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 over the coming weeks. Click here to read Part 1 and here for Part 2.
Centreing (Part III: 29-42)
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!
29. Meditate on the make-believe world as burning to ashes, and become being above human.
30. Feel the fine qualities of creativity permeating your breasts and assuming delicate configurations.
31. With intangible breath in centre of forehead, as this reaches heart at the moment of sleep, have over dreams and over death itself.
32. As, subjectively, letters flow into words and words into sentences, and as, objectively, circles flow into worlds and worlds into principles, find at last these converging in our being.
33. Gracious one, play. The universe is an empty shell wherein your mind frolics infinitely.
34. Look upon a bowl without seeing the sides or the material. In a few moments become aware.
35. Abide in some place endlessly spacious, clear of trees, hills, habitations. Thence comes the end of mind pressures.
36. Sweet-hearted one, meditate on knowing and not knowing, existing and not existing. Then leave both aside that you may be.
37. Look lovingly on some object. Do not go on to another object. Here, in the middle of this object — the blessing.
38. Feel cosmos as translucent ever-living presence.
39. With utmost devotion, centre on the two junctions of breath and know the knower.
40. Consider the plenum to be your own body of bliss.
41. While being caressed, sweet princess, enter the caressing as everlasting life.
42. Stop the doors of senses when feeling the creeping of an ant. Then.