Hinduism Indic Talks

Relevance Of Shiv Agamas For Hindus Today – Srijan Talk by Arti Agarwal

So, thanks, a I thanks to Rahul ji and everyone at Srijan Foundation for inviting me here to give this talk. And my today’s talk here is on the Shiv Agamas and before I go ahead with the talk, I just wanted to mention that you know everything I know, about Shiv Agamas. Whatever I know, I’ve learnt it from my Guru, His Holiness Paramahamsa Nithyananda Swamiji. He is reviving the entire science of Shiv Agamas. So I will ofnow you can course be sharing more about the Shiva Agamas. but this is a knowledge which is extremely ancient, and which has been like, lost for a very long time and it is being revived by my Guru who I’ve been a disciple of for the last 10 years. So like Rahul ji was sharing.

I was working for Schlumberger since 2007 and I worked for 3 years and then I quit my oilfield job and then I started working in my creative line and since then it also awakened my own spiritual seeking. And so that’s how I got into this whole realm of learning, the real juice of Hinduism which most people have forgotten now.

So, Hinduism cannot be separated from the spiritual aspect of it, and the spirituality cannot be separated from the ritual aspect of it. So, that is, what is very beautifully explained in the Shiv Agamas. So, this is my Guru. So before I start the talk, I’ll just start with a mantra, if you.. if you would like you can chant along with me.

“Om Nityananadam Paramasukhadam Kevalam Gyaanamurtim..
Dvandvaateetam Gaganasadrisham Tattvamasyaadilakshyam..
Ekam Nityam Vimalamachalam Sarvadeesaakshibhootam..
Bhaavateetam Trigunarahitam Sadgurum Tam Namaami..”

“Om Sahanavavatu Sahnaubhunaktu Sahaveeryamkaravavahai..
Tejasvinaam Vadhitamastu Mavidvishaavahai..
Om Shantih Shantih Shantih.. “

So, I’ll first start with why should we even bother about Shiv Agamas, why should you care about Shiv Agamas. When I say you I mean anyone right? So, in contrast with other traditions, I don’t know if I can even call them traditions, but in contrast with other so-called religions, Hindu scriptures are not just books. That is the first thing that we need to understand, that Hindu scriptures are not just dead books which store some facts or figures or do’s or don’t’s – that’s not at all what they are. They are living scriptures. And they have… their sacredness is because they are timeless. And why are the timeless? That is because they describe, and they give us timeless Cosmic Truths. So it is not just that they are describing some deity or they are describing what you should do… but all of that is also, again connecting back to living, radiating the Cosmic Truths.

So, all are scriptures are timeless for that reason. Not because XYZ said so, but because they give truths which are timeless. And these truths were revealed to the Rishis, Munis and other Sages thousands and thousands of years ago. Now, the Shiv Agamas are these scriptures which were revealed by Shiva, Mahadeva Himself. They are not, like you know, described as Mahadeva giving, they were given by Mahadeva Himself. So Mahadeva has walked on this planet many many times in many many forms, and these set of scriptures were revealed at the Mount Meru by Mahadeva to His Sapta Rishis of that yuga.

So in the beginning of the scriptures itself, very beautifully the description is given that Mahadeva is sitting in Samadhi at Mount Meru and the scriptures, sorry the Rishis go and entreat Him that, you know, You are All-Knowing, please bless us with this knowledge of how we can live like You, how we can radiate this, you know, beautiful existence which You are living, how should human beings, who are caught in this mire, who are, you know, so confused about their existence, who keep getting caught in the same kind of problems again and again – how can we be free of those bonds? So this is the seeking with which the Rishis go to Mahadeva and ask Him to reveal the science and the truths which can liberate them from this. This is how the Shiv Agamas were revealed by Mahadeva Himself.

And Mahadeva gives a vision document. He is not just saying do this and don’t do this, no, that is a very mediocre logic, that is not the kind of logic which is contained in our Dharma, in our Sanatana Dharma. Mahadeva says, you have asked a very good question, now let me reveal this entire science to you. So it is very very important to understand that the insights, the truths, even the rituals, everything that is revealed in the Shiv Agamas is revealed with this purpose. It is very important to understand the purpose. Not just that, because a lot of times.. the reason why I am mentioning this and emphasizing this is because, a lot of times a lot of these mediocre logic people come and just pick out one fragment of a verse and then they say, ‘oh you are told to offer this and not offer that’, but they don’t understand the purpose behind it. So the purpose is very very important because the Shiv Agamas start with the very purpose for which they were revealed… right.

So, because, like I said that they are timeless, even the science which is revealed is timeless. Now many people come and ask a lot of times you know, that they are so old and you know, will it be relevant to us now and all of that. Now from that time when they revealed to now, what has changed? The Cosmic Truths have not changed, but what has changed in that time – the attitudes of the people, the mental setup of the people, the capacity of people to do tapasya, right? if we are told to sit without moving for one hour, how easy is it going to be for us to do that? Right? The demography has changed, the topography has changed, the political structure is extremely different from what it used to be thousands, say ten thousand years ago. Overall the dharmic ambience itself has changed, which is why there is so much discussion, there is so much so-called controversy around the relevance of scriptures.

Now imagine ten thousand years ago there was no controversy around whether we should study scriptures or not, there was no second though current, is it important or not? We knew it was important, we knew what it was for, right, but now because all this dharmic ambience itself is compromised, people even have this question that why should we care about Agamas, right? But the Shiv Agamas will answer you that also. So this is what has changed but what has not changed is the relevance of the Shiv Agamas, because you see, Mahadeva is, He knows how the minds of the people work. The first question they will ask is ‘why should I do this?’ Right, like how kids ask, right, you tell them ye yahan mat rakho, wahan rakho, first thing they will ask is ‘why should I do it?’ Which is why Mahadeva, to resolve this question for all of us, first thing He starts is ‘Let Me tell you why you should do this.’ Right? So it starts with that very purpose.

Now just to give you an idea of where do the Shiv Agamas belong in the whole hierarchy of Hindu scriptures, Hindu scriptures are divided into 3 types – the Shruti, Smriti and the Itihaas. Now the Shruti, it’s very important to understand the relevance of Shruti. Shruti are the scriptures which were revealed directly as the Cosmic Truths which were you can say downloaded to the Rishis. So the Rishis were Mantra-Drishta… right? The Rishis were not just people who did tapasya and all that. They were, of course they were enlightened but they were Mantra-Drishta. So, what does the word Mantra-Drishta mean? Mantra Drshta is somebody who can have the entire vision of a mantra. So, when Upanishads say “Isha Vaasyam Idam Sarvam”, the Rishi is not just saying it verbally, he is seeing the whole cosmos when he is saying “Isha Vaasyam Idam Sarvam”, right, that is what a Rishi was. So when the Rishis wrote down, first of all the Rishis did not write it down initially, these were revealed to the Rishis who recorded it as the Shruti.

Now what were the Smritis? The Rishis who at that particular yuga or at that point of time felt a need for a certain science or a certain way of life to be revealed for those set of people, they recorded their own records of lifestyle, of other knowledge, for those people. So Manusmriti is one such scripture. Now there is a slight difference between Shrutis and Smritis because Smritis were actual experiences of those Rishis. It’s not like it is not relevant because their records are also relevant, I’ll come to why but they… it was, at the end of the day it was their own sharing, their own personal experience of the same… of the same Cosmic Truths and how they have applied it at that point of time.

So Manusmriti, even the Patanjali Yoga Sutras, they were Smritis, they were not Shrutis. The Itihaas were the Puranas, all the epics and all of those which record the history of mankind through different periods of time. Now what is the relevance of all these scriptures, where do they all fit into our current structures? So the biggest question which keeps going round and round many times is, anywhere any Hindu, you know ritual, any Hindu practice, even a Hindu belief is questioned. The first this everybody has is ‘where is it mentioned, how do you know it is a part of Hinduism, how do you even know your experience is authentic?’ If I say like, you know, my third eye is awakened, and I can see through the distances, the first question everybody has is ‘how do you know it’s not your imagination?’ Right? There are the kind of questions everybody has and that is just whether you want to call it the curse of current times or the reality of current times, you can call it what you want but that is the kind of questions people have. Now the scriptures demystify and resolve this problem also for us.

Now you can classify the scriptures into 4 categories. First is the Shastra Pramanas. The Shastra Pramanas are the original scriptures which were the Shrutis.

The second is the Apta Pramana which were the experience of all the Rishis who made it through different times. Like… so the scriptures have been revealed over many yugas, right, not just a hundred years or something, yugas. Now every Rishi of that yuga has recorded something or the other of what he experienced. So those accounts are called Apta Pramanas.

Atma Pramana is your Guru, whoever is the Guru from whom you are taking initiation, that is your Guru. So the experience of your Guru is Atma Pramana.

Sakshi Pramana is when you experience something.

So, when you are experiencing something which has also been mentioned in the Atma Pramana, your own Guru has experienced it, which is also experienced in, by the Rishis of the earlier ages and which is also mentioned in the Shastra Pramanas, you know, that it is the most, definitely a very authentic timeless science.

It is not that it as only relevant at a certain period. There are something which were maybe relevant at a certain age and time and may not be relevant now, but there are… the moment, you know, that something is, you know, sort of corroborated by all four, you know, that there.. there cannot be any doubt about its relevance.

Now the importance of Shrutis is because, see in the age, in the ancient times they did not have this practice of learning A for Apple. No. They weren’t like, they didn’t have their head in the books. So they didn’t have like hundreds of files and folders and documents, they didn’t use to, the education system itself was not for that purpose of making files and folders and books. Right? The entire education was only by listening, and the transmission of Truths was only by listening. Because they were preparing enlightened beings, they were not preparing like, you know clerks. The entire Vedic parampara was with the emphasis on listening. It was not, ‘I am telling you the verse you write it down’, No. Writing down, the book will get enlightened, you will not get enlightened. You have to listen, you have to internalize, you have to like you know think about it, then you have to apply it. If you are not listening, the whole science is lost, what is the point if you’re not going to listen only right?

So Shruti was very very important and because in the ancient times the Rishis and the young students, they were such experts in listening that the moment something was given to them, some mantra was given to them, they used to be able to memorize the entire Shastras from end to end. They didn’t have to record it anywhere. It was verbatim, the next generation, the next generation, the next generation would be able to repeat it. And this is not just something I am saying, if you actually, of course will be sharing more later.

But if you actually see the Agamas, in the beginning of every Agama it is mentioned who is asking for that scripture to be revealed, which Rishi is revealing it or which Rishi is describing it. And then he also gives the entire lineage of Gurus, how it was transmitted from one generation to the other, to the other, to the other, and they all know, it’s not like ‘one, there will be a gap somewhere, that okay, after this I don’t remember who gave the science to whom’. No, they will know the entire.. if there were 28 Gurus before him, they will know the entire 28 and the 28 were repeated exactly the same way.

So this is how the Agamas were revealed, which is why a lot of times we are not able to really give the exact dated, the exact dateline of when they were revealed because for a very very long time there was no recording of it. Nobody wrote down. And people in those times lived for hundreds of years sometimes, they were yuga purushas, so you can’t really fix their age as they must have been only 70. So you approximate it like that, it can’t be done like that. Which is why we can’t fix and exact timeline of when these scriptures were revealed.

So now I’ll come to what is Agama? Agama is that which is revealed, right. It is not that which is documented, it is not that which is shared, it is that which is revealed by Mahadeva Himself. Right, now Agama is a word which is used in many places, now just, before we go ahead, I just want to clarify one thing. The word is Sanskrit, so anywhere else in English whichever spelling you use can be considered right or wrong based on who’s reading it. But the original word, unless you write it in Sanskrit everything else is detail. So, all the English spellings, you can think it’s right, it’s wrong, it’s your choice. But the original, I’ll only go by what is in Sanskrit and even my pronunciation, part of it is North Indian style, whatever I’ve learnt myself, and whatever I’ve learnt from my Guru will be South Indian style. So, it’ll be a mix and match of both. So please accept it the way I’m teaching it for now.

Now Agams are, or Agamas, whichever way you want to call it, are of 3 categories – the Shiva Agamas, the Vishnu Agamas and the Shakta Agamas. Now I will only be talking about the Shiva Agamas. I’m a Shaivite and so far I have only learnt the Shiva Agamas. So I would only want to talk about that which I have learnt, right.

Now the Shiva Agamas are, all the Agamas which were revealed by Mahadeva Himself. Now we come to how were the Agamas revealed. Now the Kamika Agama which is considered to be one of the most important Agamas describes this – So Mahadeva has 5 faces. Now His 5 faces, when He is giving the knowledge, are the Sadyojata, Vamadeva, Aghora, Tatpurusha and Ishana. Now all these 5 faces further had 5 faces each. So they were eventually 25. Now from each face of Mahadeva, the Laukika, Vaidika, Adhyatmika, Atimarga and Mantra Agamas were revealed. So these are not names, these are categories. Right. All these, I am just giving this description, so you understand the length, breadth and depth of the Agamas. They are not just one or two documents, you will realize that more and more as I go forward, they are an ocean. Right. So Laukika, Vaidika, Adhyatmika, Atimarga, Mantra are 5 categories of Agamas which were revealed from each of the 5 faces. Now Kamika Agama gives total number of Agamas as 25, but there are other, additional Agamas revealed from some of the faces, this is also mentioned.

Now I’ll give a little bit of detail about which are the Agamas. Now the Agamas which were revealed from the Sadyojata face are the Bhuta Tanta and example is the Kaula Tantra. So, this is an example of that. Vamadeva revealed the Vama Tantra, the number in the bracket is what has been mentioned as the variations. Now I don’t want to translate that any further, I’m just telling you as it is mentioned in the Agama. The Aghora face revealed the Bhairava Tantra, the Tatpurusha revealed the Garuda Tantra and the Ishana, which is the most important, the Ishana face of Mahadeva is the face which gives enlightenment, so the Ishana revealed 2 types of Agamas, the Rudra Bheda and the Shiva Bheda. The Rudra Bheda were 18 and the Shiva Bheda were 10. Now the Shiva Bheda, the names are mentioned – Yoga, Chintya, Karana, Ajita, Dipta, Sukhshma, Sahasra, Amshumam and Kamika. Out of these the Kamika is considered to be the most important. So I wanted to go over this, so you understand the number of Agamas and exactly how much detailed they were revealed.

Now I want to describe a little bit about the numbering in Agamas because this something which is very unique. The numbering which we follow in our normal Arithmetic system ends at trillion, right? Beyond that normally we don’t count. Like million, billion, trillion, uske aage nahin aata, right. So in Agamas, there is a different word for every, you know for every power of 10. So from zero to one to ten, hundred, thousand it goes on to hundred million trillion. It is, the hundred million, trillion is called parardha. So for literally every power, every increasing power, there is different word for it. And there is a reason for it because the Kamika Agama has parardha or 10 to the power of 20 verses. It is, and that is only one Agama. Only the Kamika has a hundred million trillion verses. Now some of the other Agamas – Karana Agama has ten million verses, Sukhshma Agama has one billion verses, Sahasra Ahama has one hundred trillion verses.

So this will give you an idea of the volume of these scriptures which originally existed. Originally word is very important here, why, because the Agamas we have now do not have these many verses. We lost all of that. Don’t ask me how, we all have a reasonable knowledge of history by now, we know how many attacks happened, who all came and burnt what all and how many weeks which university and library burnt. We all know that, right? That is not what I’m here to talk about today. But I wanted to bring this, to mention here to emphasize how much of our literature has been destroyed, not lost, just lost, destroyed. Now many of these Agamas actually exist in palm leaves and some of those palm leaves have been eaten by some insects or, just weathering over time, they are literally in palm leaves. And they are now being digitized and revived and scanned and all of that. Some of these have first, earlier been written by hand by some other people who were dedicated to Dharma, from palm leaves they wrote it by hand. So some are existing as manuscripts. And I’m not joking I actually have some of these manuscripts. This, like the first slide you saw on the screen, the background was from a manuscript actually. So these… this is the way in which these scriptures are existing today. So you can understand how much effort goes into reviving these scriptures. And of course, like I was saying, Swamiji is reviving all these and there is an entire team which is only dedicated to searching and digitizing and translating these scriptures.

So now I come to actually what is contained in the Agamas. I’ve built up a lot of background on what is the Agamas and how they’ve been transmitted and all of that. Now what is contained in the Agamas. Now again before I go ahead and explain what is there and what is not there, the purpose of everything in the Agamas was to realize the Cosmic Truth which is Shivoham. You are Sadashiva. I am Sadashiva. Right.

Now every Agama has 4 types of content. One is the Kriya Pada. Kriya Pada are all the rituals, all the practices, everything, like Prana Pratishtha, like offering water, offering Achmaneeyam, doing the mudras, all of those things, everything which can be contained broadly in the category of ritual or spiritual process, that is the Kriya Pada. So Kriya Pada, this classification is actually mentioned in the Kamika Agama itself and at the end of every chapter it says which Pada it belongs to. Now, Pada, by the way, is not ‘step’. It is ‘part’. So, all four, it’s not like you go step by step, not at all. These are 4 parts and all 4 have to be practiced.

Carya is the lifestyle aspects. So for example, when should you take bath, why should you take bath, what kind of purifications should you be doing, all those things are lifestyles things, what should you be doing for brushing your teeth, to that detail Mahadeva has given in the Agamas. So all the lifestyle things are the Carya Pada.

Yoga Pada is literally rewiring your body to experience Oneness, to experience the Truth of Shivoham. So all the asanas, all the pranayama,, dharana, Dhyana, samadhi, everything, all.. everything that you know goes with rewiring your body is the Yoga Pada.

Jnana Pada is the spiritual truths. All the knowledge which you need to realize everything in the Cosmos. So Mahadeva’s definition of jnana is not just knowledge, that’s like a very weak word, but knowledge of realizing everything. By everything it means that knowledge is also the possibility of knowing everything, everything means that’s why Mahadeva is called Sarvagya, right. Sarvagya means the capacity to know everything. So, knowledge here, or jnana here is not like just knowledge like, what you read in books is also knowledge, but that’s not the knowledge He’s talking about. Knowledge of enlightenment and knowledge about knowing everything, how can you know everything, that is given.

So I’ll just give a brief description of what is contained in the Kamika Agama because it is the biggest text which we have as of now. And then I’ll go over some of the common understandings we have about Hindu rituals, Hindu practices and what does Mahadeva say about it. So Kamika Agama has first of all the details of the mantra, even before the mantra is actually, it gives the significance of every sound in Sanskrit. Sanskrit mein jo Varnamala hoti hai, literally every letter in the Varnamala has a spiritual significance. That is also given in the Kamika Agama. So every, in the beginning, Mahadeva describes very beautifully, every letter is associated with a certain colour, a certain deity and produces a certain effect in the person who chants it.

So, that also is given. So, anybody who is curious about Sanskrit should definitely read this part of the Agama where literally, every letter can give. So if you want to be rid of fever, you need to visualize a certain deity, a certain colour and chant that particular letter. So it’s literally to that extent, literally everything Mahadeva has given is like solution oriented. It is not just a dry ritual, it is solution oriented. When He gives you any ritual, He tells you what you will get from doing that also. So, then He gives the daily habits or the lifestyle on what you should be doing, what time you should wake up, what time you should brush your teeth, which direction you should be facing, how should you do your pooja, what should you make the Linga out of, what all is an acceptable material for doing pooja, it’s not like you can go and offer popcorn in pooja, right. So what all can be given in pooja, what kind of oil should you be using in doing your pooja, to that detail He has given instructions. He has not said do this, don’t do that, no. He has given a whole classification – this is best, if you don’t have this, use this, if you don’t have this also, then use this, and then this last thing is the most preferable and Mahadeva does not like this.

So after all, you are offering pooja to Mahadeva, you should be offering what Mahadeva likes, right, not what you like. So He has given that, the vidhi to perform pooja, the offering sin pooja, what should the naivedyam be made of, how should you make the naivedyam, He has given the recipe of how should you make the naivedyam and what is the best item to use and how you can, like you know.. and He’s given very simple materials, it’s not so difficult, it’s just rice and how you can you know, prepare the rice balls, He’s given that.

Many agamas exist on palm leaves. They are eaten away by insects. They are being digitized, scanned, revived now. Some of them are written by hand. How much effort goes into reviving. What is contained in the Agamas? The purpose of everything in agamas was to realize Cosmic Truth. Every agama has four types of content. One is Kriyaapaada. Padam doesn’t mean step but a part. He gives you details about your daily rituals. What should you be doing every day, what time you should wake up, take bath, what should you be doing right to the brushing of teeth. What direction you should be facing, how should you do Pooja? How should you do your Pooja, what material should you be using. What materials are acceptable. You can’t offer popcorn in Pooja – he gives details on everything, like what kind of oil you should be using. He gives you instructions on what you should be using, the best thing – if you don’t have it then what else you can use. after all you are doing Pooja of Mahadeva, right? So, offer what He likes. He even gives recipes of naivedyam, how you should prepare it. He has given simple materials, not difficult at all. Basically, just rice. He is a visionary. He tells you about agriculture – tilling the land. Jisko Hal chalaana bolte hai – Hal kaise banana hai? he tells you which direction you should be facing. Who is going to till the land? Is it the king? A Brahmana, a Kshatriya?  has given entire processes.

These days we talk about Vaastus, right? But it’s just limited to where should be windows or where to place your bed. No? That’s not what Mahadeva is talking about. He has given you entire Town planning, Vastu Sastra. How should the roads be constructed, which way the wind, where should which Varnas should be residing, which areas which pat of the town. How the houses should be constructed, how many stories, what materials should go into foundation. How to prepare the bricks and lay them, that science is also there. He doesn’t just tell you do Pooja, Arti. No. He tells you how to perform it, the whole science of how your life you should be living in order to get enlightened. So he tells you which Mantras you should be chanting when laying bricks. To that extent he gives you the details. How the houses, animal shelters are built. He has given units of measurement, length and breadth. He hasn’t given standardized measurements. But the units are based on human being ‘s capacity. So in those days, time was not measured in minutes and seconds but according to how many breaths are one unit etcetera. Lot of it is lost in translation, there are several dimensions to it. He gives details of how to construct temples. Details of how to construct – from pillar to podium to garbhagriha, to the gopurams. There are separate chapters on it. 78 chapters in Purva-paada and 45 chapters in Uthara-paada of Kamika agama. Installation of deities and characteristics of deities is also given.

Now we come to the fundamentals. What is a Mantra? Now, aspects of Hinduism as we understand it today versus what is mentioned in our agamas, what Mahadeva has to say. How far we are from the originally revealed to where we are today. Now according to Mahadeva, not a single activity is performed without a mantra. This not what I’m saying- this is what he says. ‘Mantra vina kriya naasti’. So, he has given mantra for every action.

So, Manana or contemplation if roughly translated, is the ability to know everything and Tranaa is the liberation from everything, all the ills, bondages of samsara. Since mantra gives you both, ability to know everything and capacity to get liberated from, everything is the mantra. This is the meaning of mantra. Mantra consists of two parts- Vaachya and Vaachaka. So, what form or words you actually pronounce is vaachya and what forms the deeper meaning, what you are experiencing when chanting that mantra is called vaachya. So, any Mantra has always both these parts. It’s not just chanting literally but also the deeper meaning you are experiencing while chanting that mantra.

Now I will come to fundamentals of Pooja. Recently there was a big controversy, big discussion among the intellectuals, about how do we know that Pooja is part of Hinduism? Where does it say that Pooja is a part of Hinduism? So, all those should go and read Kamika Agama. Not even all the agamas, but just Kamika. Mahadeva gives a beautiful description of Pooja. What is the purpose of Pooja and what are the types of Pooja? It is of two types- Aatmartha Pooja and Paraartha Pooja. So whatever is your personal deity- shivaling, you keep or any other deity to which you worship, pray to every day – that is the atmarth Pooja. Paraartha Pooja is which you offer for public, in a temple. So, the process is different, and the same people cannot do both.

In a sense that in a temple you need to have certain knowledge and the initiation to perform Pooja. Without that you cannot do. This is what Mahadeva is saying, whether we are following it now or not, is another matter. This is what Mahadeva wanted – for society to prosper. Atmaarth Pooja is the one which gives benefit to the person who is doing it, it’s clearly said that it is done for fulfilment of your desires, for what you want. So, he is telling you to do Pooja, not to make him feel great, but for your fulfilment. So, ‘swaarth’ – it doesn’t mean selfishness – you can’t translate Sanskrit words in English in black and white- Swartha means Swa plus artha- for your own purpose. Whatever you want to be manifested in your life, for that you do Atmaarth Pooja.

Now we come to Naivedyam. Mahadeva has given explicit instructions on how to prepare Naivedya. Before going into that, what has he said? The devotion and love with which you prepare Naivedya is of utmost importance. He has said, use resources available to you – any food or flowers which are for your consumption and offer it – it used to be a very common practice, just a generation ago. We used to offer whatever was made in the house to Bhagwan first, to the deities and then we used to eat and share Prasad. Right? Now, of course, those traditions are dying out. We did not know theme of it and its relevance got lost. Few generations ago people did not have these questions of, why we should offer everything to deity first, right? That is what we did… we offered what was the best to Bhagwan because he was the most important part of our life, right?

Now Mahadeva has said whatever you offer will multiply in life. This is what he has said. For both the affluent or the poor, fruit is the same whether small or greatness of the offering. So, whatever you offer to Mahadeva in life will multiply and what you don’t offer will not multiply. Very simple reasoning. Mahadev is the ultimate, so whatever you offer to him is going to grow, multiply. For prosperity of whole country, the whole society. Imagine how much good it will be if everyone starts offering to the god and then consume it. Is he hungry, is that why he wants you to offer him? No. Mahadeva is a completion itself, he is the whole cosmos. It’s for you, for your own growth. If he is hungry, he will manifest it himself, he wants you to offer so as to give it back to you as blessings. So, there is certain importance to these rituals. It is for your own growth, for developing closeness to your deity. That’s the idea. You cannot say that devotion is there or not there. You can apply same to education. The more you learn economics the more you will become as an economist. Time you spend, the energy – on something, it will grow, so same aspect about this. More time you spend in rituals, to be closer to Bhagwan, that part of you will grow. THAT is the science behind a Pooja.

Now we come to very important part of Shaivite. It is Bhasma. We know that bhasma is a very important part of Shaivite traditions, bhasma is sacred to shaivites, loved by shaivites, but what we don’t know is that, Mahadeva has said that bhasma has importance in relieving you of physical diseases ad relieving you of many mental problems. So bhasma snaana is prescribed. Bhasma is prepared from – Can you guess? It’s prepared from cowdung! There are processes given. 4-5 types of Bhasma are described. Most important among them is sacred Kalpa bhasma. Many descriptions are given in agamas, what I’m giving is just a quick summary. By no means exhaustive, just a reference.

So Mahadeva has given these descriptions and also in the order of their importance. Kalpa bhasma is most important sacred bhasma and he has asked you to smear it on all your body, in the morning, in the Brahma muhurta. So it is called Bhasma snaan, it has given all the benefits, it can literally liberate you of all the ills in life, it is the process to literally break your Karma. It can lead you to achieving the ultimate. He has said every day you should do bhasma snaana. It’s explained that it is a purifier (if you want the slide, I will make it available). So this is the significance of Bhasma.

So, next time somebody says yeh toh bewaoof hai, chehre pe kuch bhi pochke ghumta hai – how stupid. So, it’s not like that. We are no stupid. So, your lack of knowledge cannot be translated to stupidity, right? So, if you don’t know what is the significance of Bhasma, it doesn’t mean it’s stupid. I have seen this – this kind of comments, not just from anti- Hindus but from Hindus. There are many Hindus who don’t know the science of this, significance of this. Maybe if they take Bhasma snaana they will understand the importance of it, they might even get rid of these kind of thought trends! So why I’m telling this in details is to make you understand, to what depths Mahadeva has given you solutions to all your problems. He has given solutions for stupidity also. He is not the kind of guru who will leave anyone out of his ambit.

Now we come to a very controversial part of Hinduism, that is Panchagavvya. This is made from 5 substances from cow. Even if you say cow, nowadays there are people who are ready to shake you from top to bottom…. I don’t know if you have heard this story. I think 3 years ago -Of this guy who had cancer… doctors gave him few months to live at best. He had no hope to live, and then he went to some Ayurvedic place and they gave him Panchgavya. He has described that he didn’t even have a sense of taste – that is the extent of his cancer – he says that he just kept on having it, because he had no option. Then he says he got healed… he has written a book on how a cow saved my life. You can see it on amazon – a NGO as healindvaid. org or something like that. If you search, you will get it.

So what is panchagavvya? It is not just mixing of 5 substances. First of all, what goes into it? It is milk, curd, ghee, cow urine and cowdung. Now Mahadeva has given you all the process. What mantras you have to chant and how many times you have to chant them. You have to keep them in 5 different vessels, what kind of vessels. And eventually render it to nectarine nature and declare your oneness to Mahadeva. So you are supposed to declare your oneness with Mahadeva before you use Panchagavya. Now it is mentioned in agmas many many times. It’s been explained how it is a purifier. For purification of space to install your deity, for your house, or using it for Pooja, for some anushthaan. And some places the constitution of panchagavya is little different, he has mentioned that too. Little variation is given. So, this is the significance of panchagavya.

Now we come to an important part, that is Praana-pratishta of deities. This many people talk about but not very commonly understood. This is very important. It’s not just science of putting, picking up and placing the deity there… that is not how installation of deity is done in our temples. Entire process of prana-pratishta is given in the whole of uttarpaada of Kamika. In Purva-paada also there are chapters which give this process of Prana-pratishta to every deity. There are 22 steps given in the process.

It is that process of making that deity living and breathing. It is not just stone or wood – if you are using wood or metal. He does mention metal too. So, once you do prana-pratishtha the deity cannot be moved. It is that deity ‘s home now, it’s not your home. It is a space where it lives, and the space in which that deity lives is a temple, which is why- if you destroy that deity, you cannot do worship there again. Some of you must have read about how invaders used to destroy some of our deities, so that you cannot worship there. Unless you again do some spiritual practices – which they won’t allow you to do. So it has now it has become its own independent intelligence. It’s literally Bhagwan made available to you, to which you can relate. That is why the temple culture was so important. Because if it was not so, why would you go to a temple? It’s not just a stone there. after all stone is there everywhere..temple has its place. Lot of people’s logic is -god is everywhere, so why should you go to a temple..so, can you feel it everywhere? Can you relate to him on personal basis everywhere?

First of all God is not the word we use in Hinduism, it’s not the correct word but since it is popularly used I’m using it. So it is your Bhagwan, now you can’t just throw anything at your deity – especially you see in South Indian temples, when you dress your deity or put a mala or bangles, the priest acharya there will do it as if it’s a living person.Many people have had profound spiritual experiences in temples – it’s because the deity is a living breathing there. People just bypass the significance of praanapratishthaa.

Now this is for your knowledge – which are all the forms of deities- Vighnesha, Mahadeva, Shakti  all these Prana-pratishta are described in agamas .

Now, the Mudras. These are very important parts of our daily rituals – which have been lost, almost entirely. nbMahadeva has given certain mudras and where they should be used. In raurav agam. Only mudra we use still is a namaskar mudra, all others are lost. Linga mudra is described which is a total identifying with shiva as a saadhaka. Many other mudras are given which should be used when doing Pooja or chanting mantras.

Now I want to talk about yoga. Most people think that it was Patanjali who first spoke of Yogas. Of course, Patanjali ‘s yogasutras are a treatise and they share a lot of knowledge but that was not the first time yoga was revealed. The science of Yoga was revealed many many thousands of years ago – by Mahadeva himself who is the Aadiyogi. The first yogi.

Now I will explain many things about yoga which are commonly misunderstood. As per Mahadeva it is a science to realize yourself as a Mahadeva. It is not the science to feel healthy or a replacement for your gym or a morning walk. Purpose of yoga was to live, breath and exist as Mahadeva. Now he has given 6 steps – we normally use Ashtaanga, but Mahadeva has given shashtaanga. Pratyahar, dhyana, pranayama, dharana, tark and samadhi. Yoga is described in many Agamas, but He has specifically described this in Raurav Agama and concentrated on dharana. He has explained so many units of Dhyana become pranayama, so many units of pranayama become dharana and so many units of dharanas become samadhi. He has explained unit as a capacity to hold that space.

Now we come to sarvagyaanuttar agama. Where he has explained how you should be practicing yoga. He says even before you practice yoga, you first become established in Dhyan. Mediation, first of all meditation is a latter coinage. This word is not used in Hinduism, word used is dhyan. Dyan was bringing your awareness on Mahadeva & realizing him in your consciousness. Contemplation again is a word but it’s a weak word, doesn’t quite explain… closest you come to is the awareness. So even before you think of practicing yoga, you should be established in Dhyan. Awareness on Mahadeva as Mahadeva.

So he says how you should practice yoga.   मानमानौ समेकृत्वा सुखदु:खेसमेकृता

Whether you are abused or honored, whether you are happy or unhappy in any condition, you should do yoga. Harsham bhayam vishaadam cha satyam jay yogam abhyaaset. True seeker always keeps up his practice of continuing Yoga. This is the context of yoga. Modern days’ Yoga studios will not tell you this – some may of course – but that is where dilution and pollution of yoga starts.

He has explained when you should do yoga, where, what place you should do yoga. In a secluded place – in a forest, in a cave, in a temple, in an ashram. How you should be sitting, what kind of surface it should be. In which aasan you should be sitting in. Mentioned some popular asanas. He has mentioned padmak, Swastik, ardhapeeth, ardhachandra… sit in a posture agreeable to you, keeping his body upright.

Sadhak should abandon all attachments. Attachment also not really a correct word. He has mentioned – Sarvasangaan partyajjya – all that you think is yours, everything you feel is you own, or you belong to-you must drop all that. Purpose was not fitness, purpose of yoga was to be Mahadeva. How can you become Mahadeva if you feel this is mine, and I’m jealous of this person and so on. So, you need to drop all that and withdraw into your own self. Don’t compare with what others are doing. half the time people are concerned with what others are doing . Of course, the aim is to achieve that perfection but you can’t achieve if your mind is all over the place. Be focused on your mind, don’t bother about others.

Then he has given a mulamantra which Saadhak has to chant in a perfect way given by your guru. Mantras are to be chanted while doing yoga. Yoga is not a spiritual process. It is very much part of Hinduism & as I explained nothing is to be done without mantra. Guru is supposed to instruct you which mantra you should chant while doing yoga. Guru is an enlightened being. By the way acharya is different from guru. Acharya is someone who has end to end knowledge of something. But Guru is supposed to initiate you.

Now I will highlight some keywords which are commonly misunderstood.

Having equalised praana, aapna, having enabled the breath to flow through central sushumna, having arrested the inbreath and outbreath, saadhak must deeply meditate on Mahadeva, on the form of Mahadeva. It is not meant to be for gods of other religions… If specific instructions are given in any other literature, there is Hathayoga Pradipika, there is Gheranda Samhita. They happen to be from shared sampradaya – if it’s given in that, then you can meditate on your aaraadhya, I’m not vetoing that – So you have to meditate on the form of Mahadeva, you have to remember the deity. You cannot meditate on any other forms you feel like. No. So, through the continued practice of yoga the saadhaka experiences the inseparable union with luminous form. So that is what happens when you meditate on Lord Shiva. The reason I’m harping on that – is because all this is torn out of, literally divorced from current practice of Yoga. What we know of yoga today is literally one tenth of Yoga that was instructed by Aadiyogi.

Now coming to the concluding part – emphasising the role of third eye in this entire science. It is given in agamas clearly mentioning that a guru whose third eye is awakened and who has already become one with the supreme, can initiate you in awakening the third eye. Third eye wakening is a gateway to the higher power.

In Vigyaan-bhairava-tantra, a specific mantra is given, or described where you will feel a fire or light through the region of your third eye, Agnichakra and that is called an Sgnitilaka – which I am wearing.

So this is also an authentic science, many people question it – whether third eye is a fiction, some hocus pocus… it is not. It is very much a science, it is available on initiation. Of course, if you work on your third eye, your awareness, higher plane of consciousness is increased. But to manifest the true powers of third eye, you need to be initiated.

So this is a brief summary, an introduction to the, introduction of Shivagamas. A quick overview of Shivagamas. What is contained in it, what you can learn from them – what is its relevance, what is the purpose of Shivagamas. Now giving you references, some of the sources, scriptures. All are available to you to download, access from srijan.hinduism.news

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