I acknowledge this graphic from the Net.
In this 69th verse and dharana Shiva says
Pierce a limb with needle
Create conscious awareness
It would seem very naughty of Shiva to get us to pierce ourselves with needles to experience him. Alternatively, thousands of youngsters who pierce themselves may now get religion!
The concept here is quite basic, something science has known for a while. There is a thin line of difference between pain and pleasure, and joy and sorrow. Extreme of one leads into the other.
An old joke, perhaps from Osho, who was a master at this.
On dying, a man goes up to the pearly gates, and since Peter was busy otherwise his untrained replacement greeted him with ‘where do you want to go sir, hell or heaven?’ The man , a maverick by nature, asked, ‘I didn’t know that a choice, in which case may i have a trial please?’ The assistant said, ‘ok sir, go this way, and get back to me after day.’
The man was whisked off by invisible guides to a cottage, and was entertained by nubile companions, who seated on a soft couch and served him constantly food and wine for what seemed like forever. The cottage had no windows or doors, and he could not stir out. After what seemed like eternity, he was whisked back to the gates, and the guard asked him, ‘well?’
‘oh, i am fed up. Let me go to hell please’ he said.
‘Where do you think you were all this while?’ the guard asked.
Hell, heaven, pain, pleasure, joy, sorrow and all these dualities are creations of the mind and our conditioning. Yes, we do fail physical pain, but what affects us far more is the emotional pain that amplifies the physical one. As Candace Pert explains so well in Molecules of emotions, and V. S Ramachandran in Phantoms of the Brain, it is not merely the nerves that convey bodily sensations of pain etc to the brain, but each cell through neurotransmitters, and there is a lot we do not understand about the mechanism of how the bodily sensations are experienced by us. In fact, the brain feels no sensation; the surgeon can drill through the skull into the brain without anaesthesia.
Shiva understands this. When we prick our skin, depending on individual tolerance, we feel the pain. The pain though seemingly felt at the spot actually registers and perceived by our brain. Very often muscular and other pains are not felt where the physical hurt happens. Phantom pain of amputated limbs is an example of how the brain feels pain where there is no limb any more. He says here to become aware of the pain at the point where we feel the pain to transcend it.
This is a powerful technique with practical results. Next time you have pain in any part of your body, rather than reaching out for a pill or to distract yourself with another activity or stimulant, be aware of the pain. In a few minutes the pain will disappear. Of course, this does not apply if there is a continuing physiological cause of the pain when that needs to be addressed medically. Tension headaches and stress related stomach aches are classic examples of what can be relieved through simple awareness.