Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Non difference of Siva and Shakti

Sri gurubhyo namaha.

The dichotomy and the bigotry in modern day Hinduism with regard to the nature of Siva and Shakti is quite puzzling. I should not even use the word " modern" in this context as this dichotomy has been in existence for quite some time - there have been some great men like Neelakanta Dikshidhar, Bhasurananda, Nrasimhacharya etc who have commented on this bigotry on the part of the followers of Siva and Shakti.
The followers of the different tantras in general and the followers of the SriVidya in particular are the best examples of bhaktas who have succeeded in rising above this split. In this context, a couple of names from the Sahasranama will shed more light on the unity of Siva and Shakti.

Samarasyaparayana - The Supreme abode of the co equal nature of Siva and Shakti
There are a few places in the Sahasranama where the underlying unity of Siva and Shakti is described in ways that are both explicit and covert. This underlying unity of Siva and Shakti has been shown in context of name, form, nature, actions, kundalini, created universe, mantra etc. Through this particular name, it is made explicitly clear that " Siva and Shakti are equally pre eminent and equally fundamental in this universe. The Chandraloka says, " We praise the ancient pair, the parents of the universe." It further adds , " Each is the end attained by the penance of the other" - this is one of the most beautiful descriptions of this unity.

This united state of Siva and Shakti has been established to be the Brahman (see previous posts and audio sloka from VarivasyaRahasya) and there are further advanced scriptures that prove this unity in various ways. Even the Gayatri is constructed (matrika level) to covertly convey this unity as Brahman. There are a few slokas in the Varivasya that describe this in detail, which perhaps we will go through on another occasion.
The Markandeya Purana explains, " Thou art the supreme and eternal Devi in whom all are established. Brahman is supreme and imperishable. The universe is perishable. Just as the fire is in the fire stick and atoms in the earth, so remain Brahman and the whole universe in Thee."
And elsewhere in the puranas it is said " Know that the possessor of Power (Siva) and the Power (Shakti) cannot be distinguished as being separate from each other." Meaning that there is no difference between the power and the person in possession of that power. This truth is an excellent reminder to us of the co equal nature of Siva and Shakti.

The name Sivashaktyaikyarupini that occurs as the last but one name in the Sahasranama also explains the same unity. The fact that it occurs at the very end coupled with the name Lalithambika makes it clear that the final word of the Sahasranama is the unity of Siva and Shakti. The above name means the Union of Siva and Shakti - In this connection refer to shruti " By the will of Siva, the supreme Shakti becomes one with Siva tattva. Again She manifests at the beginning of creation like oil from the oil seed." The word Union here is used to mean the state of supreme equality, the being absolutely without any difference.
The Saura Samhita says " The Shakti which is separate from Brahman is not different from Brahman itself. Such being the case, it is called Shakti (as separate) only by the ignorant (those unaware of this supreme equality). It is impossible to distinguish the difference, O wise one, between Shakti and the possessor of Shakti."
This union of Siva and Shakti is also declared by the Hamsa mantra and this union can be expressed and understood only through the guru.

I could go on for days on end waxing lyrical about this supreme and underlying oneness but I will be sensible and leave you go for now. You can ponder and meditate on this unity and sameness in your own heart for the time being!