Chapter 35 — Adoration of the Great God, Mahadeva, in the Form of the Ishtadeva

Vasishta said:—

Then Hara, who is the lake of the lotus of Gauri, desiring my enlightenment, glanced at me for a minute and uttered his words. His eyes flashed with light under his heavenly forehead, like two treasure chests of his understanding, which scattered its rays about us.

The god Shiva said:—

O sage, call your thoughts home and employ them to think of your own essence and to bring about your ends, just as the breezes of heaven convey fragrance to the nostrils. When the object long sought for is in one’s possession, what else is there to desire? I who have known and come to the truth have nothing to expect as desirable or anything to reject as despicable. 5 When you have mastery over yourself, both in the states of your peace and disquiet, you should apply yourself to the investigation of your own soul without attending to anything besides. At first you may depend upon your observations of phenomena, which you will learn from what I have said if you attend to it with diligence.

Vasishta speaking:—

After saying this, the holder of the trident told me not to rely on my knowledge of the externals, but to attend to internal breathing that moves this abode of the body, just as the physical forces move a machine.

Shiva speaking:—

The lifeless body without breath becomes dull and dumb as a block. Its power of movement is derived from the vital air (prana, subtle energy), but its powers of thought and knowledge are attributed to the consciousness.

This conscious intellect has a form more rare and transparent than empty air. It is a being which is the cause of all entities. It is not destroyed by destruction of the living body or lack of vital air. 10 The consciousness is more rarefied and translucent than ethereal air and never perishes with the body. It remains as the power of reasoning in the mental and living body.

11 Like a clear shining mirror receives the reflection of external things, so the mind of God reflects all images from within itself and from nothing situated without. 12 As a dirty mirror receives no reflection of outward things, so the lifeless body has no reflection of anything, though it is preserved to our view. 13 All-pervasive consciousness, formless itself, is yet aware of the movement of sensible objects owing to its sense perceptions. But coming to the pure understanding of its spiritual nature, it becomes the supreme Shiva again.

14 The sages cultivate this immaculate intellect under the different names of Hari, Shiva, Brahma and Indra, the gods that are the givers of the objects of desire to all living beings. 15 Consciousness is also called the fire and air, the sun and moon, and the supreme lord. The All is known as the Omnipresent Soul and Consciousness, which is the mine of all Consciousness. 16 It is the lord of gods, the source of celestials, Brahma the Creator, and the lord of heaven. Anyone who feels the influence of this great Consciousness in himself is never subject to illusion. 17 The great souls known in this world under the names of Brahma, Vishnu, Hara and others are all only offspring of Supreme Consciousness endowed with a greater portion of it. 18 They are all like sparks of hot iron or particles of water in the immense ocean of creation. All those who are mistaken for gods have sprung from the source of the Supreme Consciousness.

19 As long as the seeds of error and the sources of endless networks of imagination exist, the tree of gross illusion continues to sprout in endless ramifications.

20 The Vedas, its exposition and other Vedic literature are only tufts of the tree of ignorance for the bondage of men. These again produce many other clumps to hold men tightly in their ignorance. 21 Who can describe the productions of nature in the course of time and place? The gods Hari, Hara, and Brahma are among the number, and they all have their origin in the Supreme Being, their common father.

22 Mahadeva (Great God, Shiva) is the root of all, just as the seed is the source of the branches of trees. He is called the All because He is the essence of all things and the sole cause of our knowledge of all existence. 23 He is the giver of strength to all beings. He is self manifest in all. He is adored and hallowed by all. He is the object of perception to those who know him, and he is ever present in all places. 24 There is no need to address invocatory mantras to the lord, who being omniscient and omnipresent, knows and sees all things as present before him at all places and times. 25 But being always invoked in the mind, this god who resides in everything is attainable by us in every place. In whatever form one’s intellect appears to him, it is all for his good. 26 He takes upon himself a visible form according to the thoughts in the mind of the worshipper. This form is to be worshipped first of all with proper homage as the most adorable lord of gods. 27 Know this as the ultimate knowledge of the greatest minds

Whoever has seen his identical soul is freed from the fears and sorrows of old age and is released from future reincarnations, like a fried grain which grows no more. 28 By worshipping this well known and unborn first cause in one’s self and at ease, everyone is freed from his fears and attains his supreme joy. Why then do you bewilder yourselves with the visible vanities of the world?