A research of Shiva: The Enigma

Based on the various translations I have done of the sthotrams, mantras, Tantras, Upanishads etc., I find our understanding of Shiva is quite different from what is described in these literatures. The notion of Shiva as a God, its religious association with divinity, as a belief or any emotions associated with it seems alien when these texts are translated and read. I find by associating emotions, judgement and conclusions based on judgement to the concept of Shiva, we have lost the knowledge of Shiva and romanticised it according to our needs.

I have consciously tried to keep away from putting down my conclusions in the translations, to allow the reader to make their own ideas about it. Yet, I find all these various texts can be tied together to form a very good thread of reasoning showing the way towards what possibly Shiva could have meant. I also find that the meaning is very unique and tightly tied into the basics of maybe even our existence.

I am writing a book on my research based on these literatures, the conclusions that I have drawn based on my translations, as to what Shiva possibly could have meant. You can read the translations at the home page.

A excerpt from the book is as below:

Setting the context

The meaning of science according to google is “the intellectual and practical activity encompassing the systematic study of the structure and behaviour of the physical and natural world through observation and experiment.” The other definitions include “a systematically organized body of knowledge on a particular subject.” It is to be noted that the subjects we want to study or gather knowledge on, is also defined by the same intellect! I am reminded of a situation where my boss said “Please raise your hand if you have forgotten to fix a bug!” If I have forgotten, I have forgotten. How can I remember that “I have forgotten” until something external triggers the memory of the bug? Similarly, the intellect can only study that which it knows about! This, very subtly, tells us that inherently we need to have a “thought about something” and science is just a means of proving or disproving that thought, using intellect and understanding of the resources available. The intellect by itself is not responsible for the knowledge. Such a knowledge is highly error prone and directly leads us to the “problem of the observer”.

The problem of the observer

According to Wikipedia “The observer effect is the theory that simply observing a situation or phenomenon necessarily changes that phenomenon.” I think we need to examine this statement very carefully. If we do, we will find that we have to reverse the importance given to the object and subject and state this a little differently. The “observer effect” is where the “observer” is given more importance than “that which is being observed”. The fact remains that “what is being observed has always been and will always be what it is or was”, it is the observer that is limiting. The observer is limited by what properties it can or cannot observe. Hence all that adding an observer does is, focus our intellect on those properties which can be observed. This effect is similar to an optical illusion. Depending on the perspective of observation different views are perceived by the brain of the same drawing. It should be noted that the drawing has not changed in any manner. This is the same concept that is propounded in the “Advaita Philosophy”. Neither does the immortal change to the mortal or the mortal change into the immortal. It is just the perception of same immortal that is changing. The immortal has and will always be what it is.

In the modern world we study physics, quantum physics, particle physics, inorganic chemistry, organic chemistry, various forms of mathematics and so on, a large number of scientific topics. Yet, all of these studies only relate to “sense-able reality” around us. Understandably so, because our intellect knows and is interested only by this known reality. It is via this same intellect that we extend our imaginations to build more and more, classifying this known reality, infinitely further away from the source.

This reminds me of this: If, I am playing a virtual reality game and I feel hungry, can I conjure up a burger within the virtual reality game and eat it? Will my hunger be satisfied? Just so, I can read and solve a lot of problems, read and improve my intellect and prove a lot of science inside this “reality” around me, but that which causes this reality has not changed! It has stayed always the same, external to this reality around me.

What is that “which causes this reality” around us? While it can be argued that “quantum physics” is attempting to do just this, we need to ask ourselves the question, “why will quantum physics not lead us into one or other of the infinite threads that have been spawned from studying many other physical concepts?” I think, what we need to understand is that even with study of quantum physics, we have not moved away from the underlying concept: “I am the observer” and the “quantum particles are the observed”. This means “I am still limited by my observing capabilities which are: my senses, my judgement, my expectations and my brain or in other words the manas”! I label such a study as “study with the manas”. It may be asked, “what is wrong with study with the manas?” The problem is simple and straight-forward. Study with the manas involves the study of “what was” as opposed to “what is”. Let me elaborate.

What do we perceive? That which the sense organs can sense. What can a sense organ sense? That which has already happened in this environment (how-ever we define the environment) around us. It is similar to the IoT sensors that are installed in the various applications. They can sense what the “temperature is – an event that has already happened” or what the “pressure is – an event that has already happened”. Similarly, we can hear what someone has said, or we see the leaf that has already sprouted or feel the touch when something has already touched us, or feel the pain when already the skin was cut and so on. Hence, “Study with the manas” will always be study of only one thread that has already occurred. There is a very good Sanskrit saying “yad bhavam, tad bhavati” which translates to “What has started happening will happen”. Since, we only know when something “has already started happening”, that which we sense will follow its full path and finish happening and we can do nothing about it.

Similarly, in “quantum physics”, the modern world is only studying “what already is or was”. This is in direct conflict with what “quantum physics” is supposed to be, namely “all possibilities exist until an observer is present”. We need to study the “state where all possibilities exist” to know more, not when “already one of the infinite possibilities is already chosen by an observer”. Hence, the study of quantum physics has to be without an observer that is without “I”! The major problem is we cannot sense possibilities. We can only imagine possibilities which does not augur well with science. So, the question becomes how do we study that “which is” before the observer comes into effect?

I believe, this environment, “the one that is before the observer comes into effect” is called the “unmanifested” or the “Bhairava”. We can call it what we want, but the question still remains, how do we study this environment?

Sample Table of Contents from the book:

Table of Contents
 The science of truth
     Difference in understanding of “God”
     Why Shiva?
     Why Sthotrams, Mantras, Upanishads?
 Setting the context
     The problem of the observer
     Limitations of study with the manas
     Para Brahma Tattva
 Deciphering the environment
     Awareness of the environment
     Learning from the Bhagavad Gita: The environment and the knower of the environment
     Summary of what we have learnt from this section of Bhagavad Gita
     Limiting awareness of the environment
     Learning from the Shiva sutras
     Summary of what we have learnt from the Siva Sutras
     Timeless environment
     Learning from the Bhagavad Gita: The become and the becoming
 Peeling the layers of the knowledge of this environment
     Learning from the Kalabhairava Ashtakam
     Learning from the Maha Kalabhairava sthotram
 Formation of the environment
     Learning from the Shiva Tandava Sthotram
     Learning from the Vijnana Bhairava Tantra
     Decoding the name to understand Bhairava
     Learning from the specific answers
     From the unmanifested to the manifested
 Glimpse beyond this environment
     Connecting the unmanifested to the environment
     Learning from Lingastakam
     Learning from Shiva Tandava sthotram
     Learning from Sri Rudram
 Explaining the void
     A glimpse of Shiva
     Explaining Nandi
     Explaining Linga
     Distinguishing between isha, Rudra and Shiva
 Unravelling the traces from the past
     Explaining the Forms of Shiva
         Meditative-Human-Shiva form
         Lingam Form
         Nataraja Form
         Ardha Narishwara Form
     Explaining the names attributed to Shiva
     Explaining the Sthotrams, Mantras associated with Shiva

If what you have read interests you, you can pre-order this book in Amazon here. The final version will be released by June 8th 2019.