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  • Writer's pictureAkanksha Damini Joshi


India has been a womb of spiritual experimentations: some propah, some wild. Here is a spiritual practice found in one of the oldest schools of Shaivism in India - Pashupatas - that is likely to give many in our world, in our times a culture shock.

Pashupata Shaiva. An Atimarga. Extreme asceticism. Its formal beginning dated anywhere from 2BC to 2CE to your-guess-is-as-good-as-mine.

In the theoretical understanding of the school there is a triad of Pati - Lord ; Pashu - Egos ; Paash - Bondage. The aim is to seek the grace of the Lord to end all sorrows, dukhaanta.

Now the practise, vidhi. It is described in detail in Pashupata Sutram and exists in two parts - the main, and the subsidiary.

The main practise was, of course, training the mind strictly. Controlling the senses. No possessions. No stealing. Celibacy. Special emphasis on Non-violence. Bearing the external marks of Pashupata sadhana, the ashes etc. Living in the temple premises. Worshipping the Lord with oblations like : laughter, song, dance, adoration and some special mantras. All these practises should be in secrecy.

Further stages in the purification practise require the practitioner to DROP all external marks of being a Shaiva ascetic and live UNRECOGNISED in the society and get as many ABUSES as he can from the people.

These practises are the dwara, the doors to gathering MERIT. No kidding.

*Snoring: Pretending to be asleep while being awake. As in, pretending to be lost in the world, while being totally detached.

*Acting as if the body is weak and paralysed, limbs are disabled

*Here is a bouncer - Srngaarana - the one who in stage one is not even supposed to speak to a woman is now supposed to HIT at women, WOO them, make lewd gestures.

*act completely mad so people call him lunatic, without reason, Avitat-karana.

*talk total nonsense, avitad-bhashana

All these so people treat him as an outcaste, people abuse him in their minds or in speech, even physically.

This entire time, the practitioner is to remain firm in his practise. Concentrated upon the Lord.

But why all this acting, why all this drama?!

Here is the fun logic. Through every abuse that comes his way - his SINs are transferred to the abuser, and the abuser’s VIRTUES come to the practitioner!

Taaadaaa! :)

So folks. Now, I am not knowledgeable enough to dispute this or support this. But I am smart enough to not take a chance with this! Next time I see someone offline or online being plain mad, ugly, horrible. I am going to send out a prayer and say, “Shiva Shiva!” Whooo knows he may be a Pashupata from another life, living the stage two … in perfect disguise!

"ParibhUyamAno hi vidvAn kr̥tsna-tapA bhavati"

Being assaulted he becomes learned and a performer of all penances


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