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, here for Part 3, here for Part 4, here for part 5 and here for Part 6.
Centreing (Part VII: 85-98)
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!
85. As waves come with water and flames with fire, so the universal waves with us.
86. Roam until exhausted and then, dropping to the ground, in this dropping be whole.
87. Suppose you are gradually being deprived of strength or of knowledge. At the instant of deprivation, transcend.
88. Listen while the ultimate mystical teaching is imparted: Eyes still, without winking, at once become absolutely free.
89. Stopping ears by pressing and rectum by contracting, enter the sound of sound.
90. At the edge of a deep well look steadily into its depths until — the wondrousness.
91. Wherever your mind is wandering, internally or externally, at this very place, this.
92. When vividly aware through some particular sense, keep in the awareness.
93. At the start of sneezing, during fright, in anxiety, above a chasm, flying in battle, in extreme curiosity, at the beginning of hunger, at the end of hunger, be uninterruptedly aware.
94. Let attention be at a place where you are seeing some past happening, and even your form, having lost its present characteristics, is transformed.
95. Look upon some object, then slowly withdraw your sight from it, then slowly withdraw your thought from it. Then.
96. Devotion frees.
97. Feel an object before you. Feel the absence of all other objects but this one. Then, leaving aside the object-feeling and the absence-feeling, realize.
98. The purity of other teachings is as impurity to us. In reality know nothing as pure or impure.