I acknowledge this graphic from the Net

In this 135th Verse and 109th dharana in Vigyana Bhairava Tantra, Shiva says:


Neither bondage nor liberation is for me

These intellectual reflections, as sun in water,  cause fears in cowards

Go beyond into the Shiva space


Two references come to mind while meditating on this verse of Shiva. The first is from Yoga Sutra, where Patanjali says in the second sutra about Yoga being the cessation of mind movements. The second is Shankara’s Atma Shatakam, where in the last verse he talks about going beyond bondage and liberation, in almost the same words as Shiva.

The reflections Shiva refers to are the movements of the mind in the form of thoughts, feelings and emotions. The two primal emotions we experience are desire and fear, and the most powerful of these concern life and death. No one wants to die, as Yudhishtra says in the Yaksha Prasna episode of Mahabharata. We would rather stay in the bondage of life’s problems than die. Even those who accept death look at it from a point of escaping the cycle of life and death as the final liberation. This is what even gnanis, even seekers of spiritual wisdom seek.

It is the rare gnani, like Shankara, who says, ‘I seek neither the bondage of life nor liberation from this bondage, I am the ultimate embodiment of Sat Chit Ananda, Truth Consciousness Bliss, I am Shiva’. Shankara echoes Shiva in the true spirit of non duality, advaita. I am neither this nor that, I am not the mind or body, I am beyond all that these perishable matter stand for.

This cessation of mind movement, to good or to evil, to right or to wrong, to bondage or liberation, is what Yoga seeks and attains in  the ultimate eighth state of samadhi, by disengaging from all outcomes. Krishna paraphrases Shiva when he feels us to surrender all outcome of action to him. The surrender of outcome is the state of samatva, equanimity, and is achieved through samyama , the last three stages of yoga.

In our scriptures, from Rig Veda to Mundaka Upanishad, there are references to our inner self. Two words are used to describe the inner self. One is called jiva, the inner living being, and the other atman, the inner Self as the reflection of the Cosmic Truth. Mundaka Upanishad talks about two birds in a tree, one a golden bird perched on a higher branch, and another, smaller bird, perched on a lower one. Interpreting these verses, Rabindranath Tagore says:

“In the Upanishad it is said that there are two birds sitting on the same tree in different boughs, one of which feeds and the other looks on. This is an image of mutual relationship of the infinite being and the finite self. The delight of the bird which looks on is great, for it is pure and free delight. There are both of these birds in man himself, the objective one with its business of life, the subjective one with its disinterested joy of vision.”

When we are engaged in life and life’s issues, we are in the clutch of ego and conditioning. We are attached and sorrow results. When we realize we are the Creation itself, no different, we become indifferent to what happens around us. We go through the motions in disengagement. There is no bondage to fears and desires, even that of being free of these emotions. We reach the non dual Shiva state.