LINGĀNGA (ŚHIVA)-YŌGA: [ಲಿಂಗಾಂಗ (ಶಿವ)-ಯೋಗ]

The word yōga which is derived from 'yuj' meaning the 'to unite', means 'union of the individual soul with the universal soul (or Śhiva, God). The word also means a conscious effort of marga [ಮಾರ್ಗ] (way) leading to such a union. For example, the words 'bhakti- marga' [ಭಕ್ತಿ-ಮಾರ್ಗ] and ‘Jñyāna-marga’ [ಜ್ಞಾನ-ಮಾರ್ಗ], are substituted, respectively, for ‘bhakti-yōga’ [ಭಕ್ತಿ-ಯೋಗ] and 'Jñyāna-yōga' [ಜ್ಞಾನ-ಯೋಗ], where the two terms mean, respectively, the way of devotion and the way of knowledge. 'Śhiva-yōga' or 'Śhiva-patha’ means, however, the path leading to the union with Śhiva.

According to Vachana writers, man does not, and cannot, become Parashiva, but is a part (anga) of Parashiva. He has forgotten his true nature and thinks wrongly that he is separate from and independent of Parashiva and that sensual pleasure is the goal of life. In order to fulfill his sensual desires he does all kinds of acts which bind him to saṃsara [ಸಂಸಾರ] and is subjected to innumerable ways of suffering. His efforts to avoid these sufferings by means of selfish acts only bring him further miseries. When he meets a competent spiritual guru for guidance, the latter promises that it is possible to overcome all kinds of miseries and regain the original happy state by means of Śhiva-yōga. Śhiva yōga presupposes the philosophical doctrine that the means by which one can attain the union with Parashiva are with the aspirant himself and are called bhakti-Shakti. The six Shaktis, which make up the senses, internal instruments, the physical body, etc. in a sense, bind the individual to saṃsara, as a result of which he suffers. But when he converts the same Shakti by disciplining them, they become bhaktis (or bhakti-Shaktis) or spiritual aids. Thus

1. Kriya-śakti becomes śraddhā-bhakti.
2. Jñyāna-śakti becomes niṣṭhā-bhakti
3. Icchā-śakti becomes avadhāna-bhakti
4. Ādi-śakti becomes anubhāva-bhakti
5. Parā-śakti becomes ānanda-bhakti
6. Cit-śakti becomes samarasa-bhakti

The sense organs, motor organs, mind, intellect, etc. which are products of Shakti, begin to work for spiritual purpose once they are disciplined. Thus, for example, the hands that were involved earlier in doing acts like stealing, killing, etc., are now used to perform the worship of Ishtalinga (see: BHAKTI); the ear which were used by the devotee earlier to enjoy good words spoken about him, are now used to hear songs and stories about Parashiva; so on.

The same doctrine is sometimes presented in another form, i.e., in terms of the doctrine of three-bodied personality. According to this, every man has three bodies - gross body (sthūla-ṣarīra) [ಸ್ಥೂಲ-ಶರೀರ], made up of blood, bones, skin, etc.; subtle body (sūkṣma-ṣarīra) [ಸೂಕ್ಷ್ಮ-ಶರೀರ] consisting of senses, mind, intellect, the objects of sense (like smell, taste, etc.), and the causal body (kāraṇa-ṣarīra) [ಕಾರಣ-ಶರೀರ], i.e, the body in which the seeds of karmas are stored. The aspirant in the path of Śhiva- yōga is required to convert the three bodies into, tyāgānga, bhōgānga and yōgāanga. [ತ್ಯಾಗಾಂಗ, ಭೋಗಾಂಗ, ಯೋಗಾಂಗ]

Sthūla ṣarīra is used to perform acts of various kinds, which may be moral or immoral, religious or irreligious. The aspirant who wants to convert it into tyāgānga uses it to perform religious acts like worshipping, uttering mantra, etc. and moral acts like dasōha, kayaka, truth-telling, etc. Both the religious and moral acts are done in the spirit of sacrifice (tyaga), by doing which his gross body becomes tyāgānga.

When the gross body dies, the remaining two bodies go to next birth and acquire another gross body. Of these two, the subtle body is the real agent and enjoyer, because it is that houses the senses, mind etc. Therefore, it is this that controls or fails to control the desires, lust, anger, etc. The aspirant who wants to convert the sūkṣma-ṣarīra into bhōgānga has to enjoy everything only after sincerely offering it to the Giver. On a higher plane he convinces himself that at the tip of his every sense and every internal instrument, Parashiva is established, such that all that he enjoys is for the sake of Parashiva. He is completely free from selfishness.

Karaṇa-ṣarīra is the storehouse of all karma-seeds and the impressions of the previous births, and it is these, which determine our present personality traits and our happiness and unhappiness. The aspirant who wants to convert it into yōgāanga has to learn the art of meditation leading to the yōgāanga (union) of soul with Parashiva. Once he succeeds in this, all his karma-seeds are burnt and all the impressions are rooted out, and as a result, he is free from rebirth. He continues to live and act like all others, but he thinks that he is a part and a vehicle of Parashiva and is not distinct from Parashiva.

The conversion of the three bodies into spiritual 'parts' (angas) involves six stages. The conversion of sthūla-tanu (sthūla-ṣarīra) into tyāgānga takes place in two stages of bhakta and mahēṣa; of sūkṣma-ṣarīra into bhōgānga in two still higher stages, Prasādi and Prānalingi and karaṇa-ṣarīra into yōgāanga in the final two stages, Sharana and aikya. The whole process of conversion is called Śhiva-yōga, and involves bhakti-yōga (path of devotion), karma-yōga (the path of selfless action) and Jñyāna-yōga (the path of knowledge). The devotion shown to guru, Jangama, and Linga in various forms are aspects of bhakti-yōga; performance of morally good acts, dāsōha and kāyaka are aspects of karma-yōga. The conviction that arises from successful meditation that one is not independent or separate from Parashiva but is his inseparable part is an aspect of Jñyānayōga . However, the Śhiva-yōgi who adopts Jñyāna-yōga does not treat the world as an illusion, but as Shakti, which reflects Parashiva everywhere.

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[1] From the book "Vachana", pub: Basava Samiti Bangalore 2012.