I acknowledge this picture from the Internet depicting Shiva in his blissful dance as Nataraja, king of dance.
Focused on the universe or Self
Mind Body filled with nectar of bliss
Be alive in Shiva Consciousness
This verse has enormous significance, far beyond what the words convey. Ascent and other reputed writings on this verse relate this technique to a visualization. This to my mind reduces the power of this technique. Proper understanding of what Shiva says can and will lead to the reality of bliss, ananda.
Shiva equates the macrocosm of the universe with the microcosm of the individual. The brahman, the universal consciousness resides in each one of us as the atman, individual consciousness. This is the basis of all Vedic and Vedantic assertion that we are divine. Aham Brahmasmi, I am Divine, is the truth resoundingly repeated in the Vedic scriptures. This truth is not something we need to visualize. We need to understand and truly be aware of this truth. That is the purpose and technique of this verse.
Once we open ourselves without reservation to the universe, the cosmic energy, the oneness of all that forms this reality around us, we open ourselves into that bliss. To be able to do that, we need to go within. The bliss lies within, not outside. To go within, into an unchartered territory we seem to be uncomfortable with, we need confidence. Shiva’s words provide that confidence.
We go to places of worship and perform rituals seeking this bliss. Worse still, we follow hypocrites, who pretend to know it all. None of this will result in inner peace, happiness, and ultimately that permanent state of bliss. Nothing external can lead you there. Because, if there is a giver out there, that giver can also take it away. When you find it within you, on your own, it’s your reality, and it can never be taken away.
The bliss Shiva speak of, the ananda, ultimate state of permanent happiness, is not the peaks of joy that we normally experience through sensory inputs. When the inputs stop, we descend from the peak of joy to a ravine of depression. Most of us live life in this manner, on a roller coaster ride, on a yo yo, swinging from one extreme to another, blaming everyone else but the source, one self. Ananda is the state of the yogi, disengaged and yet aware, witnessing, yet not participating.
You may say, how can I enjoy an ice cream by merely looking at it, without tasting it. You can taste it and enjoy it, but do not become obsessed with it. when the absence of that ice cream, which gives you joy, produces sadness, you are in addiction. In addiction, as any one with a medical background knows, it’s the law of diminishing return that works. More produces less. You may think this is an exaggeration. If you reflect, in every aspect of life, we live our lives obsessed and addicted to trivialities that seemingly give us joy. Their absence, in turn, depresses us.
Have the courage to stop this inner game. Enjoy what gives you joy, but be ready to be without it, and still be joyful. This is what Krishna calls the yogi state, when the polarities of joy and sorrow, success and failure, pain and pleasure disappear, giving way to samatva, equanimity. It is possible for each of us to reach this state.
As you practice the breathing pattern associated with yoga nidra, inhaling, holding, exhaling, holding, as you exhale and hold, feel yourself one with the energy space of the universe, mind and body one with the bliss of the universal energy. Gradually, you will find the mind body boundaries disappear, and only the energy remain.