“Only rare individuals have the strength to take a large immediate plunge straight into the sea of the Divine Inﬁnity. Some therefore must choose as a starting point a concentration in thought or contemplation or the mind’s one-pointedness to ﬁnd the eternal reality of the Self in them.” –Sri Aurobindo The Synthesis of Yoga
All forms of the divine, whether they originate in the history of the race, or in the deep imagination of a culture, or from the swirl of ideas in the wash of time—all so consecrated forms are gestures of the one Absolute Spirit, impulses of the Infinite intelligence toward the awaking of that single individual who has turned head and heart in the direction of that truth. All other considerations aside, the seeker of God receives what he or she needs in the way of ascending to the path of truth, from which, through the faith and longing in the heart, there is no return, only eternal unfoldment.
Such a form is Lord Shiva. Worshipped for thousands of years through art, stories, chants, mantras, sutras, ceremony, pilgrimage, and face-on-the-floor surrender, this form of God is a doorway into the infinite for any individual willing to walk through it. Shiva brings his own gifts to the heart he floods with illumination. Divinity specific to this form is a storehouse of revelation. Satchitananda is his home. His earthly abode is atop Mt. Kailash in western Tibet. I know. I have visited the sacred mountain and circumambulated its base. I have touched the north face with mortal hands and have ridden the wave of inner transformation that has led me to this moment. Lord Shiva knows me and I Him. He is the essence of meditation, which is a dive into infinite silence, into consciousness without a thought, into existence before consciousness. I have meditated tens of thousands of hours at his feet. To know Shiva is to be awake to the Absolute. His image is fierce because making the inward turn takes courage that can only deity can provide. Cutting through the waves of infinity is serious business. Shiva is also infinite intelligence. His dance covers the entire cosmos. And, yes, too, “I am Shiva! Lord of Death!”. Om namah Shivia Om namah Shivia Om namah Shivia
Caution is always advised when moving in the direction of the Infinite. A deity worshipped with an open and sincere heart acts as much as a protector as a revealer. On your own is not a safe passage; often the infinite roars like a giant waterfall getting louder as one clutches helplessly to one’s raft. What to do? A steady ascending passage is the gift of the Divine through the chosen deity. Such a deity is not a savior, but the divine uplift inherent in the spirit woven into the mind and heart of the awakening soul. The sadguru will bring the deity to life. Your Higher Self will guide you in its use.
The chant presented here is called the Shiva Gayatri. Gayatri is a rhythm, one of the most ancient rhythms of awakening in the human race. It was the most used by the ancient seers of the Rig Veda. All Gayatri mantras today use that rhythm and several key words. I have underlined those key words in the text below. The original Gayatri Mantra was an offering to the Solar Lord of this system and is the oldest known mantra in existence. It has been rendered today by many devotional singers. Devi Premal has recorded many Hindu devotional chants, the most beloved of which, I believe, is the original Gayatri Mantra. This audio is of me chanting the Shiva Gayatri for ten minutes:
Om Tatpurushaya Vidmahe
Tanno Rudrah Prachodayat
Om, Let me meditate on the great Purusha,
Oh, greatest God, give me higher intellect,
And let God Rudra illuminate my mind
Purusha = the divine self, the invisible room, the indefinable;
Rudra = an ancient name for Shiva
The advantage of taking up a form of worship from outside of one’s home culture is that you can consciously determine how much of the cultural overlay you wish to participate in. The question is how much “debris” do you wish to row your evolutionary boat through on the way to infinity, where all forms burn up in the fire of life? In the privacy of my heart, I can feel the divinity of Jesus, but I would not proclaim that feeling to any others in my world without risking being defined in a way that I know I am not. Think of the mantra above as a tool, one of many possible tools, in this metaphor as an oar; think of the boat as your personal self; think of the river as the evolutionary movement in which your boat moves. When your boat begins moving on its own inexorably toward the goal, no need for the oar. Eventually no need for the boat. I believe in keeping it simple. Feel what it is. Touch the mystery of existence. Touch the mystery of you. The image above is my worship for you to see. The image below is my inner journey for you to see.