top of page

Shaivism-Yoga Philosophy

Divine consciousness is active, dynamic, throbbing with life and creative pulsation. Jiva is Siva (Shiva): by identifying himself with his body, Jiva has forgotten his real nature. This teaching enables Jiva to recognize his own real self, Siva, to attain 'at-one-ment' with Siva. It eschews mechanical worship, external rites and ceremonies and goes to the heart of the union of human consciousness with the Divine. It reveals the Yoga of supreme identity of the individual self with the Divine. It's the merging of the sadhaka to a state of bliss (ananda) completely into the non-dualistic Siva. (Shiva Sutras, J.Singh, Vasugupta).

Manifestation of the World Process: The very nature of Ultimate Reality is to manifest. Creativity is the of the very essence of Divinity.

Parama Siva has infinite powers, the main ones being: (1) cit, the power of Self-revelation, the changeless principle of all changes. In this aspect, the Supreme is known as Siva. (2) Ananda, or Absolute bliss. In this aspect, the Supreme is known as Sakti. (3) Iccha, or Will. (4) Jnana or knowledge. In this aspect, He is known as Isvara. (5) Kriya, the power of assuming any and every form. The Universe is simply an expansion of the Supreme as Sakti. The creative aspect of Parama Siva is known as Siva tattva. Sakti tattva is the Energy of Siva. She polarizes Consciousness into Aham and Idam (I and This), subject and object. Sakti is nothing separate from Siva. Siva in his creative aspect is known as Sakti. She is His ahamvimarsa (I-consciousness), His intentness to create.

Isvara tattva is the distinct blossoming of the Universe. At this stage, jnana or knowledge is predominant. The Sadasiva experience is “I am this”; and the Isvara experience is, “This I am.” The experience is universal.

The Tattvas (Principles) of the Limited Individual Experience: In the play of Maya tattva, the higher, ideal nature of the Divine is veiled. All this happens because of Maya—that which makes experience measurable and limited, and severs the “This” from “I”. Maya draws a veil (avarana) on the Self owing to which he forgets his real nature, and thus Maya generates a sense of difference. Maya produces coverings (kancukaas), which: (1) reduces universal authorship of the universal consciousness and brings about limitation in respect of authorship or efficacy; (2) reduces omniscience of their Universal Consciousness, and limitation in respect to knowledge; (3) reduces the all-satisfaction of the Universal Consciousness and brings about desire for particular things; (4) reduces eternity (nityatva) of the Universal Consciousness and limitation in respect of time—division of past, present, and future; and (5) reduces freedom and pervasiveness of the Universal Consciousness and brings limitation in respect of cause, space, and form... Both matter and form of knowledge arise from Maya and Maya arises from Siva-Sakti. Knowledge of the cosmos, Self and God is nirvikalpa (non-distinctive).

Tattvas of the Limited Individuals: Siva through Mayasakti limits His universal knowledge and power becomes Purusa, or the individual subject. Purusa in this context means every sentient being. Purusa is also known as anu in the sense of limitation of the divine perfection. While Purusa is the subjective manifestation of Siva, Prakrti is the objective manifestation.

There's a difference with the Sankhya conception of Prakrti: Sankhya believes Prakrti is one and universal for all the Purusas. Trika believes that each Purusa has a different Prakrti. Prakrti is the matrix of all Objectivity). Prakrti has three gunas (genetic constituents.

In her unmanifested state, Prakrti holds these gunas in perfect equipoise. The gunas sattva, rajas, and tamas are the polarization of His saktis of jnana, iccha, and kriya. Thus, there is perfect non-dualism, not dualism of Prakrti and Purusa, as in Sankhya.

Tattvas of Mental Operation (Buddhi, Ahamkara, Manas): Prakrti differentiates into anahkarana (psychic apparatus), indriyas (senses) and bhutas (matter). Antaharana means the inner instrument of the individual. It consists of the tattvas—buddhi, ahamkara, and manas.

Buddhi is the ascertaining intelligence and are of two kinds: external and internal images built out of the samskaras (impressions left behind on the mind). Ahamkara is the product of Buddhi. It's the I-making principle and the power of self-appropriation. Manas is the product of aharhkara. It cooperates with the senses in building up perceptions and by itself, it builds images and concepts.

Tattvas of Materiality: Caitanya or Siva forms the very core of the being of every individual. It is his real Self. The physical aspect of the individual Self consists of the five gross elements highly organized as the physical body. There is also prana sakti working in him. It is by this prana sakti that he is sustained and maintained. In each individual there is Kundalini, which is a form of Sakti and lies dormant at the base of the spine.

Each individual has normally an experience of three states of consciousness—waking, dreaming, and deep sleep. There is, however, a fourth sate of consciousness known as turiya, the consciousness of the central Self or Siva in each individual. This is a witnessing consciousness of which the individual is normally not aware. The turiya is pure cidaananda consciousness-bliss. The individual mind is conditioned by habit energy of previous lives. When by yogic practices, his mind becomes deconditioned, then he attains the turiya consiousness and becomes a jivan-mukta, 'liberated while still alive.'

Bondage of the individual is due to innate ignorance, a limiting condition which reduces the universal consciousness to an anu or limited creature. It is owing to this that the jiva considers himself to be a separate entity cut off from the universal stream of consciousness. Liberation is the recognition of one's true nature—the original, innate, pure I-consciousness. Moksa or liberation is nothing else but the awareness of one's true nature. The highest attainment is that of Siva-consciousness in which the entire universe appears as I or Siva and this comes by Saktipata, the descent of Divine Sakti (Grace). To earn grace, one has to undergo spiritual discipline (upaya or yoga).

When Siva alone is experienced as the real I, as the real Self, it's known as nirvikalpaka yoga, when there is complete cessation of all thought-constructs. This is a yoga in which there is no active process either of body, prana, manas, or buddhi. It's an emergence of Siva-consciousness.

Sutra 1.12 says that the Yogi who realizes his essential Self develops wonderful supernormal powers. He develops Iccha sakti, the divine Will power and, through this, he can bring about many marvelous changes. Physics and nature bends to one's Will and Iccha sakti consciousness. Sutras 14-15 maintain that to such a yogi, every observable phenomenon, whether external or internal appears as a form of his own consciousness.

Sutra 1.19: “When with one-pointedness the yogi is fully united with Iccha-Sakti (Will Power), then he can acquire the power of creating any kind of body according to his desire.” The yogi's desired object has been fulfilled by the Divine Power to which he prayed and with which he was united. Sadhana is the means of accomplishing, mastering, and Iccha Sakti.

Sutra 1.20: Through the pre-eminence of the union with this Iccha-sakti other supernormal powers as desired by him accrue to the Yogi. The other supernormal powers of the yogi are: (1) the power of joining or putting together elements or parts in all existents (synthetic power); (2) the power of separating elements of existents (analytical power); and (3) the power of bringing together everything (removed by space and time).

Sutra 1.21: through the appearance of Suddhavidya; full acquisition of mastery over the collective whole of the Saktis. When the yogi unites his consciousness with Sakti through intensive awareness with a desire to gain universal consciousness, then through the appearance of Suddhavidya, he succeeds in acquiring the supreme power of Siva in the form of complete mastery over His universal collective whole of saktis. The sakti chakras indicate the processes of the objectification of the universal consciousness.

Sutra 2.1: Cittam mantrah: That by which the Highest Reality is cognized, a formula of words addressed to a deity. Mantra is the mental awareness by which one feels one's identity with the Highest Reality enshrined in a mantra and thus saves oneself from a sense of separateness and difference. By intensive awareness of one's identity with the Highest Reality enshrined in a mantra and thus becoming identical with that Reality the mind itself becomes mantra. Citta is that which ponders over the Highest Reality. (The mind of the devotee intent on intensive awareness of the deity inherent in the mantra acquires identity with that deity and thus becomes that mantra itself.) “O fair one, without Sakti, mantras are useless like autumnal clouds." That which saves one by pondering over the light of Supreme I-consciousness is mantra. The divine Supreme I-consciousness is the dynamo of all the mantras.

A yogi should be seated in a Padmasana posture erect like a stick and should then fix his mind, the chief of the senses, on the navel and should lead the mind upto khatraya or the three saktis situated in the space in the head. Holding the mind in that state, he should move it forward immediately with the above. Disposed in this psycho-physical posture the great Yogi acquires the supernormal power of moving (flying) in the sky.

Sutra 3.5 Comment: Bhuta-jaya or control over the elements is brought about by dharana. "Concentration on air at the place of the toe of the left foot, on fire in the middle of the navel, on earth in the throat, on water in the uvula, on akasa (ether) on the top of the head brings about all supernormal powers.”

When the supreme Siva who is of the nature of changeless light moves forth by His Will, such Sakti, inseparable from Him, is called Unmana. Literally the word means 'above the mind.' It is a supramental power. The Yogi develops the ability to enter another body.

If one maintains the idea of sameness and if one experiences in everything the same secondless Siva as I, that is known as Samadhi. All kriya-yoga, disciplinary practices which the anu or the individual can adopt and by means of these disciplinary practices certain supernormal powers are obtained.

Sutra 3.5: Bhuta-jaya or control over the elements is brought about by dharana. "Concentration on air at the place of the toe of the left foot, on fire in the middle of the navel, on earth in the throat, on water in the uvula, on akasa (ether) on the top of the head brings about all supernormal powers" (VII 299-300).

The sixth sutra warns that the individual should not aim at the attainment of such limited, inferior powers. His aim should be genuine Self-realization which is, Siva realization. It is only by concentrating on the Highest that one acquires Supernormal powers like omniscience and omnipotence

Sutra 3.8. Awake, a divinized man, in pure vidya (unmana), in whom the world appears as his effulgence of light. (3.9) Such a one is always immersed in the consciousness of his essential nature—a Self actor on the world stage. The yogi does not retire to a forest or a cave, but accepts his role in the cosmic drama and carries on the duties of life.

Sutra 3.12 And of such a yogi: Through the higher spiritual intelligence, there is the realization of the Light of the Self. (3.15) The Yogi should not become indifferent but rather He should give full attention to the active Light of consciousness, the source of the world.

That on which he (the yogi) sits with a sense of full identification (with the Divine) is asana or (mental) seat. (Mindful of parasakti.) The 'seat' in this context is the power of the highest Sakti.

It is said in Svacchanda-tantra. "As in a well-kindled fire, the flame is seen in the sky: so like that the Self (atma) though existing in the body and prana is merged in the state of Siva." (IV, 398).

Sutra 3.26 Even when he is like Siva, in accordance with the principle laid down in the scriptures, 'since there is this body, it should be ended only with full use of the objects of experience determined for the particular life'. The purpose of the continuance of the body is to carry on with the objects of experience falling to one's share. Therefore, its continuance should not be neglected. Remaining in the body is his observance of a pious act.

Sutra 3.27 Of this sort of Yogi, his conversation constitutes muttering prayer or sacred formula. "I am the highest atma; I am Siva, the highest cause.”

Sutra 3.45: The final achievement of the yogi: there is over and over again the awareness of the Divine both inwardly and outwardly.... May there be welfare for all!


The ancient Svetasvatara Upanishad (from the Yajurveda) is another primary text of Shavisim. It begins with a peace invocation: “Om. All those that are invisible are filled by Brahman, all those that are visible are also fully permeated by Brahman. The whole universe has come out of the whole Brahman. Brahman is still full, although the whole universe has come out of it.”

He who protects and controls the worlds by His own powers, He—Rudra (Shiva)—is indeed the only. There is no one besides Him who can make Him the second. O men, He is present inside the hearts of all beings. After projecting and maintaining all the worlds, He finally withdraws them into Himself.

Assuming a form of the size of a thumb, by virtue of intellect, emotion, imagination and will, the Infinite Being dwells in the hearts of creatures as their inner self. Those who realize this become immortal.

Thou art the thunder-cloud, the seasons and the oceans. Thou art without beginning, and beyond all time and space. Thou art He from whom all the worlds are born.

It should be known that energy assumes various forms such as earth, water, light, air, and ether at the command of Him who is the master of Gunas and the maker of time, who is omniscient, who is Pure Consciousness itself, and by whom all this is ever enveloped.

This highest mysticism expounded in the Vedanta in a former age, should not be taught to one whose passions have not been subdued, nor to one who is not a worthy son, nor to an unworthy disciple. These truths, when taught, shine forth only in that high-souled one who has supreme devotion to God, and an equal degree of devotion to the spiritual teacher. They shine forth in that high-souled one only. Om Peace, Peace, Peace!


Shiva Samhita

"The Collection of Verses of Shiva' is addressed to his consort Parvati, about tantra-yoga:


Chapter 1: Existence.

There is one eternal true knowledge (jnana), without beginning or end. No other real entity exists. The diversity which is found in this world appears through the imposition of the senses on knowledge and for no other reason. ...Having cast aside opinions born of the ignorance of the sophists, Lord Shiva shall now pronounce a Yoga teaching that bestows liberation on the selves of all beings, so that beings may have knowledge of their selves.


Some praise truth and others asceticism and purity. Some praise patience and others equanimity and honesty. Some praise charity and other ancestor worship. Some praise action and some absolute indifference. Some praise rites and others sacrifice. Some praise Mantra and pilgrimage. Many means to liberation are taught... This Yoga Shastra, now being declared by us, is a very secret doctrine, only to be revealed to a high-souled pious devotee throughout the three worlds.


Chapter 2: Microcosm

I. In this body, the Mt. Meru vertebral column is surrounded by seven islands and rivers, seas, mountains, fields... There are in it sages and seers, and all the stars and planets as well. There are sacred pilgrimages, shrines, and deities of the shrines. The sun and moon, agents of creation and destruction, also move in it. Ether, air, water, and earth are also there.

II. All the beings that exist in the three worlds are also to be found in the body; surrounding the Meru they are engaged in their respective functions. (But ordinary men do not know it). He who knows all this is a Yogi … 11. Together with the atmosphere, the sun moves through the whole body. The right-side vessel, which is pingala is another form of the sun, and is the giver of nirvana.

III. The Nerves. In the body of man there are 3,500,000 nadis; of them the principal are fourteen; Sushumna, Ida, Pingala... This has been called in the Shastras the Heavenly Way; this is the giver of the joy of immortality; by contemplating it, the great Yogi destroys all sins...

IV. Pelvic Region. Two digits above the rectum and two digits below the linga (penis) is the adhara lotus, having a dimension of four digits. In the pericarp of the adhara lotus there is the triangular, beautiful yoni, hidden and kept secret in all the Tantras. In it is the supreme goddess Kundalini of the form of electricity, in a coil. It has three coils and a half (like a serpent), and is in the mouth of sushumna. It represents the creative force of the world, and is always engaged in creation...

V. The Abdominal Region. In the abdomen there burns the fire—digester of food—situated in the middle of the sphere of the sun having twelve Kalas. Know this as the fire of Vaiswanara; it is born from a portion of my own energy, and digests the various foods of creatures, being inside their bodies. This fire increases life, and gives strength and nourishment, makes the body full of energy, destroys all diseases, and gives health.

VI. The Jivatma. In the body thus described, there dwelleth the Jiva, all-pervading, adorned with the garland of endless desires and chained to the body by karma. The Jiva possessed of many qualities and the agent of all events, enjoys the fruits of his various karmas amassed in the past life. Whatever is seen among men (whether pleasure or pain) is born of karma. All creatures enjoy or suffer, according to the results of their actions... The illusion of the manifested (objective world) is destroyed when the Maker of the Manifest becomes manifest... As long as knowledge does not arise about the stainless Manifestor of the universe, so long all things appear separate and many.


Chapter 3: On Yoga Practice, The Vayus

I. In the heart, there is a brilliant lotus with twelve petals adorned with brilliant sign. It has the (sanskrit) letters... The Prana lies here... The seed (beej) mantra, yam... He who in this way knows the microcosm of the body...

II. The Guru: Now I will tell you, how easily to attain success in Yoga, by knowing which the Yogis never fail in the practice of Yoga. ...There is not the least doubt that Guru is father. Guru is mother, and Guru is God even...

III. The Adhikari. The person who has control over himself attains verily success through faith; none other can succeed. Therefore, with faith, the Yoga should be practiced with care and perseverance. The first condition of success is the firm belief that it (vidya) must succeed and be fruitful; the second condition is having faith in it; the third is respect towards the Guru; the fourth is the spirit of universal equality; the fifth is the restraint of the organs of sense; the sixth is moderate eating, these are all.

IV. The Place. Let the Yogi go to a beautiful and pleasant place of retirement or a cell, assume the posture padmasana, and sitting on a seat (made of kusa grass) begin to practice the regulation of breath... Salute the Gurus on the left and the guardians of the worlds on the right.

V. The Pranayama. Then let the wise practitioner close with his right thumb the pingala (right nostril), inspire air through the ida (the left nostril); and keep the air confined—suspend his breathing—as long as he can; and afterwards let him breathe out slowly, and not forcibly, through the right nostril....

VI. The things to be renounced.

VII. The means by which success in Yoga is quickly obtained...


Chapter 4: 4.1.54 The Yogi acquires the following powers: vakya siddhi (prophecy), transporting himself everywhere at will (kamachari), clairvoyance (duradristhi), clairaudience (durashruti), subtle-sight (shushma-drishti), and the power of entering another's body (parakaypravesana), turning base metals to gold by rubbing them with his excrements and urine, and the power of becoming invisible, and lastly, moving in the air.

II. The Ghata Avasta. When, by the practice of pranayama, the Yogi reaches the state of ghata (water-jar), then for him there is nothing in this circle of universe which he cannot accomplish. The ghata is said to be that state in which the prana and the apana vayus, the nada and the vindu, the jivatma (the Human Spirit) and the Paramatma (the Universal Spirit) combine and co-operate. When he gets the power of holding breath (to be in trance) for three hours, then certainly the wonderful state of pratyahar is reached without fail. Whatever object the Yogi perceives, let him consider it to be the spirit. When the modes of action of various senses are known, then they can be conquered. When, through, great practice, the Yogi can perform one kumbhaka for full three hours, when for eight dandas (3 hours) the breathing of the Yogi is suspended, then that wise one can balance himself on his thumb; but he appears to others as insane.

…Contemplating on the goddess Kundalini, he drinks (the moon fluid of immortality), he becomes a sage or poet within six months… If he continues this exercise for a year, he becomes a Bhairava; he obtains the powers of anima, and conquers all elements and the elementals. There are eighty-four postures, of various modes. Out of them, four ought to be adopted, which I mention below:


1. Siddhasana. The Siddhasana that gives success to the practitioner is as follows: Pressing with care by the heel the yoni, the other heel the Yogi should place on the lingam; he should fix his gaze upwards on the space between the two eyebrows, should be steady, and restrain his senses. His body particularly must be straight and without any bend. The place should be a retired one, without any noise. He who wishes to attain quick consummation of Yoga, by exercise, should adopt the Siddhasana posture, and practice regulation of the breath. Through his posture the Yogi, leaving the world, attains the highest end and throughout the world there is no posture more secret than this. By assuming and contemplating in this posture, the Yogi is freed from sin.

2. The Padmasana. I now describe the Padmasana which wards off (or cures) all diseases:— Having crossed the legs, carefully place the feet on the opposite thighs (i.e., the left foot on the right thigh, and vice versa); cross both the hands and place them similarly on the thighs; fix the sight on the tip of the nose; pressing the tongue against the root of the teeth, (the chin should be elevated, the chest expanded) then draw the air slowly, fill the chest with all your might, and expel it slowly, in an unobstructed stream. It cannot be practiced by everybody; only the wise attains success in it. By performing and practicing this posture, undoubtedly the vital airs of the practitioner at once become completely equable, and flow harmoniously through the body. Sitting in the Padmasana posture, and knowing the action of the prana and apana, when the Yogi performs the regulation of the breath, he is emancipated. I tell you the truth. Verily, I tell you the truth.

3. The Ugrasana. Stretch out both the legs and keep them apart; firmly take hold of the head by the hands, and place them on the knees. This is called ugrasana (the stern-posture), it excites the motion of the air, destroys the dullness and uneasiness of the body, and is also called paschima-uttana (the posterior crossed posture.) That wise man who daily practices this noble posture can certainly induce the flow of the air up through the anus. Those who practice this obtain all the siddhis; therefore, those, desirous of attaining power, should practice this diligently. This should be kept secret with the greatest care, and not be given to anybody and everybody. Through it, vayu-siddhi is easily obtained, and it destroys a multitude of miseries.

4. The Svastikasana. Place the soles of the feet completely under the thighs, keep the body straight, and sit at ease. This is called the Svastikasana. In this way, the wise Yogi should practice the regulation of the air. No disease can attack his body, and he obtains vayu-siddhi. This is also called the sukhasana, the easy posture. This health-giving, good svastikasana should be kept secret by the Yogi.

Yoni Mudra... Through practice one gets the power of vach (prophecy), and the power of going everywhere, through mere exertion of will. This Yoni-mudra should be kept in great secrecy, and not be given to everybody. Even when threatened with death, it should not be revealed or given to others.

The Awakening of Kundalini: Now I shall tell you the best means of attaining success in Yoga. The practitioners should keep it secret. It is the most inaccessible Yoga...


Chapter 5: ...Siva. Hear, O Goddess! I shall tell thee, all the obstacles that stand in the path of Yoga. For the attainment of emancipation, enjoyments (bhoga) are the greatest of all impediments.

5.9. Four Kinds of Yoga. The Yoga is of four kinds: First mantrayoga, second hathayoga, third layayoga, fourth rajayoga.

Invocation of the shadow (pratikopasana). The invocation of Pratika (shadow) gives to the devotee the objects seen as well as unseen; undoubtedly, by its very sight, a man becomes pure. In a clear sun-lit sky, behold with a steady gaze your own divine reflection... By practicing it always, he begins at last to see it in his heart, and the persevering Yogi gets liberation.

The Six Chakras: 1. Muladhar chakra. 56. Two fingers above the rectum and two fingers below the linga, four fingers in width, is a space like a bulbous root. 57. Between this space is the yoni having its face towards the back; that space is called the root; there dwells the goddess Kundalini... 59. Full of energy, and like burning gold, know this Kundalini to be the power (shakti) of Vishnu; it is the mother of the three qualities - sattwa (rhythm), rajas (energy) and tamas (inertia)....

62. It (yija) is endowed with powers of action (motion) and sensation, and circulates throughout the body. It is subtle, and has a flame of fire; sometimes it rises up, and at other times it falls down into the water.... 71. He who leaving the Siva who is inside, worships that which is outside (viz., worships external forms), is like one who throws away the sweetmeat in his hand, and wanders away in search of food. Let one thus meditate daily, without negligence, on his own Swayambhu-linga; and have no doubts that from this will come all powers.

2. Prostatic Plexis, the second chakra... one obtains the highest psychic powers like anima (connection with collective conscious)...

3. The third chakra, Manipur, is situated near the navel...

4. Anahat Chakra. In the heart, is the fourth chakra.. He gets immeasurable knowledge, knows the past, present and future time; has clairaudience, clairvoyance and can walk in the air, whenever he likes... 87. He sees the adepts, and the goddess known as Yoginis; obtains the power known as Khechari, and conquers all who move in the air. 88. He who contemplates daily the hidden Banalinga, undoubtedly obtains the psychic powers called Khechari (moving in the air) and Bhuchari (going at will all over the world). 89. I cannot fully describe the importance of the meditation of this lotus; even the Gods Brahma, etc., keep the method of its contemplation secret.

...The Mystic Mount Kailas. 151. Above this (i.e., the lunar sphere) is the brilliant thousand-petalled lotus. It is outside this microcosm of the body, it is the giver of salvation. 152. Its name is verily the Kailas mount, where dwells the great Lord (Shiva)... 155. When the mind of the Yogi is absorbed in the Great God called the Kula, then the fullness of the samadhi is attained, then the Yogi gets steadfastness. 156. By constant meditation one forgets the world, then in sooth the Yogi obtains wonderful power. 157. Let the Yogi continually drink the nectar which flows out of it; by this he gives law to death, and conquers the kula. Here the kula kundalini force is absorbed, after this the quadruple creation is absorbed in the Paramatman.

bottom of page