The term YOGA has a very ancient history dating back to the chalcolithic age. The inscriptions found in Mohenjo Daro and Harappa have revealed the existence of God Shiva, seated in a yogic posture. The term Minakanna obtained in the inscriptions suggested the early ideal of yogic discipline. In those remote days the yogis noted for their asceticism and discipline, were addressed as Minas. Father Heras observes, "that life of asceticism was practised in the pre-Aryan proto-Indian period, is evident from the fact that one of the inscriptions mentions "the learned Minas who dwell in the caves". Cave-dwelling was not ordinary in those days, when beautifully built brick houses were common. The learned Minas dwelling in caves could not but be ascetics".

Shivayoga has been sponsored by these learned Minas. Three things stand out into bold relief about Shivayoga.

1) It is historical for it has a history of more than 5000 years. It goes back as far as the chalcolithic age. It was prevalent in the Indus valley civilization. And from there it spread to Egypt, Sumeru and other Mediterranean countries.

2) It is democratic in the sense that everybody is eligible to practise Shivayoga irrespective of caste, colour, creed, rank, age and position.

3) It is scientific in the sense that it is entirely based upon the laws of light and electricity.

The term Minakanna is pregnant with meaning. In later days, it was translated into Sanskrit as Animishadristi or unwinking gaze. Crystal gazing is as old as the hills and the belief that it generates magnetism is equally old. It was only in 1850 that Baron John Reichenback discovered this magnetism and described it as odylic force. He announced that odylic force could be generated by crystal gazing and by crystal magnets on the human body and human hands. His experiments were conducted in the natural waking condition of a subject. Since then, odylic force has been photographed and there are reasons to believe that magnetic crystals and human bodies, send forth emanations which can be felt and sometimes seen by similar persons. The Ishtalinga, which is an indispensable means of Shivayoga, is a stone with a glazing covering. Since the steadfast gaze on Ishtalinga generates magnetism, Ishtalinga is a crystal magnet.

Ishtalinga is a miniature of Shivayoga. The worship of Shivalinga, in India, dates from a very long period. The worship of Shivalinga, as we have it in the temples, is the characteristic feature of Shaivism. There is another mode of worship known as Ishtalinga form of worship, and Veerashaivism or Lingayatism advocates this mode of worship. Ishtalinga is worshipped by placing it on the palm of the left hand so raised as to bring it in line with the centre of the eyebrows. Ishtalinga is made of light grey slate stone and to be kept intact it is coated all over with a fine durable paste prepared out of certain ingredients. The colour of the paste is blue-black or indigo. The colour of the naso-ciliary plexus or Ajna chakra situated in the centre of the eyebrows is also indigo. This colour represents Mahat or intuition. The colour of the covering of Ishtalinga and that of Ajna chakra being akin in nature, they act and react upon each other thus enriching the magnetic force or intuitive power. Animishadristi came to be identified with Samyama. Samyama or the concentrated gaze is the secret upon which the whole of Patanjali Sutra hinges. When one has succeeded in mastering this Samyama, one will come into the possession of occult powers. But Samyama is to be practised stage after stage, the higher one is to be resorted to only after the lower one has been won. Samyama should pass from gross to the subtle, from the subtle to the causal, from the outer to the inner, from the inner to the innermost. This gradation has been recognised by Shivayoga. In Shivayoga the process is threefold which involves Samyama on Ishtalinga, Pranalinga and Bhavalinga - the outer, the inner and the innermost. The concentrated gaze of the Ishtalinga reveals the inner light which is known as Pranalinga or Jyotirlinga. The gaze on the inner light leads one to the realization of the innermost light or Bhavalinga. When this innermost light is realized by the yogin, the knowledge of subtle things will be intuitively revealed. The Shivagamas and the Vachana literature of the 12th century, which preserve intact this ancient culture of Shivayoga, speak of its glory and greatness in eloquent terms.

The term Yoga has a variety of meanings but the generally accepted meaning of he term is union or harmony. The term Yoga is derived from the root "Yuj", to join or weld together. Just as in welding two pieces of the same metal are made to become one by the process of heating and hammering, so in Yoga the embodied spirit is made to become one with the universal spirit by certain physical and mental exercises. Yoga then signifies a spiritual condition of universal equality and God Union. When the individual spirit comes in contact with the universal spirit, then it realises its ultimate object of repose and all its movements acquire meaning and significance. Be it noted that, this union or contact is to be established in consciousness alone. If the union is effected through the repetition of Om, Soham or any other name of God, it is Mantrayoga; if through the catches, postures and breath control, it is Hathayoga; if through the control and concentration of the mind, it is Rajayoga; if through the discrimination between spirit and matter, between self and not-self, it is Jnanayoga; if through the development of finer emotions, it is Bhaktiyoga; if through the disinterested performance of actions, it is Karmayoga; if the union is effected through the concentration on the light reflected in Ishtalinga, it is SHIVAYOGA. In all these cases, union with the Universal is the one dominant and recurrent note, however different may be the process.

In Shivayoga the concentrated gaze on the light reflected in the Ishtalinga is of vital importance for it generates magnetic force which helps to galvanise into activity the dormant pineal gland.

The whole process of Shivayoga is directed to the awakening of this dormant pineal gland. It is a rudimentary organ in most people but it is evolving though slowly. It is possible to quicken its evolution into a condition in which it can perform its function of apprehending events comprehensively. It is the organ of cosmic thought as the eye is an organ of seeing and ear of hearing. The mathematical time which is only an illusion produced by the successive states of consciousness as one travels through the eternal duration. In Yoga Shastra this pineal gland is spoken of as the third eye, the function of which takes place through the middle of the forehead, which is marked by he Hindus with a tilak or spot therein. Hence in the symbolic representation of Shiva, we see in the middle of his forehead an opening with red flames issuing therefrom. This third eye or the pineal gland is atrophied in man, simply because his tendency has grown downward and his mind has got immersed in sexual pleasures. This eye and kamic organ are said to be like two pans of a balance, one of which has to kick the beam when the other grows heavy. Only when we outgrow Kama, lust or libido and make it as light as possible, that this pineal gland will reopen, that it will flower out into brilliance.

"We are wonderfully made", says the writer of the Psalms. But how wonderfully we are made, we hardly care to know. Few of us have any idea of the amazing variety and intricacy of the processes that take place in our bodies. We fail to understand the mysteries of our own bodies, which are as it were, nature's crowning master-pieces. The Yoga-science furnishes us with an authentic information of our body in the light of the most modern discoveries of medicine and physiology. The foundations of Yoga are laid in the solid physical structure of the human body. Man's body is indeed a miracle. The different systems that make it an organic whole show an extremely beautiful arrangement of parts and great skill in operation. The most important and complicated of them all is the central nervous system with its stem and innumerable branches spread out in all directions. This gives it an appearance of the tree. The flowers that blossom on this Tree of life are the Chakras and plexuses. The fruits at various places are the ductless glands. The fruit and flower are not visible to the physical eye. Only the bare tree with its branches and branchlets is to be seen. To enjoy the fragrance of the flower and the sweetness of the fruit, that is immortality, definite steps have to be taken. This forms the practical part of Yoga as an occult science.

Physiology has discovered functional hierarchy, and the levels of function are three - the humoral, the autonomous and the voluntary. Of these three the humoral is the basic and it plays an important part in the preservation of the body. The Yoga-science has recognized this fact long ago with an insistence on the electro-structure of the physical body. The humoral has for its essential function the regulation of all the chemical processes going on within the cells and is called metabolism. This function is under the rule of the glandular system. The chemical elements absorbed in food or otherwise are first turned into colloids by the various digestive processes and then passed into the blood, finally to be distributed as reserves by the endocrine glands. The research has been carried far enough to have gained for physiology synoptic vision of the whole humoral system and of the wonderful subtlety with which it meets all the needs of the organism and keeps the specifically human equilibrium. The thyroid deals with iodine, the pituitary with bromine, the parathyroids with calcium, the suprarenals with alkalis, the liver and the pancreas with sugar. The equilibrium is constantly maintained by vitamins. Physiology has ascertained the correspondence of vitamin C with the suprarenal hormones, of vitamin A with the thyroid, of vitamin E with the kidneys and gonads. Vitamin E acts exactly like the hormone secreted by the anterior lobe of the pituitary, vitamin D like that of the parathyroid and vitamin B has an antagonistic action towards the thyroid gland.

The theory of life as combustion is now superseded by one of electrical induction. The body can no longer be likened to a machine run by heat, whose activity is measured in calories; it has become an electric engine. In humoral system electricity is found to play an important part. Since living substance is in its nature colloidal, its isolated particles carry electric charges. These charges constitute a highly differentiated electric lining to the somatic substance of the body, whose chemical and organic complexity it arouses and whose activity it commands. J. C. Bose has already shown the existence and the physiological importance of this electro-structure in the plant, professor D'Arsonval of Paris and Professor Tchijewsky of Moscow have investigated its activity in the animal and in man. Now it has been established that the vital tonus is maintained by the electrical charges inbreathed with the air and carried by the blood from the lungs to the cells. Just as in the body the purely physical function is found to be a dynamic entity flowing along the nerves and ruling organic activity, so has the humoral and cellular function been seen to be equally electric in nature. The colloidal constitution of living substance has for its counterpart an organized lining of electrical charges. The chemistry of the cells and their metabolism has to be maintained by borrowing food and air from the environment. What we really eat and breathe are ions, that is, molecules plus electrical charges. These charges represent an all important factor in the maintenance of the vital tonus of the organism. It is on the basis of the electro-structure which maintains the vital tonus of the organism, the Yoga-science asserts that the physical body could be electrified to such an extent as to be literally free from disease and death. Allam Prabhu, a master-yogi of the Virashaiva faith, who flourished in the 12th century in Karnataka had attained such an electrical body which is known as Vyomakaya.

Physiology has recognized the importance of the middle brain and of endocrine glands. It has therefore set a value upon the pituitary and pineal glands. A special relationship unites the pituitary gland with the roof of the third ventricle on the one hand and on the other the whole system of ductless glands throughout the body. The third ventricle is a narrow slit lying near the base of cerebral hemispheres and separating the two thalami from each other. At the posterior end of this slit a small nodule of grey matter projects backwards and overhangs corpora quadringamina of the mid-brain. This is the pineal gland. It represents all that remains of the third eye which used to adorn the forehead of some of the lizard ancestors in far off times. This type of lizard is found only in New Zealand and it dates back to the end of the Paleozoic period in the Permian epoch. One of this lizard's features is that it has a quite developed third eye behind and between the usual two. This is known as the pineal eye and is represented in man by the pineal gland.

The pituitary gland is situated at the base of the skull with its two lobes, anterior and posterior. The pineal gland is connected with the posterior portion of the pituitary. The pineal gland is like a tiny pine cone about one eight of an inch in size and coloured grey, while the pituitary is about the size of a ripe cherry and attached to the brain by a stalk. The pineal gland is the negative pole being a counterpart of and complementary to the pituitary body which is the positive pole. It is for this reason Yoga-science observes that the pineal is to the pituitary what Buddhi is to Manas, what intuition is to reason. The pineal is of considerable importance for it acts on the nerve endings within itself and through them on the whole middle brain. The function of the pituitary is to control the development of the body to suit the development of the consciousness. It exercises this function through the other ductless glands. The chief change which it brings into organism is the awakening of the genetic functions by stimulating the sexual glands. But the pineal gland is there to prevent the pituitary from awakening the sexual functions too soon and acts as a check on anterior lobe of the pituitary. This is why the pineal is associated with the spiritual nature of man.

The pineal is the seat of cosmic thought. Human thought may be regarded as a result of suspended action, which the subject does not allow to proceed to its full realization. At each step new inhibitions intervene to prevent energy from immediately discharging itself in motive channels. This necessitates introversion or inward storings of energy until little by little thought is substituted for the inhibited action. It would therefore be a pity to confound introversion with an open retrogression, since the latter marks a stage backwards in the line of evolution. Introversion is an indispensable condition of self-realization. It is a rich and luminous simplicity which achieves the dispersion of analysis by surpassing and overcoming it. It is the fruit of the true intuition, the state of inner freedom. Hence in the complete introversion there is no loss of consciousness but a displacement of attention. Consciousness is dynamic, it is in fact something intensely mobile. When the exterior world has disappeared, the circle of consciousness contracts and seems to withdraw into the pineal where all organic functions and all psychic forces meet and there it enjoys unity. Herein lies the secret of Samadhi, herein lies an instrument for penetrating to the depths of functional consciousness or the supernal light.

All nervous energy which is connected with the pituitary is electro-positive and all somatic energy, that is, cellular and humoral which is connected with the pineal is electro-negative and the balance of these two polarised electricities is maintained by the electric ions in-breathed with the atmospheric air. The pituitary is physical in nature while the pineal is spiritual in nature; to raise up the physical to the spiritual constitutes the secret of Sadhana or worship, for by the meeting of the two energies which starts from the one and produce the other is enhanced and fulfils itself. This is how the union or the harmony between the two is achieved by Shivayoga.

The process is as follows: place the Linga on the palm of the left hand so raised as to come in a line with the centre of the eyebrows. Behind the back and just above the head an oil-fed lamp or candle should be placed so that the light of the lamp or candle is reflected in the coating of Linga. With half-closed eyes the devotee should fix his attention upon that light reflected in the Linga, the coating of which is blue-black or indigo serving to widen and deepen concentration. The concentrated gaze generates psychic heat or Tapas which stirs into activity the pineal gland. This produces psychic light or Tejas which, in turn, leads to the release of Ojas or thought force, which is at once a power of vision and power of execution. Shivayoga therefore lands one into a region of effective will and intuitive knowledge where to will is to create, to think is to see.

The pineal gland is an oval shaped body about the size of a pea lying in the middle of the head, behind and just above the pituitary. It contains pigment similar to that found in the eyes and is connected by two nerve cords with the optic thalamus. Since it controls the action of the light upon the body scientists have suggested that it is a remnant of the third eye. The third eye is an enigmatic organ having a universal history. It is the middle eye of Shiva, it is the eye of the Horas Egyptian tradition. It is the horn of the unicorn. The third eye is an organ apparently dormant but innately acquired by mankind, whose awakening is the right of every individual. It is an organ of inner vision which embraces eternity while our physical eyes look before us seeing neither past nor future. He who has opened this third eye can direct and control the energies of matter, see all things in the eternal now and therefore be in touch with causes, reveal the etheric records and see clairvoyantly. It is through medium of the third eye that an Adept can at any moment put himself in touch with his disciple anywhere.

The mechanism of the human body is composed of six systems, namely the nervous system, the respiratory system, the circulatory system, the digestive system, the excretory system and the endocrine system. The endocrine system consists of many glands situated at various places in the body. The pituitary and the pineal are in the head, the thyroid and parathyroid are in the neck, thymus in the thoracic cavity, the adrenals and gonads are in the abdominal cavity. They are called ductless glands because the hormones produced in them are thrown directly in the blood stream. Of all the glands the pituitary and the pineal are the foremost. Physiology and anatomy have already described the various functions of these two glands. But Yoga-science goes a step further and says that the pituitary is the seat of individual consciousness while the pineal is the seat of the universal consciousness. In the normal man these two states of consciousness are not in harmony. To bring about the harmony between these two states of consciousness is the object of Yoga. In Shivayoga the cosmic consciousness descends to meet the individual consciousness through the optic thalamic nerve. The meeting takes place in the centre of the eyebrows or the Bhrumadhya.

When the pituitary and pineal glands have become fully developed and stimulated, their vibrations fuse and stir into activity the third eye, the eye of the soul. This activity provides the mind with a sensitive instrument, a transmitter by means of which vibrations of very differing types can be translated, interpreted and rearranged. This gives man personal access to the wisdom.

During the embryonic development of the human race man's only organ was the one eye, or the etheric eye, with which he used to see all non-solid matter. As the earth solidified man developed his two physical eyes which can see the solid world but his etheric eye or the third eye receded, its etheric sight spreading all over the nervous system and having its seat in the third ventricle of the brain. The earliest people used only that middle eye or the third eye and were known as Cyclops.

As physical eyesight developed, the etheric eyed recessed, but although dormant as the pineal gland, it is only awaiting development and training to be reawakened. This training was a part of deliberate yogic process which was well understood and thoroughly provided for in the ancient wisdom. When the third eye is opened, the individual begins to see all the activities of the etheric plane, and he approaches much nearer to the causes and realities of life. He can see the thought-forms, entities and complex types of life which make up a vast world of teeming energies which the limited capacity of ordinary physical sight is unable to register.

The ancients knew all about the third eye and indicated it on the statues of their Gods by a knob on the forehead. The Egyptians trained the people in the use of this psychic centre in the temple of Maat. The god Maat was vulture-headed, because the vulture has a sight so keen as to be almost clairvoyant. When people responded to this training they became seers. They could see with the trained third eye, right through the body, as the X-ray does and diagnose a disease. All over the East and India, we find statues of historic man of wisdom with a knob or other mark upon the forehead indicating this type of achievement.

The scientists and medical experts have laboured in the field of biology and physiology to find out facts about the pineal gland. They opine that the pineal gland contains the most astonishing qualities which would be of immense benefit, if only we learn how to develop and use them. It can become a window of life through which we can realise a new dimension of consciousness. The pineal gland is a link between the physical body and the nervous system and holds the key to the opening of the third eye or the sixth organ. The third eye, far from being a spiritual symbol is in fact the pineal gland.

Three things emerge from the labour of the scientist and medical experts about the pineal gland:

1) The pineal gland is made up of two types of cells - pineo-cytes and astro-cytes. The latter are found throughout the nervous system, but they are not present in any other gland except the pineal. This is the first peculiarity.

2) Every organ in the human body depends on something else: nothing works entirely by itself. Even the heart which has its own nervous system is governed by magnetic currents flowing from the centre but the pineal, though linked with the brain, is not activated by the nerve cells that surround it. It appears to be activated by messages that reach it from the eyes - messages conveyed by the pupils rather than by retinal images. This is the second peculiarity.

3) The third peculiarity is that the pineal acts as a kind of built-in cosmic ray receiver. Cosmic radiation is now known to exercise a considerable influence over our everyday lives. Probably for this reason, occultism opines that pineal is the seat of cosmic thought.

Occultism suggests that pineal is the uterus of the brain. In sexual reproduction man uses the organs and Chakras below the diaphragm and friction is the mechanism. In the higher creative acts, the organs and Chakras of higher trinity are used. In this higher process, the mechanism is the spiritual discipline and endeavour. Hence the increased creative activity leads to the opening of the third eye.

The human brain has a fundamental resemblance to the human embryo. It represents the component parts of a bodily form, with the repetition of the endocrine glandular pattern which is hermaphrodite. The pineal and pituitary represent the male and female elements, while there are two perfectly formed little breasts, known as the mammary glands. When the pineal and the pituitary are aroused to a new livingness, they are stimulated to the point when finer vibrations and new radiations are set up. These finally impinge upon each other. Then the wonderful marriage within the head, between the pituitary and the pineal takes place. When this happens, the real consciousness is born and the sacred third eye flows into being.

In SHIVAYOGA the steadfast gazing at Linga is of vital importance because it generates magnetism which galvanizes into activity the dormant pineal gland. As a result of a sustained look at Linga, the transmuted energies rise up the nerve channel into the medulla oblongata through the pons, then pass down into the pituitary behind the eyes. The increasing pituitary radiations finally pass through the third ventricle until they awaken the dormant pineal and the third eye lights up between them. Thus SHIVAYOGA teaches us the technique of opening the third eye.

All eyes need a lens to give meaning to the light sensations. The third eye is not exempt and a lens is built into the aura in front of the forehead. The construction of the lens is the part of the necessary discipline that leads to the accurate perception with the organ of the inner vision. The crystal gazing indicates the nature of the mistery. Ishtalinga which is an indispensable aid to Shivayoga is a crystal magnet. For the formation of psychic lens to the accumulation of the material in the aura a focal point is created with the provision of a steadfast gaze.

The human eyes use a lens to concentrate rays of light on a sensitive region of the retina. Here photo receptors register light impression in clearly defined patterns which are then conveyed through the optic nerves by electrical impulses to the brain. It is the optic thalamic nerve that connects the pineal with the pituitary. Light energy flows from the pineal through the optic thalamic nerves to the two eyes. Eyes pour occult forces or unseen emanations which have been discovered by Dr. Oscar Brunler. He showed that the written manuscripts and the great works of the art carry impressions with them, the radiation of the human eyes which pour over them lovingly during their creation. Measuring in degrees biometric Brunler gave an average seize as 350. He found out that Bacon showed 640, Michelangelo registered 689 while Leonardo gave a reading of 725.

The third eye is a four-dimensional organ. Hence it flourishes in a situation in which control of time has become a developed capacity. Any sort of showing down of time will enable activity of the third eye to become facile.

Man is but a spiritual embryo. His potential is immense. Man has powers latent within him and they show everywhere in the paranormal phenomena witnessed as ESP, that is, extrasensory perception. All men manifest ESP when they are asleep. If man could retain consciousness while the physical body is asleep, his psychic powers could be recognised and used up by him. Restoration of that memory or self-remembrance constitutes the unfoldment of the third eye.

Sahasrara or the crown plexus, where the pineal resides, when stirred into activity the Sahasrara becomes the most resplendent of all the centres full of indescribable chromatic effects and vibrates with extreme rapidity thus opening the third eye through the awakening of the pineal. The realm of the Sahasrara is characterised by Chinnada, Chitbindu and Chitkala by life that pulsates, by the light that illumines and by the law that governs.

Finally, Shivayoga Pradipika, a valuable Yoga manual, speaks of Shivayoga as having four aspects - Shiva Bhakti, Shiva Jnana, Shiva Vrata and Shiva Dhyana. Shivayoga in one sense is integral, for it integrates Bhaktiyoga, Jnanayoga, Karmayoga and Dhyanayoga all in one.

Shivayoga Pradipika defines Linga as the connecting and co-ordinating link between Shiva and Shakti or as the unifying principle of truth and will. This concept of Linga is significant and valuable. Shiva is the Sat aspect of reality while Shakti is its Chit aspect. Shiva and Shakti are the transcendent and immanent, static and dynamic, personal and impersonal aspect of reality. There seems to be an apparent opposition between the two. There is no opposition because Sat and Chit become one in Ananda. That is why reality is spoken of as Sacchidananda. The one saving feature of Shivayoga is this that it has endeavoured to resolve this apparent opposition not by taking the aspects one after the other but by ascending to a height of spiritual intuition where the two are melted and merged into a perfect whole.

Copyright © Foundation Mahatapasvi Shri Kumarswamiji, Tapovan, Dharwad 580003, Karnataka, India

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