Shiva: The Lord of the Yogis

Posted on February 17, 2015

An Excerpt taken from “HeartSourcing: Finding Our Way to Love and Liberation”
by Ramgirir Braun, Ph.D.

“Maharajji said, “The best way to worship God is every way.” We find devotion equally in the dance of the Sufis, the stirring psalms of the Jews, the powerful ceremonies of indigenous peoples, the sacraments of the Christians, and the meditative stillness of Buddhists. It is present in the pursuit of truth through the mind. It celebrates love and wisdom in all forms and all places, for everything is part of the One. The many forms of deities and God-realized beings are windows into that oneness. Devotion to them dissolves our limitations and blindness.

The deities aren’t gods up in heaven who control life with fire and brimstone. They are but personifications of attributes of the ultimate nature of my own consciousness—qualities such as completeness, wisdom, insight into emptiness, equanimity, unlimited power, compassion, and unconditional love. That’s why they are not foreign and aloof, but intimate, compassionate, whole, and exciting. Encountering the deities allowed my studies to go beyond mere mental understanding to become a real and full-bodied experience.

In India there are even more forms of the divine—all representatives of aspects of the one absolute Self, the one ultimate Truth, the one and only God—an enormous expression of the vast generosity of the Indian mind. As soon as I arrived there, I began to have spontaneous visions of the Hindu deities. Like so many facets of light emitted by the infinite diamond of the Self, these deities are aspects of the enlightened heart-mind in all of us and are completely alive. If we open to this supreme psychology of the higher mind, the deities can interact with us (with our everyday ego-bound consciousness) in grace-filled ways.

When consciousness merges through devotion with a deity such as Shiva,1 the Lord of the yogis, we discover that Shiva is much more than a form. He is a path to enlightenment, and the Unified Mind itself, brahman, our own enlightened awareness. Shiva is the ideal yogi, and manifests in us as our highest ideal. Devotion allows our consciousness to gradually merge with the essence of the deity, the essence of the enlightened heart-mind.

The same awareness of divinity manifesting in form exists in most traditions. Those who are open to direct mystical experience can intimately encounter their Beloved in the here and now. “Where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them”2 is not a figure of speech, it is literally true. The masters and higher beings come to uplift us. They are part of us, found in the innermost place in the heart.

When our mind is clear, when we have cleansed the mirror of our heart, our love will be constant.

Shiva, The Lord of Yogis (sculpture by Ramgiri)


  1. Shiva, the archetype of the perfect yogi, is one of the three primary emanations of Brahman, the formless ground of all being. Along with the creator (Brahma) and the preserver of the universe (Vishnu), Shiva is the destroying, renewing principle. This represents the ability of the mind to destroy what is false, remove illusion, and open access to enlightenment in non-dual awareness.”
Om Namah Shivaya
Annapurna Institute
HeartSourcing Yoga

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