This conversation between Shiva and his partner Devi is a teaching about self-knowledge that could be up to 5,000 years old. It features in a number of ancient Indian texts and has been rewritten countless times up until today. This version, taken from the collection, Zen Flesh, Zen Bones, is a more recent English translation transcribed by Paul Reps, prefaced with the beautiful assertion that it was originally chanted “in a language of love we have yet to learn.” It is basically Shiva’s answer to his lover’s question about reality and how to enter it fully; while Devi herself was enlightened, her questions were posed for the benefit of others. The text itself is long – covering 112 points in total – and will be divided into eight parts here on The Dewdrop. Click here to read Part 1, here for Part 2 and here for Part 3.
Centreing (Part IV: 43-56)
O Shiva, what is your reality?
What is this wonder-filled universe?
What constitutes seed?
Who the universal wheel?
What is this life beyond form pervading forms?
How may we enter it fully, above space and time, names and descriptions?
Let my doubts be cleared!
43. At the start of sexual union, keep attentive on the fire in the beginning, and, so continuing, avoid the embers in the end.
44. When in such embrace your are shaken as leaves, enter this shaking.
45. Even remembering union, without the embrace, the transformation.
46. On joyously seeing a long-absent friend, permeate this joy.
47. When eating or drinking, the taste of the food or drink, and be filled.
48. O lotus-eyed one, sweet of touch, when singing, seeing, tasting, be aware you are and discover the ever-living.
49. Wherever satisfaction is found, in whatever act, actualize this.
50. At the point of sleep when sleep has not yet come and external wakefulness vanishes, at this point being is revealed.
51. In summer when you see the entire sky endlessly clear, enter such clarity.
52. Lie down as dead. Enraged in wrath, stay so. Or stare without moving an eyelash. Or suck something and become the sucking.
53. Without support for feet or hands, sit only on buttocks Suddenly, the centreing.
54. In an easy position, gradually pervade an area the into great peace.
55. See as if for the first time a beauteous person or an ordinary object.
56. With mouth slightly open, keep mind in the middle of tongue. Or, as breath comes silently in, feel the sound HH.