Shiva Samhita is authoritative traditional text, fully dedicated to yogic practice and highly hallowed in tantric tradition, as direct revelation of Shiva, Supreme Teacher of Tantra and Yoga.
In this text person can find answers for many philosophic questions about human essence and sense of the life. Shiva Samhita has been written in simple and clear style, that is there is no sense for additional comments.
“The knowledge (jnana) alone is eternal; it is without beginning or end; there exists no other real substance.Diversities which we see in the world are results of sense-conditions; when the latter cease, then this knowledge (jnana) alone, and nothing else, remains.”
Review of following topics are presented in this text fragment: Unique existence, difference of opinion, yoga is unique true method.
Chapter 1. Unique existence.
Friends! We start series of lectures about ancient yogic text “Shiva samhita”
We will try to give comments for this ancient and authoritative text in stream of tradition of Anandasvami school. You understand, it is impossible to comment it. Also it is impossible to translate texts at all. It is possible to translate or comment from the position of this or that school of yoga. So-called conceptual keys of translation or sense which hide behind the text are necessary. Right translation is the key to the lock of right understand. Until you don’t have transfer, the majority of ancient concepts escape your consciousness, and you don’t understand sense or at worst fantasy.
Text “Shiva Samhita” is ancient text. Present time it is one of widely known texts. Only few texts like this are known by masses: “Shiva Samhita”, “Hatha Yoga Pradipika”, “Gherand Samhita” and some else texts of Gorakhnath school and others. Basicly these texts have something in common and describe the same things. Moreover they are common in style.
Shiva Samhita prehistory is following: As all true texts, it has appeared from nowhere. It was famous on the territory of present India, Pakistan, and Afganistan. As you see, territory boarders much more than present India, because India is just small piece of big cultural heritage, where these texts were kept. These texts were saved in raja’s libraries, ashrams and cloisters.
“Shiva Samhita” has appeared, as well as any other text, without the author. In medieval India it was considered not so decent to write something on its own behalf. Because, it was considered that the person just champion information from higher spheres, he has simply stated information with clear language for other people. And the source of this knowledge is, neither it is more, nor it is less – the Absolute.
The same story about the text «Shiva Samhita», where formally no author at all. For masses this text appeared in the nineteenth century when it has been translated from a Sanskrit. Even after that for some time this text remained insufficiently popular. In the Middle Ages this text was confidential enough. Then it has been translated and published, but for a long period weak interest to these subjects was observed. Further the yoga began to be spread on the West. It related to such names, as John Wudroff (Arthur Avalon) and other mystics, searchers who visited India. Certainly they faced these texts, but there was no wide popularization. Everything has changed, after popularization of yoga and spread of this system in the West.
Svami Vivekananda was one of the first person, who has given a serious push. Further interest has started to grow, and, as consequence, stimulated internal interest in the India, not only among initiated searchers, but in mass. As soon as this interest began to grow, Hindu teachers, referring to this text, have started to spread ideas, to write them in clear language. We see, that of knowledge have started to extend widely in 30-50’s of XXth century. Another push period was at the time of post-war, at the time of hippie, when a lot of different people has gone to holy places. Certainly, they searched not spirituality, but funny time spending. But anyway it has served its purpose.
Demand for ancient texts has started to increase among masses with yoga penetration. Everybody wanted to know primary sources of yoga. And consequently these texts began to be translated, be published. In USSR process run parallel. Actually it was illusion that there was nothing beyond “Iron Curtain». There was everything in USSR. It is clear that it wasn’t advertised, and caused interest only among the devoted public. Anyway, in USSR all texts that existed in the West and were concerned to translations of ancient texts were accessible. These texts were available in English in catalogs of any respected USSR library. These texts are in Russia for enough long period of time and were accessible to those who were interested in them.
Then the second coming of these texts (time of the period of disorder of the USSR) has begun. It was time of democracy, and a lot of literature has started to be published in Russian. That time masses have familiarized with ancient texts. But, unfortunately, crush of “Iron Curtain” has played bad service. A big quantity of unworthy texts has started to get in Russia. As the result it was misunderstanding and confusion in minds of people. Today, after twenty years it begin to go away. In reality, serious texts and treatises are still here.
As to translation of ancient texts, in most cases casual people have started to translate them. They translated a fiction, detectives, novels earlier, and then began to translate ancient texts of yoga. Unpleasant situation has appeared.
First, if to take the text «Shiva Samhita», it has been translated from a Sanskrit into English, then from English into Russian, it was double translation. Moreover, in earlier texts «Shiva Samhita» when it was translated from a Sanskrit into English, some points, concerning sexual practices have been left out. Despite boldness of the nineteenth century, followers haven’t ventured to translate some yoga exercises with use of sexual energy in the spiritual purposes. Then, this defect has been opened, and the text has been translated entirely again.
But in itself statement of a question guards a little. That if someone has decided to cut some parts of source text, in this case, some doubts appear, if some parts were translated incorrectly from Sanskrit into English.
As to translation from a Sanskrit into the English, much depends on competence of the translator. A large quantity of people perfectly knows a Sanskrit, but it doesn’t mean that they can translate the text of such character. So called «transfer keys» are necessary, and for this purpose it is necessary to be in this system and to practice. Anyhow, transfer from a Sanskrit into English has been made. Later, in XX century some more attempts for translation, also including missing practices, have been made. The second wave of distribution of ancient texts in Russia has begun. The situation with mistakes has repeated, English-Russian translation mistakes were added to Sanskrit-English translation mistakes. There is a large quantity of different variants of translation today. By the way, today widely spread cut variant of this ancient text, without some practices.
I did not analyze any translation points, I believe that someday people, who practice yoga and know Sanskrit will return to this text to make proper translation. I do not analyze, I just give comments to awake interest to this text, so said to make starting point for further work.
We are Western people, and this helps us to understand yoga better. It is myth, that yoga is available for understanding only for Eastern people. Person, who started to study yoga, must pass harsh training and examination, including intellectual, before he will get access to more spiritualized yoga sections. It can take years of someone life. In Western countries, people spend years of their lives to study, even if this knowledge is very far from yoga.
Western system of education is very good trainer for our intellectual facilities and lead us to the same level, that was demanded in Medieval India to understand ancient texts.
So mentally yoga is closer to Western people, than to Eastern ones. But for Eastern people yoga is a part of their lives; Law of Karma, Birth and Death. Common yoga environment forms there.
Many great Teachers said that East need not a philosophy, but technologies, education, medicine and everything, that is available in Western world. Philosophy does not work when you cannot use it because of life conditions. So there is an interchange between the East and the West. West get ancient knowledge from East. Even the most courageous philosophical breaks of the West are a children’s laughter in comparison with a heritage of the East which always was in these countries. At the same time, the East extremely needs a civilization in ours western understanding, that is in hygiene, formation, manufacture and so on. Strangely enough, very interesting situation turns out. Being stored in the east, knowledge gets on the West. Causing interest in the West, they also stimulate interest in the east. Therefore, a considerable quantity of texts and books on yoga became accessible to inhabitants of India thanks to translations into English – and it is paradox.
We do not know when and where these ancient were written. We don’t know background of yoga. There are philosophical schools where teachers passed on their experience and initiations to followers. But if you start to consider these schools in details, you will find out broken warp thread, which goes from nowhere. Once any teacher of any other teacher has suddenly appeared from jungles, passed on some knowledge and has left back to jungles. And nobody knows, whence has come, where has. Therefore, you should understand that the yoga is surrounded by the most powerful opaque area of privacy. But it is not because of paranoid privacy, and owing to a way of life of yoga practicing.
Firstly, because they did not focused one’s attention on the person; got some knowledge, pass on it. Secondly, teachers did not make any self-PR activity. In ancient time, followers searched for their teachers and came to him or her. That time it was justifiable behavior, but not in nowadays. We do not know prehistory of “Shiva Samhita”, where it came from. Sometimes different sects appear, which insist that this text is indigenously theirs, but usually such sects do not exist for a long time.
Teachers of mankind have presented this text to us and have incognito disappeared. But owing to the fact that we are western civilization, we can analyze this text on presence of stylistic turns, word combinations or mentions of different subjects. Also we can date indirectly. Already now it is visible that “Shiva Samhita» is the stylistically diverse text. As though, it has been collected from pieces of different texts. Therefore, many consider that «Shiva Samhita» is a composite text on practices and texts. Fortunately, for yoga followers it doesn’t play any role. This text refers to earlier text, and we have a thread to know, what is there under cover of yoga…
Chapter 1. Unique existance
1.1. “The knowledge (jnana) alone is eternal; it is without beginning or end; there exists no other real substance. Diversities which we see in the world are results of sense-conditions; when the latter cease, then this knowledge (jnana) alone, and nothing else, remains.”
1.2. I, Ishvara, the lover of my devotees, and Giver of spiritual emancipation to all creatures, thus declare the science of Yoga.
1.3. “Where all debaters’ doctrines, which lead to false knowledge, are rejected. It is for spiritual liberation of these, whose minds are undistracted and fully turned towards Me.
Here form the very beginning we see author autograph: the text is stated on behalf of Ishvara. In this case that means “the Absolute” in such personal appearance. Particularly, appears as Shiva. Shiva is one of the yoga keeper. The word “Ishvara” in rough translation means “managing director”. Once again, no narration which would be pertinent in the western tradition, for example: «Hello, I Vasily Pupkin, the adherent of secret sciences of the seventh beam, the eighth dedication. So and to be, I will reveal to you secret of yoga, study, admire and pray on me (as it often happens nowadays)». Nothing similar in the Indian tradition. Everything that is stated, has been heard and written down. Or it has been inspired by the higher spheres and published, no personality. It confuses, because you do not know: who has written, when has written.
The very first with what the text begins is a certain original cause of life: all has appeared from a uniform source, but then has passed a transformation stage. Here we can remember axiomatics of Anandasvami yoga tradition. Transformation stages have led to Maya occurrence, and the Maya has led to occurrence of illusion. So everything that we see around ourselves is the Absolute hidden by illusion. The fact that we see people, subjects and so on around us, but we do not see the Absolute (an original cause from which all Universe has been arisen) is a consequence of our ignorance which has been generated by illusion, and illusion is a side effect of Maya activity.
Text “Shiva Samhita” does not covers philosophical concepts in details, as philosophical schools, This text is for followers, to catch the impulse and to begin to understand yoga knowledge intuitively. There are no serious interpretations, at the same nothing is contrariwise axiomatics and high yoga knowledge.
Next statement is about yoga appearance and person who thought it up. According to tradition of yoga all knowledge has been presented to us by the higher spheres (Absolute). Nobody has thought up yoga. Sometimes misunderstanding appears that someone sat, thought-thought and has thought up yoga, as though the yoga is an author creation of imagination. The yoga doesn’t agree with it. All wise men who were related to yoga, never spoke, what exactly they have thought up yoga.
Western countries are pretty disciplined; another story is about Eastern countries. There are 2-3 main philosophical and religion streams on the West, and plurality on the East. In ancient times India was called “State of three million Gods”, and population was 3 million people. Today we can call India – “State of billion Gods”, as population of this country is over billion people.
There are lots of points of view and systems in India, so sometimes it is difficult to systemize it. Scientists were the first who faced with this problem, when they tried to systemize all philosophical and religious streams of India. They could not understand, if it is branch of one doctrine or diametrical opposite view. And in such conditions all these streams exit peacefully. On the west 2-3 religions exist in constant opposition. Crusades, jihad are simple examples of this. In India such situation appeared in medieval times, when powerful religions entered to this territory. But, generally, India is one of unique countries with philosophical and religious tolerance.
As result lots of people suppose that exactly their knowledge is truthful. Everyone creates his/her sect, stream, concept or doctrines. Even though philosophical disputes do not finish with holocaust of dissenters. Acid wits assert that in Ancient time’s people shed so much blood in Hindu interreligious and concepts war though generated immunity. Partly it is truth. That story can be paralleled with today story. India exports us lots of doctrines; some of them are called yoga. Indeed some of them are religion, some others sects, some others really serious, consecutive doctrines. But western person is blind in this question. For us Hindu means yogi. Yogi means ultimate authority truth, no matter how absurd and illogical this. AT the same time they (Hindu “yogi”) cannot decide who is right and who is wrong.
Text “Shiva Samhita” is given for searchers, who confused with Hindu plural rituals, traditions, God’s names, and etc. Even Hindu cannot understand their cultural knot, imagine what western person can understand. Yoga is over this knot. There are lots of religious streams and one’s can be confused with this, and understand nothing, not because somebody is right and somebody is wrong, it is even not a question.
Differences of opinion.
1.4. Some praise truth, others purification and asceticism; some praise forgiveness, others equality and sincerity.
1.5. Some praise charity, others praise sacrifices to the ancestors; some praise action(karma), others think dispassion (vairagya) to be the best.
1.6. Some wise persons praise the duties of the householder; others follow pile as highest.
1.7. Some praise mantra yoga, others the frequenting of places of pilgrimage. Thus are the ways which people declare emancipation.
1.8.”Being diversely engaged in this world, even those who are sinless, know what actions are good and what are bad, become subject to bewilderment.
1.9. Those, who follow these doctrines, having committed good and bad actions, constantly wander in the worlds, in the cycle of births and deaths, bound by dire necessity.
1.10. Others, wiser among many, and eagerly devoted to the investigation of the occult, declare that the souls are multiple and eternal, and omnipresent.
1.11. Others say, “Only those things can be said to exist which are perceived by the senses and nothing besides them; where is heaven or hell?” This is their strong faith.
1.12. Thirds believe the world is a stream of consciousness and nonmaterial entity; some call non-existence as the greatest. Others believe in two essences – Matter (prakriti) and Spirit (purusa).
1.13. Thus believing in widely different doctrines, with faces turned away from the supreme source, they think, according to their understanding and education, that this universe is without God;
1.14 Others believe there is a God, basing their assertions on various irrefutable arguments, founded on texts declaring difference between the soul and the God, and anxious to establish the existence of God.
1.15. These and many other wise men with various different denominations have been declared in the Shastras as leaders of the human mind into delusion. It is impossible to describe fully the doctrines of these persons so full of quarrel and contention; people thus wander in this universe, being driven away from the path of emancipation.
My friends, now lots of practices penetrate to us. Some people proclaimed necessity of karma cleaning, another necessity of meditation, another says that it is necessary to follow holy rituals.
Others say, that you need to wear Hindu cloth and sing their holy songs. Lots of opinions exist. Frequently people, who say such things or popularize such ideas, try to increase their ego. “Bird-talkers” from philosophic studies, they frequently talk, to talk, for self-realization. Poor followers are confused, to be inspired with horrors: if do so and so, they will find a bad karma. Somebody attracted to do this and that with the hope to find great liberation. But frequently it is only words, without any sense.
What yoga tells us about this? There are logical things, illogical things and over logical things in universe. We should to find out over logical things, clues, to reach final point in yoga or any other philosophical system. Over logical things are inexpressible, they cannot be described by the words. At the same time, using philosophical conclusions and different philosophical streams, it is possible to push person to over logical area. Lots of different philosophical streams and teachings arrears. If you catch exterior form, you catch nothing. But if this exterior form gives push to your mind, and you turn to source, you reach level of over logic and reach result. Words by themselves are just form, with meaning or without it.
If there is no over logic in logic, form is empty. It is worse, when form is not form of logic, but form of illogic and obscurantism (things interpretation to the side of mind slackening). Sometimes strange things happens, formally illogical things in philosophical systems give push for concrete person in concrete period of time (even despite of its illogic) and person gets result. Certain actions both can lead to result or not. Difference in usage, if it is mind training, it is one side. If it is some surroundings for self-discovery process it is another side.
Yoga is the only true method.
1.17. Having studied all the Shastras and having pondered over them well, again and again, this Yoga Sastra has been found to be the only true and firm doctrine.
1. 18. Since by Yoga all this verily is known as a certainty, all exertion should be made to acquire it. What is the necessity then of any other doctrines?
Generally speaking, without superfluous modesty, yoga texts don’t differ. For a question “to what this or that system leads”, there are two answers: to the prime target (and then this text costs considerations), or to the intermediate purpose (that it is uninteresting). After learning all truth through yoga, all efforts should be directed to get it. What is the benefit from other doctrines after that?
My friends, this translation is very rough. We analyze this translation, but even with the unaided eye we see that translation is rough. But sense is the same. If you see seeds of supreme in any doctrines, so any doctrine leads to understanding of supreme. But if you catch the form, nobody warranties, that you will reach supreme goal. Though out yoga shatra you learn truth, and can separate reality of this world from delusion. All troubles in our lives come from delusion and lack of knowledge. Chain of these delusions can be long enough and goes for several lives, and anyway it is hampered to the lack of knowledge. And again if you experienced Supreme, you do not need other doctrines.
Important point is a question of connection between yoga and science, yoga and religion. I heard lots of opinions. For example – yoga is religion. It is not correct. Others tell that yoga is science. Yoga looks like science. But yoga is far away as from science (in our interpretation of science), so from religion. Yoga is a unique system of self-knowledge, system of environment-knowledge. Further we will cover main principles. Yoga distance itself from religion and science, at the same time it recognizes, and that all religions deserve respect and attentive relation. Our world is much more complex, than private religious or science point of view. Yoga proclaims, that world as complex, so everything has own place in it.
In India Yoga Representative seemed to be conformist. He went to one temple and felt himself comfortable in bounds of one religion. Then he moved to another temple, diametrically opposite to previous one and again felt himself comfortable. Then to third temple and forth, situation is the same. He feel at home everywhere, but at the same time he does not belong to any of these systems. That is why in yoga it is maintained, that system of yoga leads us to the supreme basis, supreme sense, which could not be expressed. It can be shown in different doctrines and religions in different ways. If these religious ideas have supreme sense – it is good, that means, it can raise people (inside this religion) to highest level. But if there is no supreme sense, form does not save. Even if it is only a form without sense, Yogi will not be opposite this.
All philosophies, doctrines and people endow Supreme with their own qualities, increased to universe size. Barbarian with the bludgeon imagines God as huge barbarian with huge bludgeon. We project own qualities to the Supreme. Sometimes it helps and leads people to the level of understanding of delicate aspects in spiritual sphere, sometimes not. But we should not laugh and mock at primitive people faith. Yoga is always over straggle. It does not involve in any religious or philosophical disputes.
1.19. “This Yoga Shastra, now being declared by us, is a very secret doctrine, only to be revealed to a high-souled pious devotee throughout the three worlds.”
This is continue for the topic “Where from did yoga come?” All text were secret till certain moment. And ones could see it only after long period of presence among yogis and after gaining confidence from them. Something has been changed in this world and today this secret doctrine develops and spreads around.
Why this doctrine was secret? Why it became open? This is one of the unopened secrets of yoga. Why doctrines begun to be widely opened till certain time. The only thing, that we can conjecture, that it was yogi bless for this. Maybe world situation became critically poor, world collapses, people’s energy is enough for self-destroy. It is obvious, that one person will push red button, but environment influences him. And environment is formed by moral climate and spiritual level of society.
Experience of WWI and WWII shows us terrible picture – humanity in its craziness can destroy itself in one moment. Just imagine that one scientist invents some bacteria or plague, and all population will die. There is an incitement for intellectual development and late spiritual development, so some danger appears, that we will destroy ourselves. In certain yogi societies such opinion exists – secrete doctrines has been opened for wide society, to let us know, that if we would not balance our developed brains by spiritual practices, we will die. But it is only speculations. All ancient texts were highly classified.