When I say yoga, I’m not referring to any one particular practice or system, all longing to know the unbounded, all longing to know the oneness in the existence is yoga. Either you can simply go at it with the strength of your emotion, or you can approach it systematically so that you find fruit as quickly as possible. Or in other words, if everything is one energy the difference between the rock and what you call as human, is just a question of subtleness of energy. Though it is the same, it is in different levels of subtleness. When it’s very gross we call it a rock, when it’s in it’s utmost subtleness, we call it the Divine.
So to know and experience this divinity means evolving our energies to higher possibilities, evolving our energies to subtler dimensions within ourselves. During Mahashivarathri, in the northern hemisphere of this planet, a very special process happens naturally where one can see that there is a natural upsurge of energies in every human body. To make use of this natural upsurge of energy, one has to remain vertical in spine. As your biologists have always pointed out, one of the biggest step in the evolutionary process for the animal is to move from horizontal to vertical spine. It’s only after that your intelligence flowered. So, on this night if one is willing to keep their spine erect during the night, we will do everything possible to keep you awake. By making use of this natural upsurge of energies, with the right kind of mantras, meditation and the whole situation, one could step closer to the divine.
People who are of very logical in their minds naturally will wonder what is going to happen by just uttering a mantra. There is a wonderful story in the yogic lore. One day a kriya yogi who has great accomplishments behind him went to Shiva and asked Shiva “What is all this, your bhaktas are making all noise in the world, all the time they are shouting ‘Shiva Shambho’, what is this going to do? What is the use of going on yelling these mantras like this?”
Shiva said, “Let’s experiment, here there is a worm crawling, go close to him and say ‘Shiva Shambho’, let’s see what happens.” The yogi went to the worm and uttered “Shiva Shambho”, the worm fell dead. The yogi was aghast, “I just uttered this mantra, your name, and the worm is dead! What is this?” Shiva completely oblivious of the worm, pointed at the butterfly and said “See how wonderful this butterfly is”. The yogi also got involved with the butterfly; Shiva said, “attempt the mantra with the butterfly”. The yogi looked in the direction of the butterfly and uttered “Shiva Shambho”, the butterfly fell dead. The yogi was totally in turmoil and said, “What is this? If I just utter your name, one after another is falling dead. I don’t want to say it anymore.” Shiva completely ignored this and looked at a wonderful deer that was romping around. He said, “Look at the deer, it so wonderful. Why don’t you utter the mantra to the deer and see?” The yogi uttered “Shiva Shambho” and the deer fell dead. He said, “No! No more can I say this!”
Then somebody brought their newborn child to Shiva for his blessings, and then Shiva said, “Why don’t you utter the mantra to this child?” The yogi said, “No, I cannot do this. Already the worm, the butterfly and the deer I have behind me, I don’t want to see this.” Shiva said “It doesn’t matter, say it.” So the yogi with great hesitation went to the child and uttered “Shiva Shambho”. This newborn child just sat up and said, “Oh yogi, don’t you know the power of the mantra? Don’t you know the power of the name of lord Shiva?” The yogi said “No, can you tell me?” He said, “Yes. I was a worm and you uttered the mantra I became a butterfly, you uttered the mantra I became a deer, you uttered the mantra I became human. If you utter the mantra once more, I will become divine.”
- Excerpt from Sadhguru’s Discourse, Mahashivarathri 2010