NAMAH SHIVÁYA SHÁNTÁYA – 1
AN INTRODUCTION TO – SHIVA (Discourse 1) – corrected from different source
SHRII SHRII ÁNANDAMÚRTI
11 April 1982, Calcutta, INDIA
When I spoke regarding Krśńa(1), I said that His life can be divided into two main parts: the first part is Vrajagopála and the second part is Párthasárathi.
I also said in that context that Párthasárathi was not as easily accessible as Vrajagopála was.
I further said that the Mahábhárata, Great India, was brought about by Krśńa but it certainly did not encompass the whole of Krśńa’s life.
Krśńa exists without the Mahábhárata, but the Mahábhárata does not exist without Krśńa.
Regarding SHIVA, we should say that His life cannot be divided in this way into two parts.
From the very beginning, He was an omnipresent entity. Whenever, in the undeveloped and simple human society of those days, any need arose, SHIVA was there to help; whenever any knotty problem developed, SHIVA was there to solve it.
So we cannot divide and analyse His life and personality into fragments, nor can we write the history of those times in that way.
At the same time I feel constrained to state that, considering His unique role in building human culture and civilization, this culture and civilization cannot stand without Him.
But SHIVA can stand very well, shining in His own glory, quite apart from human culture and civilization.
So to write history in the true sense of the term, for the sake of human society at present and in the distant future as well, SHIVA cannot be neglected.
Let us first analyse the meaning of the term SHIVA. In trying to find the meaning of the word SHIVA, we must know whether or not the Samskrta language was used in those days.
Some people say that the Samskrta language was imported to India from Central Asia, but this does not seem to be correct.
Rather it is more reasonable to say that in those days one almost identical language was current all the way from Central Asia and Eastern Europe to Southeast Asia.
The branch of that language that was popular in the South East Asia was called Samskrta, while the language that was spoken in the North eastern parts was Vaedik.
The Aryans migrated to India from outside, no doubt, but the Aryan influence was not so discernible in the Southeast Asia as in the northwestern parts of India.
The Vaedik language came to India with the Aryans, but the Samskrta language is an indigenous language of India; it did not come from outside.
I have stated this fact clearly in my recently-published book on Ráŕh.
It is not at all possible to trace the exact antiquity of the Vaedik language, because the only book that is available in that language is the ancient Rkveda, and the Rkveda was not in written form in those days either.
The people of those days did not know how to read and write; they had no knowledge of any alphabet.
They were not at all acquainted with the letters a, á, ka, kha* etc.
*The first two vowels and the first tow consonants of Samskrta.
The alphabet – the Bráhmii script, the Kharośt́hi script, and the subsequent scripts born out of them – were invented some time during the last 5000 to 7000 years.
The Sáradá, the Náradá, and the Kut́ilá scripts were variants of the old Bráhmii script, and the Shriiharśa* script is a variant of the Kut́ilá script. The script in which modern Bengali is written is the Shriiharśa script.
Author’s note: Of the existing scripts in South Asia, the Shriihars’a script is the second in antiquity to the Sa’rada’ script(Ka’shmiirii script). A manuscript written in old Sa’rada’ script can be found in the historical museum of the author’s Calcutta residence.
The Rkveda was composed about 15,000 years ago. Scripts were totally unknown in those days. It would not be incorrect to say that although the human race came onto the earth about a million years ago, its civilization started only about 15000 years ago. This shows that human civilization and human culture are not very old in relation to the antiquity of the human race. We should not belittle civilization for being so recent, but neither can we venerate it as being very old.
In the days of SHIVA, the Aryans started entering India from the northwest.
Many of them had already arrived, many were on the way, and many were still making preparations to come.
The Vaedik language of the Aryans who had already arrived in India had exerted a widespread influence on the spoken dialects of the indigenous population of India, such as the Kash, the Scythians, the Euchi, the South Kuśán, etc.
Obviously, Samskrta, the common language of the indigenous people of the then India, was not outside the orbit of influence of the Vaedik language; but that influence was not unilateral; that is, the Vaedik language was also influenced by the Samskrta language.
Tantra had its origin in India, and SHIVA gave a systematic form to it.
Of course, Tantra in its Káshmiirii and Gaor’iiya Schools did exist before SHIVA, but in a scattered and crude form.
So naturally one has to admit that SHIVA was born and brought up in an environment of Tantra, although it was not classical Tantra.
SHIVA was well acquainted with the Vaedik language and the Vaedik religion.
Both in the Vedas and in the Tantrik treatises, we come across references to SHIVA, but not in very ancient texts, because it was not possible to put works in writing in very ancient times, due to the lack of knowledge of the alphabet. *
*Thus much material was lost.
The Tantrik texts used to advise people, “You should do this, you should do that, you should hear and learn these lessons from your masters,” and so on; because in those days it was not possible to write books, as scripts had not yet been invented.
The Vedas would also advise people in the same way – to hear and learn things from the masters. That is why the Vedas are called “shruti” in Samskrta.
Shruti means “ear”; so that which is learned by hearing is called shruti.
The period of SHIVA was a most turbulent period in India. On the one hand there were the Aryans, the outsiders, and on the other hand there were the indigenous people, with their Tantra-oriented culture and religion.
Into this conflict-ridden environment, SHIVA was born.
Now, what is the derivative meaning of SHIVA?
From the extant texts on Tantra and Veda and from all other written and unwritten sources, we get three meanings of the term SHIVA.
The first and most important meaning of SHIVA is “welfare”(Kalya’n’a or Maungala).
Jiṋátvá SHIVAḿ shántimatyantameti.
[Knowing that SHIVA, who has neither beginning nor end, who is the creator of this vast universe –
That multi-formed single entity who encompasses the whole
universe – one attains eternal peace.]
Here SHIVA means “Kalya’n’a – welfare”. Shivamastu means Kalyáńamastu [“May you be blessed”].
Kalyáńasundaram is the representation of SHIVA embodying the true spirit of blessedness.
People say that He has been serving people, doing good to them, with five faces.
He is described as Paincavaktram’ “having five faces”; two on the left – Vámadeva and Kálágni; two on the right – Dakśińeshvara and Iishána; and one in the middle – Kalyáńasundaram, the Supreme Controller which controls all the individual’s desires for action.
Dakśińeshvara, the extreme right face of SHIVA, is so called because He is showering love and dakśińá [compassion] upon the created beings. That is the special role allotted to Dakśińeshvara.
Iishána – the face next to the right – is responsible for controlling all the jiivas, individual beings, with meticulous care. And Kalyáńasundaram, the face in the centre, plays the role of controlling all the faces.
Now the question is, why is Kalyáńasundaram assigned such a role? His only purpose is to promote the greatest welfare of all living beings; He has no other purpose.
In addition, SHIVA has two faces on the left: Vámadeva on the extreme left, and Kálágni next to the left.
Vámadeva is terrible – rudra, rudrátirudra, rudro’pirudrah – “one who teaches others by making them shed tears”. But the underlying purpose is to teach people, not to harm them.
The other face, Kálágni, also subjects people to excruciating torture, but there also, the main purpose is to teach them, to promote their welfare.
Now here also, the two roles of Vámadeva and Kálágni are controlled by the central face, Kalyáńasundaram. He is sundaram, beautiful, because He promotes kalyáńa [welfare]: hence, “Kalyáńasundaram”.
He is terrible, but at the same time superbly calm and tranquil. Yet behind His apparent dreadfulness and tranquillity lies the kalyáńasundaram bháva [mental flow].
He is both severe and tender.
He is tender, so naturally people love Him.
Although He is severe, people still adore Him, because underlying His apparent severity, there is tenderness. Thus the role of SHIVA is predominantly the role of a promoter of welfare.
So the first meaning of the term SHIVA is “welfare”.
The second meaning of the term SHIVA is “cognition in its zenith status” – the zenith status of the Cognitive Principle, the Supreme Non-Attributional Process, the Supreme NonAttributional Entity beyond all existential bondages.
I will elaborate on these meanings as appropriate later.
The third meaning is SadáSHIVA, who was born into this world about 7000 years ago – and who, by His sanctified birth, consecrated, as it were, each and every dust particle of this earth and utilized His whole life for the sole purpose of advancing the cause of universal welfare.
Remember, I have not said “human welfare,” because in our world, not only are there humans, there are also birds and animals, trees and plants.
SHIVA belongs to all; and for all living beings, He gave His all. Hence the people called Him “SadáSHIVA”; sadá means “always”, and SHIVA – as I have said earlier – means “welfare”. So “SadáSHIVA” means “one whose only vow of existence is to promote the all-round welfare of all living beings”.
I will gradually tell you about this extraordinary personality. I hope you will deeply relish the discourses on this great man, this great personality.
Now the question remains: in the night of blinding darkness, do humans alone aspire to the soothing touch of light?
All want it. All seek to grow out of the oblivion of existential darkness into the warmth of life, to experience finally the fulfilment of their life’s urges.
Up until this day, human beings have not made a proper appraisal of this great personality, the Mahásambhúti,* who gave human beings their first opportunity to experience the sweet joy of fulfilment of all their longings.
No one has discussed Him much up until now.
*the special manifestation of Supreme consciousness.
Why people failed to make this appraisal is irrelevant today.
It is the firm duty of every individual to know and evaluate the exact contribution of SHIVA, and in this process of evaluation, we cannot ignore the personality Himself.
One may derive some joy from a bright ray emanating from a shining entity, but without the entity itself, the bliss will not be complete.