3. VIRUPAKSHA – SHIVA, THE MASTER OF THE THIRD EYE
The shaivit masters worship Shiva as Tryambaka, or Virupaksha, “Shiva with the terrible eye”, because of His third eye, placed in the middle of the forehead and symbolizing the opening of the secret center of force Ajna chakra.
This eye of fire, sign of the original divine uniqueness, is opposed to the common, dual vision of the world.
“Without You, the whole universe is dual and fragmented, discovering its subjectivity (the relationship subject-object). On the other hand, only You – the master of the universe – have a vision totally unifying all dualities.”
The same poet says further on: “a drop of Your bliss, coming upon the earth, gives birth to the moon. A spark of Your terrible fire, destroyer of illusion gives birth to the sun. Lord, You whose gaze penetrates everything, we offer ourselves to You, to Your third eye, a unique seal of a transcendent greatness that is beyond words.”
The spiritual eye of illumination (Ajna chakra) opened through overwhelming devotion to God, signifies the conscious Subject, and reaches beyond the common knowledge of things.
It is named by Utpaladeva “the eye of fire” – the destroyer of duality, embracing the heart of divine love. It is also the eye of light, which emanates love and happiness as well as the incomparable ambrosia of the divine life.
The true devotion (bhakti) originated in Shiva’s grace, reveals its secrets only when this mysterious abyss engulfing the illusion of duality is totally understood.
The yogis and the poets following the path of freedom and spontaneity (Svatantryavda) compare this mysterious abyss with a cave or with a secret heart.
Even if this cave radiates light, it is usually invisible, as “Shiva sheds the light of His cognitive energy (jnana shakti) on the undifferentiated things of this abyss, which is His heart.” (Abhinavagupta)
Through this imagery, Abhinavagupta explains the way in which the radiant light Shiva projects on the background of the luminous radiation (prakasha) delineates determined and finite forms, satisfactory for the rational understanding, sensitivity and will of the regular person, but which hide the true depths as soon as the senses become attached to these forms.
At this point, the person forgets about the radiant cave and keeps on going from form to form, growing more and more attached to them.
Nonetheless, in order for the human being to discover the dazzling beauty of that radiant cave, the outward direction of the cognitive fascicle (bahirvimarsa) has to change its orientation, and be directed inwards, (antivirmarsa), projecting on it a unifying light.
There is no other more mysterious and unreachable thing than this abyss of God’s heart for the one who has never seen or felt it – in which its name (guhya) originates.
However, there is nothing more obvious for the one that has had the vision of this “abyss”, as its very essence is radiance.
In order to discover Shiva’s mystery it is necessary we adopt an inward attitude, completely different from the attitude we usually have while performing our daily duties.
In the absence of this inward attitude the person may not pass over the duality of this world, into the divine light.
It is impossible for a person to discover the essential reality – the pure spontaneity and will – using the limited and confining capacities that only separate the individual from the rest of the universe.
On the contrary, the yogi who has this inward attitude may give up any cognitive, discursive attempt, to explore the immaculate of the pure consciousness (prakasha) from where it springs, the free pulsation of Shiva’s will (vimarsha).
However, this renunciation does not depend directly upon the practitioner’s effort, because no confining thing may guide him. For this reason, the great sages of all times insist on the unconditioned devotion to the divine grace in order to reach and understand this essentially simple, yet indescribable experience.