The Merging of Shiva and Shakti
Inside each one of us is a dual nature of male and female qualities, right side and left side, right brain and left brain, yin and yang, and the forces of actinic and odic.
On the physical plane, life is constantly lived inside this duality of complimentary, opposite forces.
Many westerners are familiar with the Native American term, “Walk in balance”, used to portray the relationship between human and nature. When one is in harmony with the forces of nature, they are treading a path that is conscious of a “give and take” relationship with existence.
This dual relationship of masculine and feminine forces exemplifies the state of balance within one’s character concerning emotions and intellect. You can witness this relationship through the eyes. Take a “selfie” photo of you, close up, and notice if your eyes are the same and in alignment. One eye may be higher than the other or slightly closed more than the other. Usually, they are not the same nor in balance.
The left eye represents the emotional part of our being, which could also be considered the feminine side. The right eye represents our spiritual relationship and can be considered the male side of our being. The degree of balance inside one’s system is revealed in the positions of the eyes, indicating one’s relationship between body, emotions and spirit. If one is suppressing emotional pain, this can be seen in the eyes and if there is a disconnect spiritually, compromising integrity, authenticity, or a disconnect with our higher self, it is seen here as well. Each of these conditions are the root of all disease in the body, which can be seen through the degree of imbalance between the two eyes.
In the same way, the left nostril is considered the “feminine” side and the right nostril considered the “male’ side. The left nostril indicates the emotional state: emotional pain, feeling fear, depressed or feeling content, and peaceful. The right side indicates the condition of the ego – bombastic, pushy, competitive, arrogant or calm, balanced and gentle.
In the ancient science of Yoga, we learn how to merge spirit with matter, harmonize these dual forces through a set of disciplines and lifestyle practices. More specifically, Yoga teaches how to extinguish emotionalities, while fostering physical body purification, etheric body toning and the evolution of spiritual consciousness. This process can take many lifetimes as humans reincarnate lifetime after lifetime, maturing naturally and it can happen suddenly, too. Using occult, mystical, spiritual truths, human existence moves towards merging with the Divine, reaching liberation from the cycles of births and deaths.
Each lifetime builds a storehouse of karma created from the drama of “cause and effect, action and reaction”. It is also the result of ego and ignorance living in shades of duality and illusion. When one becomes free from this cycle of delusion, which has kept one as a prisoner for many lifetimes, a realization of the Self occurs, nirvikalpa samadhi, a state of oneness beyond the “ups and downs” of life experienced in the Maya.
Through applying the techniques of Yoga science while under the guidance of a guru, by applying worship, detachment, and purification, karma is cleansed, as one attains perfect liberation to exist in beauty, harmony, grace, perfection and power with God and all higher, mature, evolved beings.
Shiva and Shakti, the dance of the male and female energies brought into a state of union, maturing and realizing divinity.
For eons, humans have interpreted this divine union to represent the relationship of two lovers. And in one sense, in a healthy sense it does represent male and female energies. Because most of humanity lives, thinks and operates from the three lower chakras: Root, Sacral and Solar Plexus, the human impetus is to perceive Shiva and Shakti as a romance representing the lower, animalistic nature and desire for sexuality and attachment.
This desire for merging is a yearning for the taste of the highest potential gained in the union of spirit with matter, which Shiva and Shakti ultimately represent.
A natural, evolutionary human process is to perfect the relationship between man and woman, the dual forces of masculine and feminine. Ultimately, Shiva represents the male counterpart on the mundane plane as the provider and protector of his household. The male psychology and physiology is equipped to handle the stress and demands for maintaining material and emotional security for his loved one’s on the plane of Maya. The home is the domain of the female as the mistress under the covering of the male protective force in the same way as Shakti sits comfortably guarded on the lap of Shiva.
This relationship is further played out on the subtle plane through the Ida and Pingala forces. Naturally, these cosmic forces play out through the Ida and Pingala of each of the partners in accordance to the state of their relationship in the home as a couple.
If the forces of Ida and Pingala are not in balance inside the couple, there are arguments, rude, harsh words, back-biting, cheating, lying and manipulation. It gets very unpleasant when there is no balance in the relationship. It creates a vexatious, troublesome environment to live and breathe in. It feels miserable.
The male counterpart has the ability to harmonize the energies of Ida and Pingala, stabilizing the home environment, creating a peaceful place for the female to operate and fulfill what comes natural. This does not mean that the male becomes dominant, arrogant, controlling and commanding. This state of harmony can only come through flowing love for his female partner and the enjoyment of his responsibility. If the woman is having difficulty fulfilling her role, usually, it is because the man is not upholding his own duty, nor allowing the space and time to do what she must do to fulfill her role.
When the forces of Ida and Pingala become out of balance in the home, the male must take time each morning to stabilize the energy first, within himself through meditation and devotion. If he is taking time to do this, then the energy in the home is balanced and love flows in contentment, happiness and trust. This is what Shiva represents at this level of understanding. Shiva is the God of spiritual disciplines that lead to harmony, contentment and loving compassion. Naturally, through this relationship, the male can uplift the energy of his entire abode.
If the male and female are flowing in balance as “actiniodic” force, then there is harmony in the home. If they are out of balance and there is excessive odic forces which are aggressive, intellectual energy, then the atmosphere of the home becomes congested with inharmonious conditions. This can be observed within one’s own being through the right nostril when it becomes blocked; there is arguing and issues are unresolved. If the reverse is happening with the passive physical current, the couple is too attached to each other, which creates jealousy, fear, resentment, frustrations, fighting with name-calling, hurting each other in various ways. These same emotional qualities can be observed within one’s own being through the left nostril.
Through the right nostril, the Pingala force, the male uses creative, intellectual energies from the inner plane, inventing and discovering. This is all happening according to his state of consciousness with intermittent cycles of inspiration to creative emptiness and back to inspiration.
The female uses the Ida currents, the left nostril with the emotional cycles of highs and lows while nurturing and adding beauty to the home environment.
Through the man’s ability to stabilize his own forces, naturally, the forces of the female balance and stabilize. Becoming conscious of these currents and how they flow differently according to gender, respecting differences, there can be a beautiful exchange happening between partners and harmony in the environment similar to that of a temple-like space.
There is no way that the two genders can think like the other and it is mistaken to expect it. When the two currents are properly flowing in their respective ways, then a spiritual atmosphere can easily be fostered in the environment. When the man meditates, he naturally brings an inner security emotionally and physically for the female partner and ensures that his intuition is directing the intellect in directions that are best for the home and relationship.
Man finds understanding through observation and woman finds harmony through devotion. This graceful exchange naturally uplifts the environment.
The Celibate Seeker
For the individual who is not in relationship, it easier to observe one’s own Ida and Pingala forces, managing the process of maturation of consciousness and personal development. When the forces are flowing through the Ida current, the left side of the spine, corresponding to the left sympathetic nerve system, it becomes fragmented into smaller currents that flow through the internal organs of the body.
One becomes overly-emotional, feminine in nature, talks excessively, often has hurt feelings, cries easily and tends to want to help others even though they may not fulfill what they promise. In this space of overly stimulated Ida, heat rises in the body and is felt in the Solar Plexus, tummy region, impacting the pancreas, spleen, intestines and liver. It is very quick to anger and self-justification or self-defense.
In the same way, when the currents of energy are strong in the Pingala, right side of body, one becomes overly intellectual, talks very little, loves to debate with others and has nerves of steel. Emotions and feelings are held back, and one is prone to lower desires such as perverted sexuality and is closed to genuine, pleasant engaging. In this case, it is impossible for energy to move upward past the Sacral chakra.
The best way to balance these excessive energies in the Ida and Pingala is to get the hands into the dirt through gardening and walking barefoot on the grass so that one can ground the energies and move in a balanced manner. Picking flowers to make bouquets, cleaning the inside and outside of the home also assist with grounding the energies and rerouting the current of force in a more balanced way. Pranayama coupled with 108 mantras certainly leads to harmonized dual forces inside one’s being.
Union of Shiva and Shakti in the Individual
Through the ancient Hindu religion, this symbolic Divine representation depicts the embracing of male-female qualities, absolute and relative, pleasure and pain, cause and effect, body and mind. Through the balance of opposites, energy is able to rise to its peak within the human form and merge, ultimately, with the highest Divine source, Shiva, known as nirvikalpa samadhi.
Through achieving this state of union within, one gains permanent liberation from the cycles of birth and death and then, the state of bliss, known as savikalpa samadhi, the realization of satchiddananda; where intuitive awareness is gained as Truth and knowledge.
Merging with Shiva is accomplished through the application of disciplines so that the forces of Shakti may rise. This happens when the rising of kundalini energy flows up through the sushumna channel, sitting between the two currents: Ida and Pingala. When the currents of the human body, etheric and physical are clear, harmonized and flowing through the central channel, kundalini energy rises to the crown chakra, Sahasrara, where Shiva sits waiting to be embraced by this divine energy.
In all deity representations of Shiva and Shakti, Shakti sits on the left-hand side of Shiva’s lap with Shiva’s left arm holding Shakti gently in his embrace. Shiva represents the discipline of masculine energies brought into balance through tender behavior and gentle attitude, embracing the feminine energy current inside of one’s own system. This relationship can also be seen as the ego coming into balance with the emotions, using wise intellect to apply willpower for greater harmony inside one’s being.
Through applying Yamas and Niyamas, abstentions, purification and spiritual study, one begins disciplining the nature that has been in conflict with these feminine and masculine forces. Next step is to combine the practice of asana’s, (hatha yoga postures) and pranayama (breathing exercises) in a daily morning routine as a lifestyle habit. These four steps of the Yoga science is where one remains for a period of time perfecting the practice while rejuvenating internal organs, re-writing the brain and how it perceives and toning the physical body. In so doing, the body becomes supple, harmonized with internal organs for better blood production and circulation. This daily lifestyle practice and routine feeds the brain, strengthens internal organs and vitalizes the body, creating the right conditions for harmonizing Shiva and Shakti forces.
Once the body has been purified and daily morning routine established, then one begins working on control of the senses. Through learning to control the senses, one takes power away from the emotional body and the unstable, compulsive drive for desires, which ultimately create the imbalance of these dual forces. When this has been mastered, then, comes quieting the mind paving the way towards an effective meditation practice.
When we observe the ancient practice of worshipping the Shiva Lingam, which sits in the Yoni Peetham (Adharashakti) as practiced in the ancient Tamil puja worship, in the southern Indian tradition, we witness and conjure the merging of energies, harmonizing of forces for attaining the highest power available in the human potential.
Through these mature, ancient rituals of worship, initiation of energies are stimulated inside the body for clearing karma, healing disease, quieting the mind, releasing astral attachments, internal organs repaired and rejuvenated, intuition heightened and more. As harmony between these two forces: actinic and odic strengthen, Shakti force travels up the spine, through the chakras to the crown chakra where Shiva resides. Once the kundalini, Shakti force has risen, Divine Union is in effect and bliss is the state and space of life experience.
This union of forces inside the system only happens when one is completely focused on applying all eight rungs of the ladder of Yoga: purification, spiritual edification, posture exercises, breathing exercises, sense withdrawal, concentration, meditation and a perfected state of balance of masculine and feminine energies in a mature state. Hence, the meaning of Yoga: Union and the ultimate, divine purpose of Shiva and Shakti, Lingam and Yoni Peetham.
May your conscious, intuitive intellect override your emotional tendencies and lead you towards your highest potential.