Description: A dialogue between the Hindu god and a sage. Ends with a vision of the union of Shiva and Shakti.
1. On Esoteric Knowledge
1. On Esoteric Knowledge
Vyasa. What is esoteric knowledge?
Lord Shiva. Esoteric knowledge is higher knowledge. It is distinguished from ordinary knowledge by its origin, which lies in a source outside of life.
Vyasa. What does esoteric knowledge explore?
Lord Shiva. Esoteric knowledge explores the hidden possibilities of man.
Vyasa. Where is esoteric knowledge found?
Lord Shiva. Esoteric knowledge is found throughout the world. It exists in fragments and distorted pieces.
Vyasa. What must one do to become a student of esoteric knowledge?
Lord Shiva. First, one must learn how to distinguish between esoteric knowledge and ordinary knowledge. Then, one must amass a wealth of esoteric knowledge within oneself.
Vyasa. Is discrimination essential for a student of esotericism?
Lord Shiva. Yes.
Vyasa. Why is esoteric knowledge hidden? Why is it not publicly accessible, available to everyone?
Lord Shiva. It is as available as it can be. The trouble is that esoteric knowledge can only be communicated on an individual basis. It cannot be given to a general group.
Vyasa. Is symbolism a key part of esoteric knowledge?
Lord Shiva. Yes.
Vyasa. What happens to a seeker of esoteric knowledge in death? Is the knowledge he gained in one life carried over to the next?
Lord Shiva. Knowledge is not carried over, but a strong desire to seek this knowledge can be. Often, someone at a young age will intuitively grasp the principles of esotericism. He will begin to seek higher knowledge immediately, and waste little time with ordinary knowledge.
Vyasa. What happens after a wealth of esoteric knowledge has been amassed within oneself?
Lord Shiva. Then the real work begins.
Vyasa. What does it mean to think over the past?
Lord Shiva. To think over the past means to recall past experiences and bring them to the surface of consciousness.
Vyasa. Why is it important to think over the past?
Lord Shiva. It is important because it is how one acquires self-knowledge.
Vyasa. What are the most important memories to recall?
Lord Shiva. The most important memories to recall are those that contradict one’s ideas about oneself.
Vyasa. What makes these memories important?
Lord Shiva. These memories are important because they provoke an inner conflict, and that conflict leads to transformation.
Vyasa. Why doesn’t the ordinary person feel his contradictions?
Lord Shiva. The ordinary person lives in many illusions. Destroy illusions, and you will feel your contradictions.
Vyasa. What does sensory withdrawal refer to?
Lord Shiva. Sensory withdrawal refers to the withdrawal of the senses from external objects.
Vyasa. What is the ordinary state of the senses?
Lord Shiva. In their ordinary state, the senses are engaged with nature. They can’t be pulled away.
Vyasa. What happens when one withdraws the senses?
Lord Shiva. When one does this, turmoil is provoked.
Vyasa. What happens if this turmoil is patiently endured?
Lord Shiva. If patiently endured, this turmoil leads to transformation in time.
Vyasa. In the story of creation, why did you delay for so long when you were asked to create the world?
Lord Shiva. In the beginning, I was asked to be the god of creation. But, I delayed because I saw the problems inherent to the physical world. I did not want to bring such a world into being.
Vyasa. What were you doing during your delay?
Lord Shiva. During my delay I was seeking a solution to the problems of the physical world.
Vyasa. What is the meaning of your form Bhairava?
Lord Shiva. The form Bhairava, the Terrifying One, is how I appear from the perspective of conditioned existence.
Vyasa. If an ordinary mortal sees you as Bhairava, how does a sage see you?
Lord Shiva. A sage sees me as the benevolent Shiva.
Vyasa. What is your relationship to your other half?
Lord Shiva. Wherever I go, my other half goes with me. I cannot be without her, and I am not myself without her.
Vyasa. What are some of the names of your other half?
Lord Shiva. Shakti, Parvati, and Kali.
Vyasa. What does your name Poison-Drinker refer to?
Lord Shiva. The name Poison-Drinker refers to the voluntary death of ascetic practice.
Vyasa. What does it mean when people say you are the Cosmic Dancer?
Lord Shiva. Whoever is formless does not dance, but that is the closest approximation to what it is.
Vyasa. What is the meaning of your name the God of Ashes?
Lord Shiva. If there is any object I love, it is ashes. Ashes represent the futility of life. Everything can be reduced to them. Understand ashes, and you will be on the path to liberation.
Vyasa. I have heard stories of you taking on a human form as a king, and establishing justice in the world. Are these stories true?
Lord Shiva. Yes, these stories are based on true events.
Vyasa. What forms do you take on other than a king?
Lord Shiva. I often take on the form of a yogi, or a simple man.
Vyasa. Do other gods descend in human form?
Lord Shiva. Lord Vishnu and my other half descend in human forms.
Vyasa. What is the experience like of an avatar? Does he remember his prior life as a god?
Lord Shiva. He will forget everything because of the violence of incarnation. He will have to go through the complete experience of being human, and recover his divinity through his own efforts.
Vyasa. Is the descent of a deva a rare event?
Lord Shiva. Yes. At the same time, it may be more common than you think.
Vyasa. What is the meaning of your name the Destroyer?
Lord Shiva. As the Destroyer, I represent the principle of cosmic negation. I delight in destruction, and dramatic events.
Vyasa. How can you take pleasure in destruction? Truly you are the most horrific of the gods.
Lord Shiva. Those who are wise know that as the Destroyer I am the destroyer of falsehood. Only through destruction can truth be revealed, and liberation achieved.
Vyasa. Why is your skin white?
Lord Shiva. White skin is caused by withdrawing from the world and living in tombs.
Vyasa. Your disciples wear necklaces of bones, and eat their meals out of skulls. Why do they do these things?
Lord Shiva. The wise disciple of me knows the reason for these practices. Reflecting on their inner meaning, he gains a true knowledge of the world.
Vyasa. You are so wicked and horrifying. How can one worship you as a benevolent god?
Lord Shiva. Good is only gotten through evil, and whoever thinks he is good is mistaken. If you learn about yourself you will learn about your evil, and when you know your evil you will become good.
Vyasa. Why is ignorance so important to becoming wise?
Lord Shiva. Whenever you meet people in the world they always tell you they know everything. But, they do not know anything. Only when you admit your ignorance can you become wise.
Vyasa. There are many people in the world who are well-read, and who are recognized as intelligent. Are these people wise?
Lord Shiva. The world accepts many people as wise who I do not. As a rule, so-called intelligent people understand very little, and have very little within themselves.
Vyasa. What are we doing when we learn if we aren’t learning anything?
Lord Shiva. When you learn, the inner part of you is not assimilating the knowledge. Rather, a false part of you is pretending to assimilate it.
Vyasa. What does it mean to understand something?
Lord Shiva. To understand something means to know it intimately.
Vyasa. How should one pursue wisdom?
Lord Shiva. First, become like an exile to the world and other people. Then, seek a knowledge of yourself before you seek a knowledge of outward things. Do this and be humble, and you will be on the path to wisdom.
Vyasa. What is the empirical path of knowledge, and why is it insufficient?
Lord Shiva. The empirical path of knowledge relies on the five senses. Someone on this path believes in what he sees. The problem with this is it extends to metaphysical things. People begin to say, “I cannot see the gods, therefore they do not exist.” It is not thought that the senses could deceive. The world is a complex place.
Vyasa. How can esoteric knowledge help on the path to wisdom?
Lord Shiva. Human beings are trapped in a state of ignorance. By this I mean they cannot have knowledge about the most important things. Esoteric knowledge is useful, because it can provide knowledge about the most important things.
Vyasa. Why is the fool the most dear to you?
Lord Shiva. The fool always announces his ignorance to others, and believes in it himself. Lacking all reasonable concerns and worries, he gives up all his thoughts to think only of me. Possessing nothing, he believes I will take care of him. Such a person will be united with me, in regard to this there is no doubt.
Vyasa. Who is the stupidest person in the world?
Lord Shiva. Whoever does not prepare for death is stupid, and whoever presumes he is immortal is the stupidest.
Vyasa. What artist is the best to you, Patron of Artists?
Lord Shiva. The best artist to me is the one who understands what he creates. He creates a work with a hundred facets, but he knows each one like he knows himself.
Vyasa. Do you think self-knowledge is essential to being a good artist?
Lord Shiva. Yes.
Vyasa. What are some other qualities of a good artist?
Lord Shiva. Misery, austerity, hardness on oneself, and kindness to others.
Vyasa. Do you think asceticism helps one be a good artist?
Lord Shiva. Yes.
Vyasa. Do you believe everything in an artistic work should be purposeful?
Lord Shiva. Yes.
Vyasa. Are works less meaningful if an artist doesn’t understand what he’s made?
Lord Shiva. Yes.
Vyasa. If the overwhelming majority of artists do not understand their own works, what does this mean?
Lord Shiva. It means they lack self-knowledge.
Vyasa. How should an artist train himself?
Lord Shiva. In the beginning, he should just express himself. But, as time passes, he should use his works as a way to learn about himself. If he does this, the quality of his works will change dramatically.
Vyasa. Your perspective turns art into a severe discipline. Don’t you think art should be about expression?
Lord Shiva. When you have matured you will understand my perspective. It is possible both to express and to understand what you are creating.
Vyasa. Should an artist seek to make a livelihood from his work?
Lord Shiva. Seek to be the best artist you can be, and let me take care of the rest.
Vyasa. The number three plays an important role in your iconography: for example, in the third eye, and the trishula. What does the number three refer to?
Lord Shiva. The number three refers to the idea of three forces or principles.
Vyasa. What is this idea?
Lord Shiva. In nature, people recognize the operation of two forces. One is the active force, the other the passive force. These two forces oppose one another; they cannot be reconciled. Only one thing can reconcile them, and that is the third force.
Vyasa. Why is the third force reconciling?
Lord Shiva. The third force is reconciling because it is beyond nature. This gives it this power. Any rationalizing or justifying is useless. Only the third force is of use.
Vyasa. There is often an esoteric symbol associated with you, the Shiva Yantra. What does this symbol represent?
Lord Shiva. The Shiva Yantra represents the idea of three forces.
Vyasa. What does it mean when the Shiva Yantra is facing up? Down?
Lord Shiva. When it faces up, it represents the complete male. When it faces down, it becomes the Shakti Yantra and represents the complete female.
Vyasa. What is the meaning of the Shiva and Shakti Yantras together?
Lord Shiva. The union of the two symbolizes completion in the absolute sense.
Vyasa. What truth must be understood by all spiritual practitioners?
Lord Shiva. That life is painful and unsatisfying; that everything is insecure and ends in death.
Vyasa. What else must be understood by all spiritual practitioners?
Lord Shiva. If there is even a possibility of making oneself into something that is not perishable, that possibility must be investigated very seriously.
Vyasa. How can one practice Yoga when life brings with it so many worries?
Lord Shiva. As long as worldly matters are more important to you than spiritual ones, you will go nowhere. But, simplify your life, you can be a yogi even while running a household.
Vyasa. Why is it that when spiritual teachings become widely disseminated, they become useless?
Lord Shiva. This is the law. Higher knowledge cannot be communicated to the general mass of people. When it is it turns into nonsense.
Vyasa. What advice can you give about gurus?
Lord Shiva. Do not believe just anyone. There are many frauds in the world. But, if you are sincere, do not worry, because in time I will bring a teacher to you.
Vyasa. What advice would you give to someone just beginning on the spiritual path?
Lord Shiva. Doubt yourself always in the beginning. The path to me is more difficult than you know. Those who are united with me are few, but those who are in union with me will be known to all the world.
Vyasa. Why is the spiritual path so elusive and hard to find, if death is so horrible?
Lord Shiva. Human beings are not supposed to find the spiritual path. That is why it is elusive.
Vyasa. How is power over the thoughts achieved?
Lord Shiva. Hundreds and hundreds of times, you must trace the digressing thoughts of the mind back. Only by doing this can you gain control over the mind.
Vyasa. Why is an understanding of language essential for one on the spiritual path?
Lord Shiva. Words change in meaning over time. This means the carefully picked words of spiritual teachers are often mistranslated or misrepresented. You must be able to go back to the original language to understand what they said.
Vyasa. What is the purpose of a yogi growing his hair and beard? Cutting them short?
Lord Shiva. Whatever the style, the goal is to contradict how they are usually. When this is done, it provokes a feeling of inner conflict.
Vyasa. What do you think about spiritual practitioners who use drugs?
Lord Shiva. There are many who claim to imitate me by smoking ganja, and becoming intoxicated; however, those who do these things intemperately do not imitate me.
Vyasa. Does one have to hate everyone to get into heaven?
Lord Shiva. Understand what this means and you will know a great deal about the spiritual path.
Vyasa. What should a spiritual practitioner do when he falls into despair?
Lord Shiva. Remember my love for you, and remember I am always with you.
Vyasa. It is funny that human life is so vain, but human beings are so arrogant and self-obsessed.
Lord Shiva. Yes. Now you know how the Goddess and I get our laughs, wearing your empty skulls around ourselves as necklaces.
Vyasa. How would you explain celibacy, God of Yogis?
Lord Shiva. Celibacy is a supernatural practice; it is the rejection of nature in pursuit of what is above nature.
Vyasa. Why is celibacy so badly understood?
Lord Shiva. As I said, celibacy is a supernatural practice. Natural men understand celibacy as a natural practice. This creates misunderstanding.
Vyasa. How should one approach celibacy?
Lord Shiva. First, become honest about the animal you are. Then, consider becoming celibate.
Vyasa. Why is celibacy important to the spiritual life?
Lord Shiva. Celibacy is how sexual energy is used in the transmutation of the body. This is what makes it important.
Vyasa. Is the retention of the semen necessary?
Lord Shiva. It is the spiritual semen, not the physical semen, that causes the transmutation of the body. Therefore, you do not need to worry about emissions.
Vyasa. Can emissions be stopped?
Lord Shiva. No.
Vyasa. How does one cultivate dispassion for the body?
Lord Shiva. One cultivates dispassion by reflecting thus, “This body is composed of bones, fluids, and organs; it is mortal and subject to decay. In time even a beautiful body will age, become ugly, and die.”
Vyasa. If one reflects on the wretchedness of the body, can one become indifferent to it?
Lord Shiva. Yes. Imagine an ugly body, or an old one, or one that is dead. Reflect on what is inside the body, and on the oil and trash it produces.
Vyasa. Will a siddha be celibate?
Lord Shiva. Yes. The one exception will be the disciple of me, who will be sexually active in marriage.
Vyasa. Is the practice of celibacy dangerous?
Lord Shiva. Yes.
Vyasa. What makes celibacy dangerous?
Lord Shiva. Celibacy is dangerous because sexual energy is very powerful. If you abandon relationships with women, that can lead to your destruction.
Vyasa. Can one sexual experience ruin perfection?
Lord Shiva. Perfection is the result of years of work. It is better not to risk all one’s efforts for one experience of bodily comfort.
Vyasa. You alone destroyed Kama, and created an age without passion. What is the meaning of this story?
Lord Shiva. Open the eye that is closed, and become like one without desire. Inhuman, you will conquer death and establish yourself in inviolable peace.
Vyasa. Why don’t we remember our past lives?
Lord Shiva. The power of death is immense. It is so strong that it destroys all the former consciousness and memory.
Vyasa. If we have been transmigrating through eternity, why don’t we get fatigued?
Lord Shiva. It is appropriate to say that for someone transmigrating through eternity, time does not exist. Because of this, there is no fatigue.
Vyasa. What are some experiences of people as they transmigrate through time?
Lord Shiva. You have been murdered and a murderer; a fighter and a pacifist; a lover and a loner. Only when you become exhausted of being all these things will you seek release.
Vyasa. What are the different states of being in the cosmos?
Lord Shiva. Human, animal, ghost, demon, and deva.
Vyasa. Is there a hellish world?
Lord Shiva. Yes.
Vyasa. Who rules in hell? Are there lords of hell?
Lord Shiva. No. A deva watches over the people in hell.
Vyasa. What is the experience of a ghost like?
Lord Shiva. These poor creatures live lives of constant repetition. They experience the same traumas again and again, until they are exhausted.
Vyasa. Can a ghost harm a human being?
Lord Shiva. A ghost can scratch, or bite. The greatest harm it can do is through fear. A person can injure himself if he does not know what he is dealing with.
Vyasa. What is the pleasure of heaven like?
Lord Shiva. It cannot be related in human speech.
Vyasa. Is it possible to meet with others in dreams?
Lord Shiva. Yes.
Vyasa. Is it reasonable to forsake one life for the pleasure of heaven?
Lord Shiva. Yes. The true lover of pleasure will do this.
Vyasa. Are devas like human beings?
Lord Shiva. No. They are quite different. They do not possess a form like human beings do; at the same time, they can take on any form they wish.
Vyasa. Why are people what they are in the world? Why are some people born beautiful? Ugly?
Lord Shiva. Whoever has good intentions towards others in one life is later born beautiful. Whoever is invidious is born ugly.
Vyasa. Why are some people rich? Poor?
Lord Shiva. The charitable are rewarded with wealth. Thieves are cast into poverty.
Vyasa. Why are some people wise? Stupid?
Lord Shiva. Whoever values wisdom becomes wise himself. Whoever disparages learning becomes stupid.
Vyasa. If the world functions in this way, why don’t we see it?
Lord Shiva. The effects of actions are not immediate.
Vyasa. Is a rich birth the best birth?
Lord Shiva. No.
Vyasa. Why wouldn’t a rich birth be the best?
Lord Shiva. The rich do not have the same experiences in life that the poor do. Because of this, they do not develop a mature understanding of the world.
Vyasa. Can a rich person get into heaven?
Lord Shiva. It is possible, but very rare.
Vyasa. What is the best place to be born in the world?
Lord Shiva. The best place to be born is not too rich, and not too poor. One must be poor enough to know life’s troubles, and rich enough to approach the spiritual path.
Vyasa. Is it good to be born during the lifetime of a spiritual master?
Lord Shiva. Yes.
Vyasa. Is it possible to remember past lives?
Lord Shiva. Yes. A spiritual master can develop a siddhi by which he can remember past lives.
Vyasa. Are different religions true?
Lord Shiva. Yes.
Vyasa. What makes religion so hard to understand?
Lord Shiva. Speak with many followers of one religion, and you will find that each explains it differently. Not one is wrong, but each is operating at a different level of understanding.
Vyasa. How will different followers explain the same religion differently?
Lord Shiva. The simplest will explain it as superstition. The still simple will explain it as dogma. Only the wise will explain it rightly.
Vyasa. Are there false religions?
Lord Shiva. Yes.
Vyasa. What is a false religion?
Lord Shiva. A false religion is one made up by a charlatan, and believed in by simple people.
Vyasa. What constitutes a true religion?
Lord Shiva. A true religion is one established by a spiritual master or a deva.
Vyasa. Can a true religion degenerate and lose its integrity over time?
Lord Shiva. Yes.
Vyasa. What is the fate of spiritual frauds in death?
Lord Shiva. Such people have poor fates. They are not liked by the gods.
Vyasa. Is it useful to prosecute heretics?
Lord Shiva. Before you do this, you should reflect on what you know. Do you know about the spiritual path? Do you know the way to liberation? The prosecutor of a heretic may be just as doomed as he is. It is better to leave the prosecution of heretics to the gods.
Vyasa. What is the relationship between religion and art?
Lord Shiva. All religions are, or should be, the protectors of art. This is because there are many truths that can only be communicated through symbols, and symbols can only be communicated through art.
Vyasa. What does the phallus represent and why is it associated with you?
Lord Shiva. The phallus represents virility and all the qualities associated with manhood. It is my preferred object of worship.
Vyasa. Is it better to worship you in an icon that portrays you, or as the phallus?
Lord Shiva. The phallus is better if you understand its meaning.
Vyasa. Isn’t the phallus a lewd object?
Lord Shiva. Yes. The phallus is an upsetting object. It should provoke reflection in the worshipper.
Vyasa. Why is manhood a rare quality?
Lord Shiva. Manhood is rare because it includes in itself contradictory qualities. A man is both virile and good. Usually men are not like this. As a rule men are either virile and cruel, or good and weak.
Vyasa. What is the most beautiful thing that can exist in the world?
Lord Shiva. The most beautiful thing that can exist is a man in the full sense of the word. His beauty surpasses even that of a woman, because the qualities that make him beautiful are intangible.
Vyasa. Why is the relationship between men and women full of conflict and strife?
Lord Shiva. The two sexes represent opposing principles in nature. Because of this they can’t get along.
Vyasa. Should men always argue with women?
Lord Shiva. Yes.
Vyasa. Why is that?
Lord Shiva. Because no woman ever loved a man who agreed with her. If you agree with everything she says, she will find you weak.
Vyasa. Can diplomacy or negotiation work with women?
Lord Shiva. No.
Vyasa. Why not?
Lord Shiva. You cannot negotiate with someone who will always demand more from you after you give her something.
Vyasa. How can a man prepare for the conflict with women?
Lord Shiva. You must learn how to be righteous in what you say; you must learn how to control your anger; you must learn how to argue without becoming fatigued.
Vyasa. How can men improve themselves in relationships?
Lord Shiva. Men must learn how to be honest about their true feelings and thoughts.
Vyasa. Should a man feel ashamed about fulfilling his sexual needs?
Lord Shiva. No. He must fulfill those needs. If the woman he is with will not fulfill them, he must end his relationship with her.
Vyasa. How does a woman’s sexuality work?
Lord Shiva. A woman’s sexuality is based upon negation: that is, rejection and refusal. When a woman gives up her usual resistance, she obtains pleasure.
Vyasa. How can a woman attain happiness?
Lord Shiva. A woman attains happiness by overcoming her self-will.
Vyasa. Sometimes a woman gets a strange gratification when she conquers a man. Is this an example of her happiness?
Lord Shiva. No. This is an example of the false happiness which some women enjoy. The women who do this have never met a true man.
Vyasa. What does it mean if a woman respects a man?
Lord Shiva. It means she will be able to love him.
Vyasa. What does it mean if a woman does not respect a man?
Lord Shiva. It means she will work to castrate him.
Vyasa. What is the fate of a castrated man?
Lord Shiva. His fate will be insecure, because the woman can take everything from him at any time.
Vyasa. Is the woman who castrates a man justified?
Lord Shiva. Yes. It is the man’s fault: he allowed the relationship to be destroyed. This is the trajectory of all relationships until a man develops self-knowledge.
Vyasa. Why do some men want to be like women?
Lord Shiva. They covet the easiness of women’s lives. For once they want to be pursued, rather than be the pursuer.
Vyasa. Do women sabotage their relationships with men consciously?
Lord Shiva. No. A woman is not aware she is fighting with men all the time.
Vyasa. Will a lazy man always be defeated by women in relationships?
Lord Shiva. Yes.
Vyasa. Old age exposes all foolishness, and over time a woman wears the strength of a man down. How can a happy relationship be maintained?
Lord Shiva. Over time a woman must develop self-understanding. She must learn how to regulate her demands. Much of what she wants can only be fulfilled in the heavenly worlds. So, if she has found a good man, she should be content with what she has.
Vyasa. Your perspective puts most of the responsibility in relationships on men, and evacuates responsibility from women.
Lord Shiva. This is correct. The man is the active half of the relationship, the woman the passive half.
Vyasa. If a woman finds an excellent man, will he be her path to heaven?
Lord Shiva. Yes. If a man is on his way to heaven, he will take the woman there with him.
Vyasa. What qualities should a couple cultivate, Ardhanarishvara?
Lord Shiva. Do not get angry over trifles; be comfortable with silence; have good intentions for one another.
Vyasa. What things constitute perfection?
Lord Shiva. Perfect love of me and hatred of oneself constitute perfection.
Vyasa. How does one attain perfection?
Lord Shiva. One attains perfection by being passive, receptive, and silent.
Vyasa. Is it possible to walk on water, or levitate?
Lord Shiva. Such things are not possible with the physical body.
Vyasa. Is it possible to heal others, or communicate telepathically through the mind?
Lord Shiva. Many things are possible.
Vyasa. What does it mean to walk on air?
Lord Shiva. This refers to the travel of the siddha in the spiritual realm.
Vyasa. Can Yoga be understood as a transmutation of the physical body into the spiritual body?
Lord Shiva. Yes.
Vyasa. Is it the spiritual body that is reincarnated?
Lord Shiva. Yes.
Vyasa. Can the spirit in its complete form exist without a body?
Lord Shiva. Yes.
Vyasa. Why is the spirit reincarnated?
Lord Shiva. The spirit needs a physical body to continue towards perfection. At the same time, it is fettered to form. It cannot exist without a form.
Vyasa. What is the relationship between knowledge and attainment? Are there spiritual masters who are ignorant?
Lord Shiva. Simple people can sometimes have a very great attainment. The difficulty they will have is in teaching. If you want to teach, you must have both knowledge and attainment.
Vyasa. What is the meaning of the image of the great hanging ascetic?
Lord Shiva. This image represents immortality, and how it is achieved.
Vyasa. How does one attain immortality?
Lord Shiva. You must be held in the air and suffocated. This is the only way a mortal can be divinized.
Vyasa. What should one do while experiencing the mystic death?
Lord Shiva. Abide in misery and distress. The transformation goes on in silence, without you doing anything.
Vyasa. How should one recover from the mystic death?
Lord Shiva. Repeat the Great Death-Conquering Mantra.
Vyasa. Is it worthwhile to prove paranormal powers’ truth to the public?
Lord Shiva. Such a goal goes against the principles of esotericism.
Vyasa. What does the crescent moon in your iconography symbolize?
Lord Shiva. The crescent moon symbolizes amrita, the drink of the gods.
Vyasa. Why is the crescent moon placed at the top of your head?
Lord Shiva. This drink can only be consumed through a crack which exists at the top of the head. If a mortal consumes this secret drink, he can escape death.
Vyasa. Will a constant reflection on one’s thoughts lead in time to telepathy?
Lord Shiva. It will lead to an insight into the minds of others, whether such a power is supernatural or not. You will be able to anticipate what others are thinking.
Vyasa. Will a siddha always have a heroic temperament?
Lord Shiva. Yes.
Vyasa. What will a siddha be like in youth?
Lord Shiva. He will be like an adult when he is supposed to be a child. This means in adulthood he will transcend his humanity.
Vyasa. What is the full-body vibratory sensation felt by an adept?
Lord Shiva. This is the sensation of the spiritual body.
Vyasa. What is the phantom sensation felt by an adept in the forehead?
Lord Shiva. This is the sensation of the third eye.
Vyasa. What is the sensation felt by an adept in the chest?
Lord Shiva. This is the sensation of the spiritual heart.
Vyasa. Are the esoteric centers a part of a secret anatomy of the human being?
Lord Shiva. Yes. It is an anatomy based on the ordering of the inner life, and the curing of the dysfunctions innate to the human being.
Vyasa. Is the activating of the esoteric centers a linear process, the one leading to the other?
Lord Shiva. Yes. The first thing is the sexual center. Later its power can open spiritual heart, and the third eye in the adept.
1. A desire for liberation
5. Knowledge of one’s flaws
7. Hatred of oneself
8. Precision in one’s thoughts
9. Belief in hidden things
10. Death to family, friends, and concerns
11. Love of the hidden
12. The assumption that one is always lacking, mistaken, or misunderstanding in reference to others
13. The remembrance of death
14. Hardness on oneself but kindness to others
15. Discrimination of teachers
17. Disgust or disappointment with the body
18. Highness of thoughts
19. Vigilance in mind and body
20. Tears that transform one in the spirit
21. Subjection to true teachers
22. Forgiveness of others’ faults
23. A disinterest in the pleasure of eating
24. Flight from idle chatterers
25. Exile from the world
26. Patience through insults
27. Aloofness of mind
28. Joy in mortification
29. Flight from the opposite sex
30. Love of austerity
1. A conquest of sorrow, anger, and fear
3. The still mind
4. Inner heat
5. The silent mind
6. Knowledge of the thoughts of others
7. Perfect hatred of oneself and the world
8. Knowledge of future events
9. Rapture of mind
10. Rule over the world
12. A lack of shame
14. Holy indifference
15. Dispassion even among the strongest sense objects
16. Joy in isolation or loneliness
17. Pleasure in simple things
18. Love of others
19. A sensation at the crown of the head
20. A divine sound
21. A knowledge of the past
22. Conversation with the gods
1. Reflect on my words and let them enter into you, and you will have true knowledge.
2. Whoever is easy on himself now, spending time with women, will be annihilated in the end. But whoever is hard on himself now, embracing the heat of ascetic practice, will not perish.
3. Gold is forged in a crucible, and the spirit is forged through heat and struggle.
4. Endure travails patiently, and you will not be far from me.
5. Whoever cleaves to loneliness I will bring to union with me.
6. Whoever forsakes the body I will fill with the spirit.
7. Beloved of me are the wretched and despicable. But hated by me are the wretched who do not know what they are.
8. Whoever sobs uncontrollably for no purpose is divinely touched.
9. He who gives what he has to others like a fool, I will give to him.
10. Whoever does not speak now, I will give great words to later.
11. Remember me at all times and in all places and I will remember you.
12. Whoever does not gossip will not be gossiped about.
13. If you have been mystically annihilated, then you are more divine than human.
14. Be discrete in your quest for me, because I unite myself only with those who live in exile.
15. Whoever seeks a vision of me will get it if he remembers me at all times and everywhere.
16. Whoever worships the phallus as a lewd object will degrade himself, but whoever knows its true meaning will elevate himself.
17. Hate the body and yourself and I will take you out of yourself in samadhi.
18. Whoever seeks me during the day at his leisure will not find me. But whoever goes searching for me at night will be united with me.
19. Know your contradictions and you will know yourself.
20. If you think over the past you will find you are not as solid a structure as you think you are.
21. The indolent disciple abandons his quest, but the true disciple always adds fuel to the fire.
22. Whoever knows how to be both a lover and an ascetic is loved by me.
23. If you work in accord with yourself you will go nowhere. But, if you work against yourself, you will make progress.
24. Be silent, because I will give all things to you in silence.
25. When you see the vanity of your experiences you will flee from them; when you flee from them you will suffer; after you have suffered you will become free.
26. Mourn and weep over yourself and your past actions, and you will find that I have blessed you.
27. Have compassion for others and you will find peace.
28. If women are fickle, men must be constant.
29. The man who can rule his thoughts is the lord of himself.
30. The silent mind is fantastic to the ordinary person, but what lies beyond it is even more fantastic.
31. Through great struggle establish yourself in the silent mind, and you will be on the path to liberation.
32. The silent mind is not the same as the still mind, but greater than it. Greater than the silent mind is samadhi.
33. She who loves me saw beyond my simple clothes. When I acted foolishly, she saw I was wise. When I tried to deceive her and disparage her, she became more endeared.
34. Conquer anger with despair, and conquer despair with hope.
35. He who is a wanderer, but searches for me: I will show him the way.
36. When you know your own stupidity and foolishness you will become wise.
37. Know the many faces you wear in a day, and how many contradictory sides of yourself there are.
38. Conflict cannot be avoided, and those who think domestic happiness can be won through diplomacy are mistaken.
39. Rest from spiritual practice only after you have exhausted yourself. After you have rested, resume your practice with even more intensity.
40. Be dead to all those who walk in falsehood and do not seek me.
41. Peace can be gotten the easy way, by justifying oneself and putting to one side all difficulties. Or, it can be gotten the hard way, by confronting things and recalling difficulties.
42. Do not believe those who say the spiritual life is easy. These are the same people who return to this world again and again.
43. A man should not worship demons, and an ignorant man should not worship Bhairava.
44. Only the wise should worship Bhairava, and only the wisest should worship Kali. Let us remember who she tread upon as she did her dance of destruction.
46. He who believes in himself can exorcize an evil spirit, but only a saint can infect others with his goodness.
47. He who begins to turn inward sees the power that fantasy has over him.
48. Do not bother reading books if you do not understand them. It is better to know one book well than many badly.
49. Do not judge others and I will not judge you.
50. The sterile man attains immortality, and the immortal man is the most virile of all.
51. Whoever cannot control his anger turns this world into a hell.
52. In the afterlife, the violent are submerged in a river of blood.
53. When I tried to break Parvati’s penance she rejected me, and spiritual work that is ceased before it is complete is useless.
54. An evil person has many vices, and a good person has many virtues.
55. If an excellent woman loves a man, that is a sign he too is excellent.
56. To out-argue a woman you must have unshakeable peace and righteousness in your views.
57. A king who dresses like a beggar is still a king.
58. Whoever cannot control his anger will not attain liberation.
59. There are many charlatans in the world who take advantage of impressionable people, and who even believe in their own nonsense.
60. If you remember death you will overcome your selfishness.
61. When it is all over, those who took religious questions even a little seriously will be in the best position.
62. The physical body can never be comfortable. Remember this and you will never flee from asceticism.
63. If you make progress on the spiritual path, you will find you are a different animal from what you began as.
64. If a man and woman are really united, their bond will not end in death.
65. Women always want relationships to be argued from destruction. The most dispassionate man will always be the most loved by women.
66. You would not speak badly of your employer, and you should not profane a spiritual master.
67. Whoever has been under the yoke of a real master for a year is better than one who has followed his own rule in the spirit for twenty.
68. Since the beginning of the human race, some have followed a noble path to a hidden city. In the city is liberation.
69. It is better to write a few sentences you understand, than a whole book you do not.
70. Understand what you read, and you will know more than an author does about his own work.
71. Remember me in difficult times and I will remember you.
72. A virile man will have many children that survive his death, and a spiritual master will as well.
73. An animal that disobeys is not faulty, but has a poor trainer.
74. Hate your family, your friends, and yourself and you will overcome nature.
75. Few can teach, but just as few can learn.
76. If nothing in your mind ties you to the world then you will not come back to it again.
77. Be a lover of hardship, and be patient and magnanimous in misunderstandings. If you are like this, you will be an imitator of me.
78. A divine hand guides the hungry to food in the wilderness, and those with a strong desire for liberation will find it.
79. Those who practice the asanas are not yogis. If you do not know this, then you are doomed.
80. There are some who attain something spiritual through hardship, then achieve publicity and by it lose everything they gained.
81. Hear the trumpet and the hero’s call! Become like an exile to the world, and attain liberation from the cycle of birth and death.
82. Cultivate seriousness and hardness in reference to yourself.
83. A sensual couple enjoys one another now. But in time their bodies will age, become ugly, and die.
84. A prince will never understand hardship, and women will never understand difficulty and strife.
85. A celibate king attracts suspicion, as does a guru who womanizes.
86. In a time when God is dead, do not discuss religion in public.
87. Only samadhi can overcome sensuality, because it is a pleasure that is superior to it.
88. A spiritual teacher who has found samadhi will not be interested in women.
89. The greatest fetters that bind one to the world are sensuality and ill will. Overcome these, and you will not return again to a human birth.
90. Whoever knows the world knows it has two sides: one horrible, the other kind. Know these two sides and you will have a true knowledge of the world.
91. Death is not frivolous, and it should not be taken lightly.
92. Always remember death. Feel what it means with your whole self.
93. A woman who does not invest in anything other than her looks will become malicious and lonely in old age.
94. If you can imagine a being without form, then nothing prevents you from becoming such a being in time.
95. A woman gains a false pleasure from conquering a man, but a woman is only happy when she has been conquered.
96. Many forces confine a person in falsehood. Only violence can break one out of it.
97. The greatest man is not a man at all, but one of the gods.
98. A hard teacher can destroy the fantasies of a beginner, and a soft teacher can nourish and invigorate a great soul.
99. Whoever establishes justice in this evil world is loved by me.
100. In the sexual act, the man penetrates and the woman is penetrated.
101. The best teacher is the one who speaks in symbols.
102. Whoever has high thoughts and is humble, I will fill with occult knowledge.
103. Find the noble ones in your life and befriend them.
104. The tyrannical rich are punished by me in death.
105. Pleasure gotten by eating shows a forgetfulness of death.
106. As long as your heart is hard you will never know peace.
107. If you seek miraculous powers for their own sake you will not find them.
108. There are many in the world who pretend to be good-willed when they are not. If you have discernment, you can see who is true and who is false.
109. If you acquire some spiritual power do not become arrogant or lazy, but work more diligently towards your goal.
110. If wisdom and conflict are my sons, then the two together constitute manhood.
111. The greatest man is the greatest king.
112. Only the evil can become good.
113. Past experiences are the material with which you will work for a long time.
114. Reject and deny yourself, and you will gain power over your actions. But go easy on yourself and you will become more and more a slave.
115. The most foreign to me in the world are lovers of themselves. Always following their own way, in the end they are destroyed.
116. Like what is contrary to you to like, and you will not be far from me.
117. Destroy what the world has built for you, and I will build something for you instead.
118. Find the beautiful in the ugly, and the ugly in the beautiful.
119. A fascination with death in youth can be a sign of intelligence.
120. Remember the horror of life and you will find the spiritual path.
121. Whoever lives in poverty is wise, because he knows that everything is lost in death.
122. The heart can only be opened by giving, and a selfish person will never develop humanity.
123. The smartest man in the world is the stupidest, and he who believes he is ignorant is the wisest.
124. Suffer when you see others suffering, and you will be a true man.
I saw a vision of the God and Goddess in union. They were wearing necklaces of human skulls. A dead body lay beneath them.
The couple emanated countless arms. In Shiva’s he held a scepter, a trident, and a cup of amrita. In Shakti’s she held a scimitar, a severed head, and a cup of poison.
The third eye of each was open. A divine power erupted from each head. Around the couple was a fire, which turned around them.
That vision moved upward, and became more excellent and impossible to my sight.
Then, that vision disappeared, and I saw nothing for a while. Then, I saw a new vision. I saw the God and Goddess in calm form, not in union but standing side by side. Before me, Shiva raised his right hand in the abhaya mudra, and bestowed fearlessness upon me.