I acknowledge this graphic from the Net showing Ramakrishna Paramahamsa in a state of ecstatic devotion.
In this 95 dharana and 121 verse of Vigyana Bhairava Tantra, Shiva says:
Intuition arising from deep devotion of
One disengaged in Shankara’s energy
Leads to Shiva state
Shiva lays down three conditions to his state in this dharana, deep devotion, disengagement and intuitive awareness. When
these three come together Shiva state results.
Devotion is perhaps the most natural and spontaneous of the different paths to Shiva state. Krishna in Gita talks about several paths
reach him, karma or action; gnana or wisdom; dhyana or meditation; bhakti or devotion. Of these action, meditation and wisdom are
acquired qualities, not inborn, whereas devotion is inborn. As a consequence, there is no conditioning effect from the external world
Meera’s or Chaitanya’s devotion to Krishna, or Narada’s to Vishnu, or Hanuman’s to Rama, or Ravana’s to Shiva sprang from a deep inner
resource. This deep devotion may not have the connotation of action, wisdom or meditation as we may define them, but does in fact not only
include them but also go substantially go beyond them. Unlike the other three, devotion is innocent; it has no agenda; it is selfless; it is always
about the other, not the self.
If one can find a living guru who is truly selfless one can be deeply devoted to such a guru fulfilling Shiva’s condition. I can only say it’s a rarity, but
who knows? Personally, I would go with non living gurus and legends of Shiva and Krishna rather than embrace another living being as a guru.
Disengagement and intuitive awareness are the other two conditions Shiva lays down. In the four states of awareness that Mandukya Upanishad
describes, gross boy awareness of jaguars; subtle body awareness of swapna; causal body awareness of prajna; and the Fourth State awareness of
Turiya, the last two represent the intuitive and disengaged states of awareness. How does one combine the deep devotional attitude with the states of
disengaged and intuitive awareness? Is it even possible?
Disengagement or vairagya is what one usually associates with wisdom and meditation. However, in a deep state of devotion too the self disappears,
leading to a heightened state of meditative awareness where one is integrated with the divine and detached from the mind body self. Anyone who has lost
oneself in such a devotional state would have experienced intense joy along with uncontrollably streaming tears raising one to an altered state of consciousness,
in which the individual self is no longer relevant. The object of such devotion is irrelevant, be it Vishnu, Shiva, Devi or Krishna.
I recall an incident from Ramakrishna Paramahamsa’s life, when a woman devotee complained to him that she found to impossible to relate to Kali, who
Ramakrishna was devoted to. Ramakrishna asked her if there was anyone in this world she truly loved and was devoted to. She mentioned a child, her nephew,
who she was obsessed with. Ramakrishna advised her to meditate on this child, instead of Kali, which she readily agreed to and could. In a few weeks she found
herself deeply devoted to Kali.
Devotion is a state of mind. Devotion to one entity encompasses all. One who is truly and deeply devoted to Shiva will also be deeply devoted to Krishna, and
Ganesha and Devi. Devotion integrates; it can never separate. In this holistic state, the mind goes beyond intelligence and instinct into mindless intuition, and
detaches itself from its mind body connection to the energy state of the object of devotion. This is the state of Shiva.