tantra

I acknowledge this picture from the Internet, though this is not what Shiva refers to here.

In this 43rd verse, and dharana technique from Vigyana Bhairava Tantra, Shiva says:

Renounce all

Allow bliss to rise

Let Shiva shine

Scholars will frown, let them. In the five yamas, or behavioral principles, which Patanjali outlines in Yoga Sutra, asteya and aparigraha seem a little distant from satya, truth; ahimsa, non violence; and brahmacharya, seeking Truth.  One can understand asteya as non covetousness, or in a larger framework abundance that leads to fulfillment, and aparigraha as non possessiveness, being disengaged from all material possessions.  In my mind, these two go together. When one feels disengaged from desires, and the wants imposed by conditioning, one feels liberated and fulfilled, and becomes free of any desire to envy, covet or steal.

These qualities of asteya and aparigraha are critical to any practice of sanyas, or renunciation. We see people in various colored robes, in apparent modes of renunciation, and yet full of wants, ego and desires. The word kuhana used in this verse translated usually as austerity or renunciation. It also means hypocrisy!

Over a thousand years ago, Shankara said in his Bhaja Govindam,

Matted lock and head shorn of hair

Saffron clad with many an air

Fools with eyes that do not see

Wearing disguises to fill their belly

These are the hypocritical renunciates Shankara condemned thousand years ago. They have now mushroomed into millions, self styling themselves as gurus and teachers. Shiva is not talking about them in this verse. He talks about the true renunciate who has renounced his mind.

Hindu scriptures mention several paths to renunciation and austerity, among them fasting, pilgrimage, fire sacrifices, chanting, worship and others. In another verse from Bhaja Govindam, Shankara says

Pilgrimage to holy rivers and seas

Fasting and doing good through charities

All these without wisdom in any religion

Do not lead in a hundred births to liberation

Those who wish to learn more of Bhaja Govindam can refer to my book The Gift Within.

Many consider Shankara to be an incarnation of Shiva. Shankara does not contradict Shiva. He elaborates. Shiva in this dharana refers to renouncing the mind, not performing hypocritical austerities to acquire brownie points. When the mind dissolves, energy reigns, bliss happens, Shiva appears.

To practice this dharana, please do not fast, give to charities, visit temples or go to gurus. Just drop your mind. Disengage from desires. Let go. Be Shiva.

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