tantra

 

I acknowledge this graphic from the Net.

In this 77th verse and dharana ( 102 general verse) Shiva says

 

Accept the transience of this world

Like an illusion or a picture

Realise bliss in Shiva state

 

Several thousand years later perhaps, Buddha spoke of this transient state as ‘anicchha’ or impermanence, a key doctrine in his teaching. Everything in life is fleeting, Buddha says, nothing is permanent. The only constants are change and impermanence. Much of our distress and sorrow arises out of the expectation that we can hold on to what we experience as something good.

Shankara calls this impermanence maya or illusion. Maya does not mean, as many seem to think, that life is unreal. Life is very real. It is merely changing all the time. It changes with our perceptions. The impermanence of maya led Shankara to theorise that nothing that we experience is true in an absolute sense. Buddha too said the same thing. He said everything in life is relative, nothing is absolute.

What does this mean?

In the simplest sense, let us look at our own existence. How long do we last? How long do our body and mind last? We know they don’t last for ever, much as we may wish they would. What happens when the material body perishes? What continues, if at all?

The absolute truth is what Shankara and Vedanta call brahman. Buddha calls this nibbhana. The Jungian concept of collective unconscious and the Maslow humanistic concept of Self Actualization can lead to this state. When we truly understand that what we experience is relative and transient, and if we keep searching for that permanence in a spiritual quest, we reach the Shiva state of bliss.

Ramana Maharishi advocates the process of Self Enquiry by constantly asking oneself ‘Who Am I’ to reach this absolute truth. Everything transient, such as the body, mind, wealth, relationships fall by the wayside. What remains is the permanent truth. This is a very uncomfortable process as it questions many things that we consider essential in life. Question is, are they? If they were, would they last?

There is a story about Valmiki, the poet who wrote Ramayana, the Hindu epic.  He was in fact a robber for many years of his life. Narada, the celestial bard, runs into him in a jungle and is caught. Narada pleads with Valmiki to let him go as he has nothing valuable except his single stringed instrument, and the name of the lord Narayana. Valmiki laughs at him and threatens to kill him.

Valmiki asks him why he is robbing and killing people. Valmiki says it is for his wife, children and parents. Narada asks Valmiki to go up to them pretending that he has only a few hours to live unless one of them volunteers in his place. Valmiki ties up Narada securely and goes home secure in the belief that his loved ones will accept to offer their lives for him. Alas, all of them refuse. The wife says she needs to support the child, the son says he is too young, and the aged parents say that they do not want to offer their lives for a killer bandit.

Broken in mind and heart, Valmiki returns contrite to Narada. Narada teaches him the name of the lord Narayana, repeating which Valmiki goes into a deep trance for several years, soon covered by an anthill (Valmiki in Sanskrit means anthill).

Think about all that you believe is critical to you, believing that they would last forever. If you are intelligent, the answer would be obvious.

 

 

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