋcabuddha shakti, and bodhisattva.

In accordance with the doctrine of Atisukhaváda, the followers of the cult would ask for objects of pleasure.

They used to cover the face of Buddha with gold.

In similar ways they created five other Buddhas –

(1)             Akśobhya,

(2)             Amoghasiddhi,

(3)             Amitábha,

(4)             Vaerocana, and

(5)             Dhyániibuddha – these are the main Paiṋcabuddhas.

Later their number increased, according to the demands of the people.

Along with Paiṋcabuddha, Paiṋcabodhisattva, the Five Bodhisattvas, were also created.

People explain bodhisattva in various ways.

Generally we find, in ascending and descending order, two meanings.

The first one is: one who is gradually proceeding to the state of enlightenment, buddhatvá, but has not actually become Buddha.

And the second is: an enlightened being who has voluntarily assumed a worldly form just to maintain a relationship with the external world.

And as I have already said, those active forces which helped Buddha in his work were called Buddha-shakti.

Originally they were five in number, but later their number increased, according to the needs of the people.

Those who were worshipped at the early stage were:

Ugratárá, who was worshipped in India;

Bhrámariitárá, who was worshipped in China;

Vajratárá, who was worshipped in Tibet (Kiḿpuruśavarśa, as the land was called in those days);

Vajrayoginii; and

Vajraváráhi. They were all very popular during the days of Vajrayána.

Though it may be a bit irrelevant, I should still say that in the age of Vajrayána, the Buddhists used to sacrifice human beings in order to gain material boons from the deities.

During the period of Vajrayána in India, particularly in Bengal, thousands and thousands of innocent people were sacrificed in order to propitiate Vajrayoginii, Vajratárá, etc.

Anyway, to these five Buddha-shaktis were later added other deities, like Háritii, Máricii and Shiitalá, a laokik goddess.**

**That is not mentioned in the scriptures.

Manasá also joined the host; initially she was also a laokik goddess.

Many of these deities of Buddhist Tantra were later accepted in Post-Shiva Tantra, and conversely, many of the goddesses of Post-Shiva Tantra were accommodated in Buddhist Tantra. Thus there was a continual process of mutual exchange.

Besides these deities, there were many laokik deities, such as Mauṋgalácańd́ii, Oláicańd́ii, Banabibi, Shauṋkat́ácańd́ii, Káluráy, Dakśińaráy, Suvacanii, etc.

People used to worship them out of fear.

Many of them were later accepted in Buddhist Tantra, and many were included in the Paora’n’ik religion also.

This was the host of gods and goddesses who were popular in India during the Paora’n’ik Age.

As I have already said, when philosophy and personality become identified, together they produce a Devatá.

Shiva’s uncommon erudition, His unmatched dynamism, His dexterity in action, and, at the same time, His own philosophy (there was no written philosophy then – it came only at the time of Maharshi Kapila) – all these things together elevated Shiva to the status of a Devatá.

In fact, people made Him a Devatá, for they came to depend on Him in all respects.

In this situation, it was but natural that they should venerate Him as a Devatá.

Now in the course of time, when Post-Shiva Tantra evolved, Shiva was still a Devatá, but the Buddhist and Jain Tantra of that time exerted some influence on His image, and, by adding some new elements to the existing image of Shiva, tried to create a new entity.

Sometimes, in the Paora’n’ik Age, Shiva was invested with a sacrificial thread, but in reality Shiva never had any thread on His body; if He had any, it was a thread of snakes.

Later, many gods and goddesses were brought to the scene and linked with Shiva, because until an entity’s relation to Him was established in one way or another, that entity would not get any recognition at all.

Take for instance the goddess Manasá. Sometimes she is said to be the daughter of Shiva, but in reality, there was no goddess named Manasá or Viśahari at the time of Shiva.

In the Paora’n’ik Age, it was declared,

Ástikasya munermátá Vásukiibhaginii tathá;

Jaratkárumuner patnii manasáyae namo namah.

Manasá was said to be the mother of Ástika Muni and the sister of Vásukiinága and the wife of Jarátkáru Muni.

We will not raise any objection to the statement that she was the mother of Ástika Muni, but we cannot accept that she was the sister of Vásukiinága.

There is a story in the Purana that she was the sister of Vásukiinága,*** but according to another Pura’n’a, Kadru was the mother of serpents and Maharśi Káshyapa was their father.

In that case the father of Manasá is Káshyapa.

Then how can she be the daughter of Shiva?

So the Pura’n’as are mutually contradictory.

In fact, Manasá has no relation to Shiva; Manasá is only a laokik goddess and was recognized as such in Buddhist Tantra and the Paora’n’ik religion.

Shiva, however, was a great personality about 7000 years ago, whose existence does not depend upon the tales of the Pura’n’as.

The Puranas were composed about 5500 years after Shiva.

After Manasá, let us take the case of Párvatii.

What is the meaning of the word Párvatii?

Some may derive it as Párvatasya duhitá, párvatasya kanyá (using śaśt́hii tatpuruśa***) – that is, “daughter of a hill”.

***A particular grammatical style of splitting words.

Obviously the question will arise, and quite logically, how can a human girl whose body is made of five fundamental factors be the daughter of a hill?

A river may be called the daughter of a hill, but in the case of a human girl we cannot say that.

So the derivation of Párvatii as párvatasya kanyá is not logically acceptable; rather, the proper derivation is Párvatadeshiiyá kanyá ityarthe Párvatii (using madhyapadalopii karmadháray***): “a girl born in a hill country”.

***A particular grammatical style of splitting words.

So when people say that Párvatii was the daughter of the Himalayas, it does not mean that she was the daughter of a person named Himálaya, but that she was a person born in the Himalayan Range. This Párvatii was fair-complexioned; that is, she was an Aryan girl.

In the then India, the mutual relations between the original inhabitants of India (Austrico-Mongolo-Negroids) and the outsiders, the Aryans, were by no means cordial.

The Aryans, out of deep-rooted contempt for the indigenous people of India, used to call them sometimes asuras, sometimes dánavas, sometimes dásas ***, sometimes shúdras or slaves, etc.

***That is, monsters, demons and slaves, respectively.

The Aryans did not accept these people in their society; rather, they declared them to be outcastes.

But these ancient people of India, of Austrico-Mongolo-Negroid blood, had their own civilization and culture. They were also developed people: they had their science of Tantra, and their medicine.

There was a prolonged conflict between these people and the Aryans.

Párvatii was the daughter of an Aryan King, Daksa, who ruled in the Himalayan regions. Many people were hopeful that after the marriage between Párvatii and Shiva, the relations between the Aryans and the non-Aryans would improve.

During the period of the vow of penance that Gaorii (another name for Párvatii) undertook in order to attain Shiva as her husband, she used to dress in the fashion of a Shavara girl (the Shavaras were one of the non-Aryan communities).

She used to stitch turmeric leaves together to make improvised outer garments.

One of the Samskrta synonyms for “turmeric leaves” is paŕńa. As she would wear paŕńa as her clothes, she was called “Paŕńashavarii”.

Later, after she became successful in her penance, people requested her, “Now please set aside the turmeric leaves and wear fine clothes.”

When she actually discarded the crude turmeric leaves, she was nicknamed “Aparńá”.

Unfortunately, even after the marriage between Shiva and Párvatii, the relations between the Aryans and the non-Aryans did not improve; rather they became more strained – the conflicts became more acute than before.

Gaorii’s father, Daksha, and the Aryans continued their slanderous campaign against Shiva, and finally, to humiliate Shiva, they held a yajiṋa [sacrificial ceremony] to which Shiva was not invited.

Párvatii went to attend the yajiṋa, and unable to bear the insults to her dear husband, immolated herself in the sacrificial fire.

“Kśánta hao go pitá Shivanindá ár sahe ná

Kuver yár bháńd́árii Brahmá Viśńu dvárer dvárii.

Ámi tánri ájiṋákárii jeneo ki ta jána ná.”

“‘I am a follower of Sadáshiva, the brilliance of whose divine presence outshines even the dazzling brilliance of the jewels of Kuvera’s* treasury; whose unmatched dexterity in creation excels even that of the Creator Brahmá himself; whose unequalled love surpasses even that of the Dissolver Maheshvara himself; in whose loving shelter not only humans, but also animals and plants, feel absolutely secure. You certainly know this. I cannot bear this insult to Shiva any longer. Stop, Father, stop!’” After that self-immolation the relations between the Aryans and the non-Aryans improved.

*The mythological treasurer of heaven.

This Gaorii or Párvatii had no relation whatsoever to the Paora’n’ik goddess Durgá, whom people worship nowadays.

Gaorii, or Párvatii, was a human girl, and as such, she had only two hands.

The ten-armed goddess Durgá, who was a deity of the Paora’n’ik Age, has nothing to do with Shiva or His age.

The worship of the goddess Durgá is based mainly on the Márkańd́eya Puráńa, on the Devii Puráńa, the Káliká Puráńa, the Brhatnandikeshavara Puráńa, the Duragábhaktitaraunginii, the Deviibhágavat, etc.

None of these books is older than 1300 or 1400 years.

Seven hundred shlokas [couplets] were collected from those books and gathered together, and that constituted the abridged Márkańd́eya Puráńa, which is also known as Durgásaptashatii, or more colloquially, Shrii Shrii Cańd́ii.

None of these works existed at the time of Shiva; they have no relation with Him.

There are some people who believe that Durgá is the wife of Shiva, but this is not logically proved by any scriptural evidence. Shiva had only two hands, not four or six. Párvatii also had two hands.

But Durgá is a Paora’n’ik goddess, and the author of puráńa can create in his imagination as many hands of Durgá as he likes. Nobody can object to this.

No system for the worship of Durgá is prescribed by the Vaedik scripture; so to put a Vaedik seal of approval on the worship of Durgá, the famous Deviisúkta of the Vedas is cited.

But Haemavatii Umá, who is mentioned in the Deviisúkta of the Vedas, has no relation whatsoever to Párvatii (or Gaorii), the wife of Shiva, nor to Durgá, the Paora’n’ik goddess.

People have been thinking erroneously that Durgá was the wife of Shiva, but in reality she had no relation to Shiva.

Yes, Shiva did have a wife – Gaorii, or Párvatii. And another wife was Káliká, or Kálii.

Kálii was born in a non-Aryan community which was ethnically Austrico-Mongolo-Negroid.

Now you may wonder about Kálii’s appearance.

Why is she undressed?

Why is she sticking her tongue out?

There are many tales about these matters, but you must not give any importance to these stories; you must discover the real history behind these things.

One of Shiva’s wives was Gaorii, who had a son, Bhaerava. “Bhaerava” means “one who practises Tantra sádhaná”. Another wife of Shiva, Kálii, had a daughter, Bhaeravii. “Bhaeravii” means “a woman who practises Tantra sádhaná”. Bhaeravii learned the process of sádhaná from her father and practiced it regularly.

But Bhaeravii’s mother, Kálii, feared that her daughter might encounter some trouble while going out for Tantra sádhaná, so one night she went in search of her daughter.

At that time Shiva was deeply absorbed in meditation in the cremation ground.

Kálii, while walking along the path, tripped over Shiva. She felt extremely contrite and stuck her tongue out.

Shiva was roused from His meditation, and asked, Kastvaḿ? – “Who are you?”

Now, Kálii was deeply embarrassed, but being Shiva’s wife, how could she conceal her identity by introducing herself as Bhaeravii?

A woman cannot identify herself to her husband in the name of her daughter.

So she introduced herself by saying – Kaoverii asmyaham – “I am Kaoverii.”*

*She started to say her own name.Ka’lii, and then decided to give Bhaeravii’s name… so the word she spoke became Kaoverii.

Since then, Kálii has had another name – Kaoverii.

The Samskrta word is “Kaoverii”, but sometimes people wrongly spell the word in Bengali as “Káverii”.

Later Káliká Shakti, also called Kálii, was accepted in Post-Shiva Tantra and also in Buddhist Tantra as a Tantric goddess.

Still later, in the Paora’n’ik Age, this Kálii was worshipped as a goddess, and at that time she got a second name, Shyámá.

But this Kálii, or Káliká Shakti, has no relation to Kálii the wife of Shiva.

Kálii the wife of Shiva existed 7000 years ago; but Kálii the deity accepted in Post-Shiva Tantra and Buddhist Tantra goes back only 1600 or 1700 years.

The worship of Kálii the deity is preached chiefly on the basis of the Káliká Puráńa, so it has nothing to do with the Vaedik Age nor the age of Shiva.

But one thing should be remembered: that although she is a deity of Post-Shiva Tantra, she was accepted and worshipped in Buddhist Tantra also.

And in the same way,

Meghavarńá vigatavasaná,

Shavashivárúd́há shyámá trinayaná;


Caturbhujá Kálii Kálikárúpińii.

Kálii, the deity, has four hands. But Kálii the wife of Shiva had two hands, not four.

So Kálii the goddess who is worshipped these days according to the Paora’n’ik system is not the one who was Shiva’s wife.

Not only that, there is also a difference in meaning between kálii and shyámá.

First, it is a fact that Kálii or Shyámá, who is worshipped as a goddess nowadays, has no relation to Shiva.

Then, regarding her colour, in one part of the shloka she is described as meghavarńa that is, grey-black [“having the colour of a cloud”], (Kálii the wife of Shiva was a non-Aryan girl, so she may have been that colour); then again she is described in the same shloka as shyámá.

The word shyámá in Samskrta has two meanings.

One meaning is “green”.

Kálii, who is grey-black, cannot be shyámá. So there is an inconsistency in meaning, there is a contradiction in the shloka itself. The second meaning is

Shiitakále bhaveduśńá griiśme ca sukhashiitalá;

Atasiipuśpavarńábhá sá shyámá parikiirttitá.

“One whose sweet behaviour enables one to feel warm even in winter and cool in the summer, one whose body emits the glow of the atasii flower (that is, a golden colour), is called shyámá.” By this definition of shyámá also, the previous shloka is self-contradictory.

So we find that neither the goddess Durgá worshipped nowadays nor the goddess Kálii, is the wife of Shiva.

No goddess having eight or ten arms can be the wife of Shiva: He had only two hands. Similarly the Káliká Shakti having four hands cannot be the wife of Shiva.

Shiva had a third wife – Gauṋgá.

She was a Mongolian girl with a yellow complexion, born in Tibet.

I said a little while ago that Gaorii had a son, Bhaerava, and Kálii had a daughter, Bhaeravii and Gauṋgá had a son – Kárttikeya.

Kárttika, Sanmukham, Śar’ánana. (In Tamil Sańmugam, Bálasubrahmańyam or Murúgam).

Bhaerava, the son of Párvatii, was an ardent spiritualist, a Tantrik sádhaka. Bhaeravii, the daughter of Káliika’, was also an ardent spiritualist and a sincere practitioner of Tantra; but Gauṋgá’s son, Kárttika, was of a different mould.

Because of this Gauṋgá was very sad at heart; she was very unhappy with her only son.  So to remove Gauṋgá’s mental unhappiness, Shiva used to treat her with the utmost courtesy. The people would complain that Shiva was not so soft and courteous in His dealings with Párvatii and Kálii as He was with Gauṋgá. He was pampering Gauṋgá too much – as if Shiva was dancing in joy, with Gauṋgá seated on His head.

On the basis of this saying, Shiva was depicted in the Paora’n’ik Age with Gauṋgá tied to His matted locks of hair.

Then a story was concocted in some Purana that the water discarded after washing the feet of Viśńu, flowed down from heaven, and Shiva supported the flow on His head; then this flow became the River Gauṋgá [Ganges].

That is, Gauṋgá the wife of Shiva became the River Gauṋgá. Actually this River Gauṋgá has no relation whatsoever to Shiva. The story continues that from Shiva’s head the river flowed in four directions –

Svargete Alakánandá marttye Bhágiirathii,

Pitrloke Mandákinii pátále Bhogavatii.

One of the flows went towards heaven and became known as Alakánandá; one went to the earth and became known as Bhágiirathii; the third one went to Pitrloka – the realm of the Ancestors and became known as Mandákinii; and the last one, flowing to the underworld, became known as Bhogavatii.

These are mere tales of the Puranas.

The River Gauṋgá has no relation to Gauṋgá who was the wife of Shiva.

“Gauṋgá”, the river, is derived from gam + gam + d́a+ uniip (to show feminine gender).

Ga means a vast tract of land; gá means a woman who is moving; so a woman who is coming from a distant land and going towards a still more distant land – a woman who is flowing from Gauṋgottarii, the starting-point of the River Ganges, to Gauṋgáságar, the mouth of the river – a 1500-mile stretched of land – is called “Gauṋgá”.

This River Gauṋgá has no relation to the wife of Shiva.

9 May 1982, Calcutta