Shiva -Karma and the thing itself
The first thing to understand is that Hindu logic is radically different than the western reason.
In western logic, there is only this which is not that, or that which is not this.
While the Hindu logic is way more complicated and encompassing.
This but not that - I human but not you (as you).
This and that - I am human and also as you.
No this but that - I am neither human but like you (corresponding).
Not this and not that - I am neither human nor you(not you).
Any attempt to understand the Hindu’s metaphysical system without accepting that two-fold subjective/objective logic as one esthetic philosophical marvel is doom to fail.
“Sachara chara para purna
I am shiva, the all-pervading consciousness complete within itself.
The thing itself, the thing itself,
The everlasting bliss revolving.
The thing itself, the thing itself.
When first coming in contact with Shiva, he is the superhero, a strong and powerful character meant to impress children’s minds and the uninitiated.
He is then Shankara the benevolent.
The child becomes so impressed by this character to develop the desire to become like Shiva, which takes the child to follow Shiva’s footsteps and practice Joga.
For the Jogi, in his quest for self-empowerment, Shiva is Maharaj, the mighty master without a master, the powerful master of himself.
After many years of practice, the Jogi understands that Shiva is the mightiest of all gods, as he needs no one, yet keeps for his beloved followers bestowing great gifts of power on them(siddhis), guides by self example, and shows them the path to liberation from the illusions of the world (moksha).
He is the self-standing, powerful, and benevolent Mahadev, destroyer of illusions.
Then comes the understanding of existence within Samadhi, the presence within the deep darkness of primordial chaos, and the dispelling of the illusion of the world as sustainer of the self.
Shiva is then the pillar of the universe, a pillar of stability in chaos; he is Mahaeshwara, the revolving pillar which keeps reality intact by an act of immeasurable will.
The next phase is to discard all sense objects, even those that sustain the Jogi (Mahasamadhi).
Shiva is then Mahakal, the tremendous primordial darkness, the all-pervading consciousness complete within itself.
The Jogi is a singularity of will existing in union with Shiva (conciseness).
This but not that - I am me, but not Shiva.
This and that - I am me, and also Shiva.
No this but that - I am not me, but Shiva.
Not this and not that - I am neither Shiva nor me.
A typical puzzle for westerners is that the Hindus treat Shiva’s statue (murti) equally to the thing itself.
The most straightforward explanation is that they perceive and mentally are attuned to life as an open-end sandbox “one day, beggar, the other a king.”
Even so, in this whole beautiful uncertainty, there exists a self beyond the frame of one story, of one incarnation, a thread portraying a personal experience, and a bank account of action to handle (Karma).
Karma is not about a reward or punishment, as even a big “sinner” can be born a king.
Yet even a king overburden by his past life action will not have a good life.
That is because the inner suffering of over entanglement in the illusionary world can not be stifled by wealth as much as being a beggar can not.
Karma’s sense of justice is simply the inevitable no escape from one’s temperament.
A short-fused murderer will not be reborn a benevolent, patient man and will have to deal with his temperament even in the new story, maybe even through countless life of inner suffering.
Karma means it is in your hands.
The idea of Jesus emptying the world of Karma in Hindi perspective is horrifying; it denies an individual of his personal story and eventual hard-gained liberation(Moksh).
A right way of understanding the error in Karma’s western concept is to give the example of an Atma (individual soul) incarnating into a cow.
Since Hindus don’t eat or hit cows(ideally), It is a relatively laid-back life with very little Karma gained or lost.
There are no scales of justice and no cosmic balance to reconcile only life cycles, with death being transitory.
From this perspective, being murdered or committing murder is insignificant beyond the Karmatic impact on the self.
Committing murder can be the door for the path of liberation, or further entanglement, while being murdered has no karmic effect at all.
Karma is not an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth, and here again, it is that twofold subjective/objective in everything.
Deterministically being dese and over entangled will drag your Atma down to the animal kingdom while a less burden Atma will gain you birth into a higher vessel.
Undeterministicaly, a random meeting with a Siddha(powerful practitioner) gone wrong can land you into a cow just to contemplate it for a while.
The Hindu gods love to play with dice, but the dice, in their turn, loves to play on the gods.
Shiva is in his Murti(statue) as it is part of Shiva and a meaningful, tangible way of understanding something of Shiva.
Yet the murti, which is in Shiva, is not an easy way to understand Shiva’s totality.
How can one be expected to cultivate reverence for Mahadev as a spiritual presence if one cannot even take the time to burn incense at his feet in the mandir(shrine)?
As a philosophical exercise, lets Stripp Shiva of personification in favor of the primordial darkness archetype.
In the same way that It is impossible to build the last floor first.
It is impossible to cultivate the deep reverence necessary to exist in union with that kind of immensity(existing with) without having the firm foundation of a relationship with its most crude and tangible element.
A common mistake for advanced western practitioners is to forget that Shiva can be a statue in a small shrine as much as he is the primordial darkness of chaos.
It may lead to psychological breakdown and confusion as much as realizing you were climbing to the sky but got stuck with no way down.
Self-importance is a bitch.
Having an accident in your Sādhanā can always happen, with the most straightforward solution is to go back to the elements of worshiping shiva in the Mandir.
Without the understanding and integration of the Murti being the thing itself, it will not be possible.
The thing itself, the thing itself.