The most beloved lord, Shiva is the best example of humbleness, purity, and love. He is the space and time himself. The depiction of Shiva is in various scriptures, mostly the Puranas. The necklace of the serpent king Vasuki with the crown of the moon. Wearing the skin of Tiger, holding Trident in hands, and holding river Ganga in matted hair. This makes him the perfect representation of courage also. The Pancha Brahma Upanishad praise him greatly as Pancha Brahma (Five Brahman). He has five forms namely Sadhyojata, Aghora, Vamadeva, Tatpurusha, and Ishana. Each one represents his distinct identity.
Yogically demystifying the Panch Brahman, Sadhyojata is the lord of the Sadhyas or the Bhakti Seekers. This form makes seekers get rid of their desires by fulfillment. In Yoga, multiple Desires are the greatest enemy of the final spiritual awakening. A single desire is a need that has to be the biggest of them all. It is to become one with the whole process within the Universe or to become one with the Brahman. However, it is done while keeping in mind the Dharma assigned by Nature.
Vedically, Dharma is the duty of an individual while considering the laws of society and nature. In society, the Dharma of students is to read. The Dharma of the household person is to make his family satisfied, and so on. For every object within the society or nature, people have to follow the Dharma. This is only the solution to maintain all other desires as Dharma and to keep a single desire as desire itself. Sadhyojata is the maintenance of Earthly beings thus the element Earth or the Dharma himself.
The second aspect of Shiva is Aghora, he is the lord for the people having Ego. When the ego becomes high, only the other higher ego can destroy that ego. This ego is the element of water which always flows down through various places but ultimately becomes one with the Sea. The Ocean is a higher ego and the river is the smaller ego. If a river would be human, it would think ‘I am only the one here” without knowing the vastness of the ocean. The ego takes people down but when the right time comes it becomes one with the ocean too. However, the form of Aghora suggests, the method of ‘Tantra’ or physicality is the requirement in order to control it.
The idea is similar to that of Vipassana or feeling the senses for understanding it because only understanding the nature of the senses makes you go beyond the senses and reach the ultimate. Here also, the seeker has to maintain the Dharma without involving in the pleasures of sexuality while understanding the nature of its own. The Trataka of Water is one of the methods. (Continuous gazing of water, feeling the sensation daily of coldness moving down with a deep breath. Practiced for a period of six-nine months can make people get rid of Karmas related to physicality. Practice only if you are confident, otherwise, it can cause diseases like cold and cough with fever frequently)
The third aspect is that of Vamadeva, he completes the person and makes him satisfied from within. Vamadeva means lord of the left side. The heart is always on the left; the heart is the center of the consciousness of the self. The collective central consciousness is ‘Angusta Purusha’ or the consciousness in the shape of a thumb inside the heart. It expands and it contracts. It is big in one second and it is small in another second. When it expands it becomes ‘Anal Stambha’, or the pillar of fire which has no beginning and end (See the previous article to read more about Agni).
In the Aghora aspect, the ego takes the form of emotions but in the Vamadeva, the ego takes shape as consciousness itself. Aghora aspect is not enough for spiritual awakening, just like for the river, the ocean is the destination but the ocean is not the final thing. It also dries when heated. In the same way, emotions also reach their ultimate stage but change into consciousness.
Angustha Purusha is the individual soul. Everything we do is within us. However, it is not enough. This converts to ‘Tat Purusha’, or the other forms of consciousness. The person starts feeling, there is a difference between Angustha Purusha and Tat Purusha, ‘he is Shiva and this is me’ kind of feelings, but Tat Purusha himself solves this. He makes people realize that there is no difference between himself and self in us or there is no difference between Brahman and Atman. Tat Purusha is represented by Air because it moves freely but there is no understanding of the wall or the mountains, that deflect them. The goddess of mountains is Parvati, who directs the Air to maintain different things is the real ‘Tat Purusha’. She is the primordial energy of creation also known as ‘Adi Parashakti’
The final form of Shiva is, Ishana. The collective aspect of all the consciousness within ourself in the form of ‘Unity in Duality’. Through the practice of Yoga, people can live life as Ishana himself. Ramakrishna Paramhamsha praised the goddess Kali. However, he maintained himself and also called himself as Avatar of Kali. Praising Kali and calling ourselves as Avataras is a dual aspect but when there is a feeling of oneness through feelings/sensations within the body, then only the person is enlightened. Ramakrishna praised Rama and Krishna but called himself Avatar of them too. In ‘Samadhi’ or deep meditative stage, he remained united and in the wake, he remained in duality. He lived his life and maintained the Dharma too. Let’s get united for the final destination with Dharma.