Re: Svetasvatara Upanishad and temple visit
Just a few ideas for one’s kind consideration...
Who was śvetāśvatara ? The upaniṣad is named after him, this seer or ṛṣi (rishi). The term means he who has ( or is carried by/ drawn by)
white mules or horses. It suggests he ( this seer) is lead by pure senses. This is to suggest his purity, his stainless level of being.
Two śloka’s from the 4th chapter:
sūkṣmātisūkṣmaṃ kalilasya madhye viśvasya sraṣṭāram anekarūpaṃ |
viśvasyaikaṃ pariveṣṭitāraṃ jñātvā śivaṃ śāntim atyantam eti || 4.14
this says in general,
that person who knows/realizes this Being, the auspicious, gracious, benevolent one (śivaṃ)
who is most subtle ( subtler than the subtlest or sūkṣmātisūkṣmaṃ) who encircles ( some say creates)
this whole universe, who assumes many forms, that person ( who knows this Being) attains infinite peace.
I use the term ‘encircles’ because the term śiva is rooted in the term śī , ‘in whom all things lie’ - all things known, unknown or yet to be are within this Being.
ghṛtāt paraṃ maṇḍam ivātisūkṣmaṃ jñātvā śivaṃ sarvabhūteṣu gūḍhaṃ |
viśvasyaikaṃ pariveṣṭitāraṃ jñātvā devaṃ mucyate sarvapāśaiḥ || 4.16
by knowing Him, the auspicious, gracious, benevolent one (śivaṃ), who is hidden in all beings,
extremely subtle, like the essence of ghee ( that is hidden in milk) who envelopes the universe, ( that knowing person) is free from all fetters.
The term ‘all fetters’ = sarvapāśaiḥ which means sarva or ‘all’ + pāśaiḥ = a snare, bond , cord , chain , or fetter.
The West ( in my opinion only) tends to simplify things to the mundane level of understanding. This keeps things at the superficial level.
Is Shaiva depicted as more a destructive entity in other texts, perhaps some of the epics? Or did westerns just completely misrepresent him?
Briefly he is described as a destroyer of evil or as both a creator and destroyer; lord of all things.
That is good at times ( like in an elevator and you are asked to explain something before the 5th floor) , yet all the richness is
lost to the mundane and trite view. One passes up a diamond and thinks it to be just a stone.
Now pending one’s school of thought ( called dárśana or ‘view’ , sight, seeing, knowing) śiva takes on many-many different
notions, qualities, and the like. My views are honed and structured ( on this matter) by the trika śaivism, it consists of 4 schools of thought:
- pratyabhijñā ( SELF recognition),
- kula ( a grouping and used for 'totality' , Universal Consciousness),
- krama ( progress made step-by-step),
- spanda ( the throb, movement, SELF-referral of the Divine).
To suggest or infer I am competent in these 4 schools would be misleading. I consider myself the student (śiṣya).
So you ask is it the destructive and creative power? Yes, but that is limiting. He is everything that can and cannot happen. He is not only lord of all things, (all things meaning seen, unseen or yet to come, thought of, never thought of, and impossible to think of) is none other than Him to begin with.
Here is the view on this matter ( which takes some time to digest). I yield to the support offered by abhinanagupta-ji's work called bodhapañcadśikā or the 15 verses of wisdom. He informs us of the following:
tasaivaiṣā parā devī
yasya nālpaṁ na cādhikam ||
I will rely on svāmī lakṣman-jū for the proper translation of this śloka. This then says,
The collective state of the universe is His supreme energy (or śakti) which He created to recognize His own nature.
This śakti who is the embodiment of the collective state of the universe, loves possessing the state of God Consciousness.
She is in the state of ignorance remaining perfectly complete (pūrṅatvaṁ) and full in each and every object.
So, here is the insight and observation: śiva is rooted in the term śī , ‘in whom all things lie' + the collective state of the universe is His supreme energy =
Nothing can be outside of Him. That suggests creation, destruction, maintenance, Grace, all possibilities, every possible outcome, every possible condition, action
or non-action that can occur or not occur for ever. What does that mean ? you are Him ( as am I, my dog, cat, tree, quarks, molecules, electro-magnetic spectrum,
the saint, sinner, good cop, bad cop, the weather, sun, moon, galaxies, and nothing at all or ākāśa (pure space).
Our duty/dharma is to re-member who we are, that is why we have our chance of being human. You ( we) need to go no further than your SELF (ātmán) to
make this discovery - it is not outside you.
Last edited by yajvan; 01 February 2016 at 12:50 PM.
because you are identical with śiva