Adishankaracharya and Shivah

Adishankaracharya, when he wrote Shivah शिवः in his compositions, he used this to mean the eternal auspicious non-dual Advaita. Eg In the Brahmajnyanavalimala he ends it with ‘Shivosmyaham’ शिवः अस्मि अहं. Or in the Nirvan shatak he ends every verse with ‘Shivoham shivoham’ ‘शिवः अहं शिवः अहं’.

Today is Vaishakh Shukla Panchami, we celebrate Adi Shankarcharya’s birth anniversary today.

Also someone commented that Adishankaracharya wrote on the Advaita yet worshipped the deities by composing beautiful stotras in their honour. Apparently someone thought that the ‘Shiv’ he writes about is the deity Shankar, the embodiment of Tamo-gun (post here).

Adishankarcharya was a Sat-guru. In brief his life story is this. He took Sanyas at the age of 8yrs, then studied under his Sat-Guru at the banks of the Narmada till the age of 12yrs where his Guru said that he was ready, ie Jivan-mukt, the Advaita. He wrote his brilliant compositions, his Bhashya-s, his books on the Advaita, everything on the pure Jnyan till the age of 16yrs, all this in just 4yrs. He wrote about Himself as he was a realised Seer, a Sat-Guru. Then he toured Bharat giving discourses on the Ved (4 Ved-s, Vedanta, Brahmana, Aranyak) set up the 4 Maths in the 4 corners of Bharat, each one dedicated to one of the 4 Ved-s. Not deities, but to the Ved-s. The Ved-s are ‘worshipped’, read, taught and learnt even now in these Maths. He was/ is the highest Parmeshwar himself.

His work is not fully comprehensible to aspirants who are still on the path. Do not assume that he worshipped Shankar or any of the other deities of the Vedic/ Pauranic pantheon. These deities are a part of the manifested creation, ie in the domain of Mahamaya. He was/ is the Advaita, beyond the reach of Mahamaya. Also he wrote in the Devbhasha Samskrutam. So what he wrote and what you understand will be different. He, an Atmajnyani Mahapurush, ie the Advaita itself, and you, a sadhak, an aspirant. When you really understand what he has written, you will also become the Advaita. 

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Shivah शिवः has the following meanings in the Devbhasha Samskrutam, auspicious, bliss, benign, friend, kind, gracious, favourable, etc. And if you had to break down शिवः to get at its root energy it is something like this.

  • The true and pure emotion that you feel for your inner self, when you recognise yourself to be this highest state of consciousness. This constant state of this purity. The transcendence achieved after apparent duality is resolved to be a superficial illusion. The discarding of the illusion of duality so that you dwell in the eternal constant, unchanging, non-dual, unborn state that you really Are.

The Advaita is called ‘Shivah’, ie ‘the highest auspicious’. (In some parts of India, the personification of Tamo-gun is called Shiva which causes confusion. I am from Maharashtra, in Marathi language we refer to this deity generally as Shankar or Mahadev not ‘Shiva’.)

In this context, all of us at our core are Shivah. But we want to play the Game of Creation so we have no awareness of this fact. We have purposely put filters over our perception which do not let us recognise our essential eternal auspiciousness. We conceal our Shivah nature. The energy which animates us all is the same energy which animates the Tri-dev, Brahma-dev/Sarasvati, Vishnu/Laxmi, Shankar/Parvati, Indra, Agni and the other deities of the pantheon, every one of the 33 Koti devata, the Rudra, the Aditya, the Devi Lalita Tripursundari, Mahamaya herself. They too are all Shivah. Everything is Shivah. This essential auspiciousness शिवः is the only thing which really exists, the concepts of you, me, deities, Mahamaya are hollow, superficial, illusory. 

This is the Nirvan Shatak. I will expand the meaning of just the last shlok. 

अहं निर्विकल्पो निराकाररूपो | विभुत्वाच्च सर्वत्र सर्वेन्द्रियाणाम् | न चासङ्गतं नैव मुक्तिर्न मेयः | चिदानन्दरूपः शिवोऽहम् शिवोऽहम् |

All alternatives, all variations, all options have gone away from my nature. All forms have dropped away, dissolved, vanished into nothingness like mirages dissolve. I exist as the basis of everything. I am the potential of existence. I exist as the covering of everything. I pervade all the organs of action and sense, ie I pervade the tattva-s of creation. I am all that Is. I do not have anything attached to me, nor do I cling to anyone. I am not the concepts of liberation or realisation or enlightenment. I cannot be measured in anyway whatsoever. I am the nature of the blissful intelligence. I am the eternal consciousness. I am the auspicious Advaita. The highest auspicious Advaita Am I.

 

This is the Brahmajnyanavalimala which I have referred to several times. I will expand the meaning of just the last shlok. 

अन्तर्ज्योतिर्बहिर्ज्योतिः प्रत्यग्ज्योतिः परात्परः | ज्योतिर्ज्योतिः स्वयंज्योतिरात्मज्योतिः शिवोऽस्म्यहम्‌ 

I am the light amidst. I shine within. I am the illumination seen in the inner eye. I am the Eye and I am the Light. I am the brightness which shines forth. I am the divinity which is always apart. I am the light of the eternal which illuminates the eternal. I am away from the transient. I am the eternal flash of lighting. I visibly shine with all power. I am the self-evident fire. I am the blazing flame, superior to the best. I am higher than the highest illumination. I am the radiance which gives power to fire. I myself am the celestial brilliance of the self. I am the eternal blazing flame of consciousness. I am the spontaneous light. I am the self-illuminated light. My nature is light. The highest auspicious Am I.

When you recite either of these compositions you are clearly invoking the pure Advaita within. 

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Now a bit on the word ‘Aham’. In grammar, it is the first person singular of ‘asmad’, ‘I’. In Sanskrit it means something like – I, self-radiance, indeed, verily, I grant, it is true, surely, certainly.

‘Aham’ broadly means the sense of the self. What you exactly understand your ‘self’ to mean. Your comprehension of what you are. What you experience your self to be? This is ‘Aham’.

Now at the lower levels of consciousness you understand yourself to be Rajiv, Anita, a boy, a woman, a professional, a home maker, a father, a grandmother, a human, confined in a body, having 5 senses, awake, going to work, sitting down to dinner, being born or dying etc. If you think of yourself as something like this, it is a very very limited sense of self. You are experiencing a very limited fraction of your immense Self. This is the ‘aham’ which represents the root cause of ignorance, the ‘ahamkaar’ which is the root cause of existential sorrow. When you put your ‘aham’ in words like this you are still playing the Game, your personal Lila. 

But in your spiritual path there will come a time when you will think and experience yourself as the geometry represented by the Shri Yantra. You will experience your consciousness as the multidimensional Shri Chakra. You will see yourself at the central Bindu of this geometry. This is the first tangible step where you will know that the ‘aham’ is much much more than these simple words can define. You will now move towards experiences which cannot be described in words. And at one point you will transcend all these experiences too. This is the state where when you say that ‘Chidanandah roopah Shivah Aham’ or ’Shivah Aham asmi’ you will mean it completely. 

“Most assuredly, verily, certainly, truly, radiantly, eternally, blissfully, auspiciously Am I.”

“Unchanging, non-dual, auspiciousness Am I.”

If any of my readers feel this post resonating in your hearts, you are on a very high level of understanding, continue on your path. And even if not, its ok to continue thinking of ‘Shivah’ as Shankar or Vishnu or Brahmadev or your source of faith or whatever generates positive energy in you. Everyone should freely worship the energy they are drawn to. No one can judge you but yourself. You choose for yourself. No one can force you. Only you are aware of what you experience.

But this is not what Adishankaracharya intended when he wrote these lines. When he talks about Shivah शिवः he talks about the Advaita. Listen to his these compositions and with the Light of the Advaita, when the time comes, you too will experience what शिवः indicates towards.

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Shivosmyaham

Learn Devbhasha Samskrutam aka Sanskrit

Devbhasha Samskrutam is the perfectly arranged language of Divine Light. (Do read my post on Beej mantra for more details.) I am writing this post as there was a question on how to learn Sanskrit. Devbhasha Samskrutam is called ‘Sanskrit’ in these modern times. It is the mother tongue of every conscious living being in this Universe. ’Conscious being’, is one who can see itself in a mirror and recognise itself. If you are aware of yourself as an individual person, you are ‘conscious’ of yourself. Eg a cat does not recognise itself as an individual, hence tries to attack its image in the mirror. But elephants, dolphins and humans are aware of their individuality and are conscious. It is a moral wrong, to hurt or murder a conscious animal.

  • Dev is divine, light, intelligence, consciousness, God, excellent, royal, play, etc.
  • Bhasha means definitions, speech, species, language, description, etc.
  • Samskrutam means ornamented, completed, blessed, pure, formed, initiated, refined, constructed, elaborated, made ready, finished, polished, sophisticated, perfected, as per the rules, prepared, sacred, etc.

It is the right of every human to learn Sanskrit. It is your and my heritage, the language that is intertwined with our DNA. Sanskrit perfectly describes every possible thing in this universe. If I wish to create something or manifest something with my intention, I need to know its real name, its perfect name, the name that describes it most perfectly. If I know this name, I can then use my intention etc to manifest it to create it. Sanskrit gives this perfect description of everything. Eg I want to experience “Moksh”. This Sanskrit word ‘Moksh’ describes every aspect of this experience. The English words like, realization, enlightenment, salvation etc do not even describe 1% of the Moksh experience. If I want ‘Yash’, then I can use mantras to create Yash in my life, Yash means much more than just – successes worth, pleasures, excellence, honor, respect, esteem, fame, favour, glory etc. Sanskrit words cannot be translated because there is nothing you can translate them into! You have to experience Sanskrit, the Devbhasha Samskrutam, as it touches your conscious as well as your sub-conscious etc selves.

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So to address the question. ‘How to learn Sanskrit?’

There may be institutes or universities near you which offer courses in Sanskrit either in distance education or in the classroom format do check them out.

And if you know any Indian language or English and can read/write in the Devnagri script then the best option is this. Distance learning from the Central Sanskrit University, formerly the Rashtriya Sanskrit Sansthan. This Institution is under the HRD Ministry, Government of India. This is the link to its home page.

http://www.sanskrit.nic.in/index.php

I would strongly recommend everyone to opt for the 2 year distance learning course and sincerely study. Both Indian and Non-Indian people can register and learn. Do try to learn Sanskrit, your real mother tongue. There are other resources on this site which you can use to improve your knowledge of Sanskrit.

There are several videos on youtube where you can hear and see small stories in Sanskrit. This will help you get your pronunciation correct and understand the flow of the sentences. An example link

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TAEWFbi0H84k

Then you must get in the habit of reading something in Sanskrit everyday. The best option is Sanskrit Chandamama comics for children. This is the link to download them.

https://chandamama.in/sanskrit/

And this is a link to the only daily newspaper in Sanskrit. You can subscribe to it.

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If you and your friends/family are interested then learn it together. Also try to talk in Sanskrit. Start by adding small Sanskrit sentences in your daily conversations.

If you do this much you will be easily able to converse, read and write Sanskrit within a few months. It is your basic language, it is actually very easy to learn.

Later you might want to read the philosophical books of Sanatan Dharma/ Hinduism in Sanskrit. I would suggest you start with reading the Mahabharat or the Ramayan, Ithihas, in Sanskrit. Gita Press publishes both these in Sanskrit with a helpful word-word translation so it will be easier to understand. (I have all these books in my home, my Dad loves books and I too.) You already know these histories, so it will feel a bit easy on the mind and the philosophical stuff which comes in it also may be easier to comprehend.

Learn Devbhasha Samskrutam aka Sanskrit

The origin of Sanskrit is linked with the origin of this universe and naturally connected to OM. It is the source language, all the languages in this world have Sanskrit words in them. Every continent has spoken Sanskrit. All cultures have  a Devbhasha connect, some in the near past and some in the very ancient past. In India, Sanskrit is still spoken despite every attempt of the British to stamp it out.

Here are some examples from the modern and ancient world to pique your interest Names of rivers and places retain their actual origin better. Words in use in the spoken language tend to mutate faster. So,

  • Kings of the Mittani empire in ancient Mesopotamia had names like ‘Wassukkani’, which is simply वसु खानि meaning ‘a mine of wealth’ in Sanskrit. Another king was ‘Tvshratha’ which is the Sanskrit Tvashstra, ‘divine architect’ or Tvashrahta itself means ‘owning divine chariots’ in Sanskrit.
  • Kuru, Puru, Yadav, Sudav are clan names in Lithuania! These are pure Sanskrit words. The Kuru are the main clan on which the entire Mahabharat is written, Yadav, Sudav are also clans in the Mahabharat. Puru was a King in ancient Bharat/ India.
  • The Egyptian Pharaohs are connected to Sanskrit. eg Akhe-naten, is similar to Sanskrit Ek-nathan, it means ‘one-divine father’. Pharaoh Akhe-naten brought the concept of one-god in Egypt.
  • Karnak in Egypt is clearly a derivation of Konark  कोणअर्क meaning a ‘angle from the Sun’. There is a temple of the Sun in Konark, Odisha.
  • The river Niger starts at a place called ‘Sankari’, a pure Sanskrit word.
  • In America, the Guaalaga river in Andes is again pure Sanskrit ‘water going’.
  • I came across an interesting information on the name ‘America’. The Amer-Indians called it ‘Amerrique’. (‘The naming of America’ Jonathan Cohen, ‘The Caribbean writer and exile’ by Jan Carew). Vespucci’s name was Alberico and not Americo. He changed his name in a deliberate (and I would say, a criminal) act to steal the local native Americans of their identity. The Sanskrit link here is Amerrique is derived from ‘Marut’ which means the ‘land of gold’, which it was! Or the ‘land of strong winds’ which also fits it well. Or from ‘Meru’ which also means the ‘mountain of gold’.
  • The great river Volga. Volga is derived from Sanskrit Vigala, which means to melt and flow. Volga was known as Julaga earlier. This also is a Sanskrit word meaning ‘flowing water’.
  • ‘Gaia’ is said to be a Greek word for Earth,  but the word ‘Gaia’ has no etymological origin in that language. But ‘Gaya’ is a pure Sanskrit word, is a very important ancient/modern town in India where people go to perform final funeral rites of their departed ones. Gaya town has awesome energy, do visit it if you can.

There are so very many examples where words from Devbhasha Samskrutam can be traced in today’s languages. If you are interested, then do research for yourself, it is very rewarding intellectual exercise.

Devbhasha Samskrutam or Sanskrit is the mother language. I was taught it as a child and I continue to use it in my life. If I get time in this life, I really wish to work for another Ph.D in Sanskrit (I already hold one Ph.D in Zoology.) Knowing this one Mother Language, I can speak several Indian languages and understand even more. Hindi, Marathi, Gujarathi, Konkani, Bengali, Odiya, Telegu, Punjabi, Gadhwali, Kumaoni, even Kannada, Malayalam, Tamil! All very clearly have Sanskrit as the foundation. The Indian language closest to Sanskrit is Marathi. I often see movies from these other languages, it opens up options! Once I had to go to St.Petersberg Russia for some work, and was amazed to hear spoken Russian words sound almost like pure Sanskrit!

Do try to learn Devbhasha Samskrutam again, it is a very satisfying and enriching experience.

Learn Devbhasha Samskrutam aka Sanskrit