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What Are Siva's Traditional Forms

Path to Siva Commentary, Lesson 14

"Every form is a form of Siva." The Sivalinga symbolizes Siva's formless state. Yantras for Siva temples involve the Panchakshara Mantra. Kadavul represents Si, Siva in a firey aspect; Iraivan represents Ya, akasha. Reflect on that and see the difference. The five faces of Panchabrahma: Tatpurusha, Aghora, Sadjojata, Vamadeva, Ishana. The Trishula represents three shaktis: iccha, kriya and jnani shaktis. Love, action, wisdom. Iccha is also translated as desire. We cycle through desires, gaining wisdom, moving to higher and higher desires. The highest form of desire is selfless service-karma yoga or seva. Let's do more of it.

Path to Siva, Lesson 14.

The Five Powers of Siva

Unedited Transcript:

Guru Brahma, Guru Vishnu, Guru Devo Mahesvara, Guru Sakshat, Parabrahma, Tasmai Sri Gurave Namaha.

Good morning everyone.

Reading this morning from Path to Siva, Lesson 14.

"What Are Siva's Traditional Forms?

"Every form is a form of Siva. Tradition has given us several of special sacredness. Nearly every Siva temple in the world has a Sivalinga, symbolizing His formless state. It is usually a simple oval stone set in a round base. Lingams can also be made of metal or quartz crystal. We revere God as Parasiva when we worship the Sivalinga. Its simple shape speaks of God's Absolute Being, which cannot be described. We revere Siva as the love that flows through everything when we worship any form of His Shakti, or feminine energy. Ardhanarishvara, Siva as half man and half woman, is the perfect image for this, reminding us that Siva and Shakti are a one being and can never be separated. We adore God as the Primal Soul, creator of all souls and worlds, when we worship Nataraja, the Divine Dancer who animates the universe. This image of Siva dancing in a ring of fire is popular throughout the world. Thus we worship Siva's three perfections in three forms. Yet His forms are infinite. He is also Dakshinamurti, the silent guru spoken of in the Upanishads. Other scriptures speak of Hari-Hara, half Siva and half Vishnu. This icon symbolizes the union and nondifference of the two major Gods of Hinduism. The Saiva Agamas give us Panchabrahma, Siva with five faces, representing His five powers. The three-pointed Trishula, or trident, is also worshiped as Siva. Its points represent love, wisdom and action. The Tirumantiram reminds us, 'Everywhere is the Holy Form. Everywhere is Siva-Shakti...Everywhere is the Divine Dance.'"

One of the other aspects that relates to murtis, of course, when they're installed in the temple is the yantra. If anyone doesn't recall the yantra's a geometrical design, it's on a metal plate, and at least the center part is gold. So the yantra determines the nature of the deity, mystically. And, you could just have a shrine with the yantra; you don't need the murti. But the murti helps us pay attention. Harder when there's just the yantra. Yantras for Siva temples involve the Panchakshara Mantra. So the yantra for this temple, Namah Sivaya, that Si is in the center so that Si is the element of fire. So we can say this temple represents Siva in a fiery aspect.

Some people actually feel that when they come here and they don't stay very long. Manages to bring up something in their subconscious mind, that say: "Oops! That's an unpleasantry, I think I'll leave." Course if you stay, you can burn it away. Element of fire.

And Iraivan Temple. Si Va Ya Namah. Ya is the element of akasha, or ether. Chidambaram has the element of akasha as its guiding yantra. So it will be very interesting, we have our sphatika crystal here at the moment. When we take it out, install it under a yantra of akasha, you know, it's going to feel different. Right now, it takes on the quality of the yantra of fire. It'll be very interesting and you reflect on that and see the difference when that comes around.

As it points out here, the Panchabrahma from the Saiva Agamas, the five faces of Siva, is one of the forms of Siva and it's not that common. And it's one of the aspects of Iraivan Temple is we have five niches around the sanctum. And we'll have a bronze for each of the Panchabrahma. So the order, if I remember correctly, if you're going, starting at the front left going around clockwise, think it's Tatpurusha, Sadyoj... no, Tatpurusha, Aghora, Sadjojata, Vamadeva, Ishana. There's five and in vision, I haven't determined for sure, but it's part of the puja when you go around and do a chant to each one. And right now, of course, we do the chant but we do it to one murti. So you don't really think of it as five faces, necessarily. We go through, we go through Ishana, Tatpurusha, Aghora, Vamadeva, Sadjojata which we did in the homa. But when you're, walk to a different place for the chant it'll give it a different quality I think. Think of it: Oh that's Sadjojata, that's the creative force. So we'll see; that'll be very interesting as well.

One of the points made is the Trishula. Says here: Love, action and wisdom. Can also in Sanskrit call it icchha, kriya and jnani shaktis. Three powers of God Siva which are also powers of the soul. Come to the soul, it's more common to translate icchha as desire, rather than love. So desire, action and wisdom, three powers of the soul. The way Gurudeva explains it is, we get stuck in certain patterns. So we're fulfilling certain desires. Whether they're slow minded, medium quality or high minded desires. We're stuck in patterns fulfilling the same desires for quite some time. So that's desire leads to action. We're in that pattern. We have the desire; we act to fulfill the desire. We have the desire again, we have to fulfill the desire, etcetera. But eventually, it's like a child growing up, we outgrow the toy. A ten year old does not want to play with the toys of a five year old. And a fifteen year old the same way. So we outgrow things. We outgrow the toys. We outgrow the cycle of desire and action by wisdom, by icchha. But wisdom doesn't happen every time we go through the cycle of desire and action, that's the point. We're stuck in this cycle. Not really stuck, we're just in this cycle. We're not stuck because we get out of it through wisdom. So we just repeating the cycle; that's a better way of saying it. We're in the cycle of a desire leads to an action and we have the same desire again, leads to an action and then eventually we say: Well that's kind of been there done that. Let's move on to something even more refined. So we have wisdom that sees the limitation of that. And then we move on to another realm of desire and fulfill that.

Highest forms of desire are when we get into selfless service, karma yoga or seva when we're just doing things to help other people or to benefit the temple. We desire to benefit the temple. That's a very high minded desire so therefore we act. And the wisdom of that is, let's do more of it. Makes us feel good. So, you know down size to seva.

Anyway that's the idea as it applies to the soul. Desire leads to action which eventually leads to wisdom and we outgrow that pattern into a more mature pattern.

Have a wonderful day.

Photo of  Gurudeva
The burdened have no sense of urgency, no expression of joy. They have stopped. They are standing on the path holding their troubles in their hands, unwilling and unable to let go.