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 and here for part 5.
Centreing (Part VI: 71-84)
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!
71. When desire comes, consider it. Then, suddenly, quit it.
72. Before desire and before knowing, how can I say I am? Consider. Dissolve in the beauty.
73. With your entire consciousness in the very start of desire, of knowing, know.
74. O Shakti, each particular perception is limited, disappearing in omnipotence.
75. In truth forms are inseparate. Inseparate are omnipresent being and your own form. Realize each as made of this consciousness.
76. In moods of extreme desire, be undisturbed.
77. This universe appears as a juggling, a picture show. To be happy look upon it so.
78. O Beloved, put attention neither on pleasure or pain but between these.
79. Toss attachment for body aside, realizing I am everywhere. One who is everywhere is joyous.
80. Objects and desires exist in me as in others. So accepting, let them be translated.
81. The appreciation of objects and subjects is the same for an enlightened as for an unenlightened person. The former has one greatness: he remains in the subjective mood, not lost in things.
82. Feel the consciousness of each person as your own consciousness. So, leaving aside concern for self, become each being.
83. Thinking no thing, will limited-self unlimit.
84. Believe omniscient, omnipotent, pervading.