Shiva -Karma and the thing itself
Updated: Nov 8
It is essential to understand that Hindu logic fundamentally differs from Western logic. In western logic, there is a dichotomy between this and that, with the understanding that something can be one or the other but not both. In contrast, Hindu logic is more complex and inclusive, recognizing that something can be:
This but not that - I am this but not you.
This and that - I am this and also as you.
Not this but that - I am not this but am also like that.
Not this and not that - I am neither this nor am I that.
Attempting to understand the Hindu metaphysical system without acknowledging this dual subjective/objective logic as a philosophical concept is likely to fail. It is vital to approach any philosophical or metaphysical system with an open mind and an appreciation for the unique perspective it offers.
“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 a person first encounters Shiva, he could seem like a superhero-like character who is strong and impressive.
His courage and goodness might inspire people to take up yoga to emulate him.
As people engage in yoga, they may regard Shiva as a strong teacher who can lead them to liberation and self-empowerment.
After many years of practice, the person may realize that Shiva is the greatest of all gods because he requires nothing and bestows immense powers on his followers.
He is a strong and kind teacher who demonstrates how to destroy the world's delusions.
During samadhi or prolonged meditation, a person continuing on their spiritual path may come to grasp the nature of existence.
They can view the outside world as an illusion and Shiva as the support structure of the cosmos.
By renunciation all material goods and existing in unity with Shiva, the person might work toward becoming this pillar.
Shiva is seen as the all-pervasive consciousness in this last level, and the individual is seen as a singularity of will inside Shiva.
This but not that - I am me, but not Shiva.
This and that - I am me, and also Shiva.
Not this but that - I am not me, but Shiva.
Not this and not that - I am neither Shiva nor me.
Murtis, or statues of Shiva, are sometimes regarded by Hindus as the actual deity.
This might be the case because Hindus believe that roles and circumstances can change at any time, making life unpredictable (such as being a beggar one day and a king the next).
The murti symbolizes the Hindu belief that there is a self that transcends all incarnations and personal narratives.
Karma, which is not about reward or punishment but rather the results of one's deeds, impacts this self.
Regardless of the circumstances, these effects may have a negative impact on a person's nature in subsequent incarnations.
According to Hindu doctrine, people can alter their karma through conscious acts and decisions.
Hindus view the idea of Jesus eradicating karma as unsettling because it eliminates the personal narrative and opportunity for enlightenment (known as moksha) that comes with acknowledging one's duties.
It can be helpful to think about the notion that an Atma (individual soul) could take on the form of a cow to highlight the distinctions between the Hindu and Western ideas of karma.
Only the cycle of life and death must be preserved, not cosmic equilibrium.
This viewpoint holds that events like murder or being the victim of murder are meaningful exclusively in terms of how they affect a person's karma, not in terms of justice or fairness.
Karma is about the emotional and objective effects of one's acts on oneself, not about getting even.
An Atma may reincarnate into a lower form due to deterministic reasons, such as being severely burdened by karma, because also a higher form may benefit from that reduced load.
So it is conceivable for an Atma to be arbitrarily assigned to a lower form, such as a cow.
Dice is a favorite game of Hindu gods, but the dice also have their agendas and play on the gods.
Shiva is represented by his murti (statue) in Hinduism because doing so helps people understand and relate to him.
Shiva can also be felt as a spiritual presence that exists beyond the physical realm. Thus, it's crucial to keep in mind that the murti is not all there is to Shiva, yet Shiva is all in his Murti.
It just depends on how deep you can see inside.
Shiva can be revered and connected by providing incense and other offerings at his shrine (called a mandir).
This practice is called Bhakti and works through the faculty of devotion, as by worshiping the outer representation of Shiva, you can worship your inner aspect, which is Shiva.
Shiva's anthropomorphized paradigm of primordial darkness is the highest expression, but it's also crucial to acknowledge his actual presence in the physical as a murti.
Without this base in the physical, establishing a connection with Shiva's more immeasurable and abstract features can be challenging.
Some western practitioners might err by concentrating only on the archetype and overlooking the significance of the physical components of devotion.
As it is dangerous to maintain a direct relationship with the divine without basing oneself in the physical world, this might cause disorientation and even psychological breakdown.
Shiva's physical, psychological, and spiritual facets can and should be integrated to create a sense of harmony and a safe connection with the formless divine.