Shri 1008 Jagadguru Dr.Chandrashekhar Shivacharya Mahaswamiji

We are so blessed to get the 2nd time this great opportunity that Shri Jagadguru Dr. Chandrashekhar Shivacharya Mahaswamiji  from the Jagamwadi Math in Varanasi will visit us from 24-25 March at Vedic Valley!




24 March
1.Lecture on Vira Shaivaism, The Law on Karma and reincarnation, Nature of God: personal and impersonal aspects, The nature of the material energy, The nature of the soul: the stages of the evolution of consciousness. The objectives of human life (dharma). The main text of the tradition.

2.Vira Shaivism as a spiritual path, Yoga as a relationship with God through action (karma yoga), clear thoughts (mantra yoga) and knowledge (jnana yoga). World: A look at the nature of the universe, the nature of the soul and God.

3.Shiva Yoga as a way of life, the vows, the details of practice. Shiva puja – as the main form of worship of Shiva: the meaning and symbolism of the traditional ritual.

The lecture will be simultaneously translated into English and Russian languages

March 25

Shiva Puja blessing for SHIVA- Mantra, and the Mantra Diksha Linga.

Admission is free, it is recommended donation!
For participation please contact us:

About the Jangamwadi Math & Vira Shaivaism 

The Jangamwadi math (pronounced as ‘mutt’) belongs to the ViraShaivaism and is one of the most prominent math in Varanasi. A ‘math’ is a center of learning and research lead by a Peethadhipati or a great leader and every ‘math’ and its followers owe their allegiance to a specific religious thought and way of worship and conduct in life. Shaiva Dharma is believed to have promoted the worship of Shiva in his many different forms.  The Jangamwadi Math is also known as the Jana Simhasan or Jana Peeth. The word ‘Jangam’ means ‘one who knows Shiva’ and ‘Wadi’ means ‘place of living’. Therefore, the place where those who are ‘aware’ of the Shiva stay, came to be known as Jangamwadi. At present, Shri Jagadguru Shivacharya Dr. Chandrasekhar Shivacharya Mahaswami is the 86th ‘Peethadhipati’ or the leader of the math in Kashi.
Interview with Kashi Jagadguru Mahaswamiji – the spiritual teacher of Shivaite tradition:
-Tell us please about the philosophy and spiritual practice of Vira Shivaism

The core theory of virashivaism is named “the theory of the six states/conditions” (“shat sthala siddhanta”). Generally, in this theory the Higher Brahman, Paramatma, is named “Sthala”. In Siddhanta Shikhamani it is said: “In what is (“STHIyate”) and then dispels (“Liyate”) the whole world – that is Sthala.” First, there was only Sthala, the peculiar feature of which was Visharma shakti (the power of awareness, the ability realize yourself). In this universal Sthala there appeared a wish to start a game (lila): “I, the only, will become each and every.” (“Ekoham bahudham prajae.”) Then, Sthala took the form of of linga, and the inherent to it Shakti took the form of Kala (the ability to create, to originate). The linga separated into 6 parts. First, there distinguished 3 parts – bhava linga (corresponding to the casual level of being), prana linga (corresponding to the level of the mind and feelings), and ishta linga (corresponding to the physical level). Then, each of these lingas divides into two and there appears 6 lingas:
1. Achara linga
2. Guru linga
3. Shiva linga
4. Jangama linga
5. Prasada linga
6. Maha linga.
Corresponding Kala:
1. Nivritti kala (creating indifference to the world, detachment from the world)
2. Pratishtha kala (creating stillness, calmness of the mind)
3. Vidya kala (giving the ability to perceive and maintain wisdom)
4. Shanti kala (creating calmness, peacefulness)
5. Shantyatita kala (making this calmness more deep and sustainable)
6. Shantyatitottara kala (creating stillness of the samadhi state).
In this way, there appeared 6 lingas and 6 corresponding to them kalas. After this, from the initial Sthala there distinguished another part. It is named Anga. And the energy belonging to Anga is named Bhakti (love, devotion). To the six lingas there correspond six angas:
1. Bhakta
2. Maheshwara
3. Prasadi
4. Pranalingi
5. Sharana
6. Aykya.
Bhakti-energies of these angas are named correspondingly:
1. Shraddha bhakti (devotion, characterized by belief)
2. Nishtha hakti (adamant devotion characterized by constancy of the beliefs)
3. Avadhana bhakti (devotion with care, compassionate devotion)
4. Anubhava bhakti (devotion accompanied by ingenuous experience)
5. Ananda bhakti (devotion accompanied by bliss)
6. Samarasa bhakti (devotion, which led to complete unity).
 Bhakti, Gyana, Raja yoga in virashivaism: in what form and what proportions are they present in sadhana of virashaiva?

All the practice is based on Bhakti (devotion). But this bhakti changes accordingly during the spiritual growth of the person; this is why the ways of bhakti manifestation change. First, those are actions, ceremonies, and then – raja yoga, pranayama, and trataka on the ishta-linga, then contemplation of the inner light. As times goes, with the clarification of the mind, a human starts to give more time to inner contemplation practices. This is also bhakti, love to the God. Developing, deepening bhakti creates ingenuous feeling of the inner presence of God – spiritual experience. Speaking about yoga of the knowledge (gyana–yoga), a person receives this knowledge from the very beginning. During the initiation the Teacher tell the student: “You are a part of Shiva. By your nature you are Shiva.” This is the knowledge. But for this theoretical knowledge to become practical practice is needed – rites, mind clearing practices, concentration practices, studies of philosophy, texts of this tradition – Shaiva Agamas, Siddhanta Shikhamani etc. All of these practices in this or other way bring us to the same result – the mind of person purifies, then acquires sustainability, and capacity for lasting meditation. And then a person himself clearly sees: “I am – Shiva.” The mind of an ordinary person can be compared with a dirty mirror in a shaking hand – it is not possible to see yourself in it. First, the mirror should be cleaned. Then, it should be fixed. And then, it would be possible to look into this mind-mirror and see your own self, your Atma.
On the way to self-actualization (Atma gyana), what is the importance of personal effort and mercy from the God? What is the ratio?
Personal effort is important. And mercy from the God is also important. The more there is bhakti in a person, the more interest to the practice he has, the more time and attention he dedicates to it. And as long as there is any interest to the world, different desires will distract him from the practice. When there are several aim, and all of them are different, the advancement goes slowly. But the stronger the bhakti, the intention to reach self-actualization, the faster God and human get closer. Shakti (the divine energy) and bhakti (the energy of a human aspiration for God) have similar nature. They are equal, but they have opposite directions: shakti is directed downwards, into the world, to the human, and bhakti is directed upwards, to the God. The quality of bhakti and shakti always match. In Siddhanta Shikhamani it is said that aspiration of a man and mercy of the God are connected as a seed and a tree – from the seed a tree grows, and from the tree a seed appears. And it is not possible to say what follows after what here. So, a man should do the practice, clear his mind, strengthen the belief, become a clean vessel ready to take more and more of God’s mercy.
Some people say, that a foreigner can not truly become a Hinduist, because he does not have the gotra (ancestral lineage); that it is possible to become a hindu only if you were born in an Indian family. However, you give traditional initiation to the foreigners – what is your opinion about this (can a Western man be considered to be Hindu the way the Indian one is considered)? Does a Western receive the same initiation in virashivaism as does an Indian?
Yes, foreigner receive just the same initiation as Indians do. There are two kinds of traditions in Hinduism – those based on Vedas and those based on Agamas. Vedas and Agamas are equally acknowledged as the sources of sacred knowledge. Both of them originated from God: Vedas are called to be the breathing of God, and Agamas – are his words. Shaiva Agamas are the dialogs of Shiva and Parvati. The system described in Vedas is based on social division (based on varnas: brahmana, kshatriya, vaysha, and shudra). Only men who are representatives of the three varnas (brahmana, kshatriya, and vaysha) qualify for initiation. In Agamas another kind of initiation is described – diksha. This initiation can be received by anyone regardless of gender and social position. In this case, mind condition of a person is important, his aspiration for self-actualization. The teacher watches the student, assesses his level of readiness, and according to this gives him diksha. In Agamas it is said: “Having appraised the level of God energy presence in a person (the devotion of a person) initiation should be given to him.” (“Shaktipatam samalokya dikshaya yojaed amum.”) In this way, in virashivaism and other traditions, based on Agamas, origin and citizenship of a person have no importance.
In the West, hot discussions about sattvic vegetarian diet are in a full flow in the yoga community. Some say that this is only the cultural peculiarity of India caused by hot climate, and that diet does not influence spiritual development. Please, share your opinion whether vegetarian diet is important.
Our food predetermines the state of our mind. The food becomes the mind. This process and the necessity of food purification are described in detail in Upanishadas. Some part of the food is eliminated from the body with urine and excrement, some part of it transforms into the tissues of the body, and the subtle part of the food transforms into the mind. Correspondingly, what the food is, so would be the mind condition. In Ayurveda, there are described three gunas – three qualities of substance: sattva, rajas, and tamas. Rajastic food makes the mind restless, impassioned. Tamastic leads to torpor, somnolence. And sattvic food harmonizes the mind, makes it the best instrument for perception of the Truth. Moreover, amongst the ten components of dharma (correspondence to the laws of universe, of harmony with the world and God) non-violence (ahimsa) is the first. It it not possible to employ violence to any live creature. Violence (himsa) and non-violence (ahimsa) – are sophisticated concepts. There exist different kinds of violence: physical violence, verbal non-violence and mental violence. To stab a live creature or to kill it – is physical violence. Making a live creature to feel unhappy by a word, making it hurt through speaking – is verbal violence. And maintaining inside of you unkind, unfavorable thoughts – is mental violence. For non-violence these three kinds of violence should be avoided, including physical one. When you kill animals food, what kind non-violence is it?! God has created various kind of food. There are some live creatures who can not survive without eating meat, whose nutrition is meat only. If they do not eat meat – they will simply die. But people do not belong to that kind. A man was given a choice – was given the ability to live on vegetarian food. In our life we always have to make a choice between satisfaction of immediate wishes and reaching higher goals in life. It is necessary to realize to which result every choice will bring us and to take decisions correspondingly. They say, some of the buddhist saints used to eat meat, and Paramahasa Ramakrishna ate fish. May be, in the beginning, they kept that habit which was coming from the traditions of their localities. But I think, that advancing to higher spiritual states they abandoned eating meat. In virashivaism, vegetarian nutrition is a necessary condition for everybody.
In Upanishadas the God is mainly named just Brahman. He is described as the Higher Principle with no definite form, universal, present everywhere. In Puranas we see there is a division into vaishnava, shakta, shaiva Puranas. And each Purana states that this or other form of God “is the main”. This brings Western mind into confusion. Between the vaishnavas and the devotees of Shiva (at least in the West) there exists an argument “which God is the highest” involving the quotes from Puranas which contradict each other quite often. How would clear up the question?
“The Truth is one. Sages describe in various ways” (“Ekam sat vipra bahudha vadanti.”) God is universal, but to make it easier for the people to perceive him and express their love to him, they describe different manifestations of Him – names and forms. The same way, one person is the “son” for his mother, “father” for his children, “colleague” for the people he works with, etc. The person is one and the same, but different people see different displays of him and name them differently also. In order to maintain and increase belief it is better when a man believes that his personal idol is the best. In Shastra it is written that it is needed to believe that the idol that you are continuously worshiping to, that is the most dear to you – is the best. For some people, the most close one is Vishnu – the God maintaining the world – who is very caring and prosperity giving one. Then, naturally, he would say that Vishnu is the highest God. For some people, the most close one is Shiva-Ascetic who ruins illusions and attachments. Then, the person would say that Shiva is the highest. Such belief help at certain stage, allows to concentrate the mind on one distinct object. But this should not be the reason for discord. In the higher sense these all are the images of one Truth. The same Substance, which is described in Upanishadas as universal Brahman, in Puranas is described in the form of sagas, stories, in order to simplify the understanding of complicated philosophical concepts for ordinary people and arise in them aspiration for God, love to him. There is no necessity to compare Puranas and seek for contradictions in them. At the first stages it would seem that there are many contradictions. And there are none of those at higher stages. When devotees of different divine beings started to quarrel with each other, Shankacharya had no other way but worship all the five faces of God in order to show people: “There is no contradiction in this. Worship all of them.” Upanishadas say about Eternity-Consciousness-Bliss (Sat-Chit-Ananda), but not everyone is able to understand this. Behind every name and image there hides Sat-Chit-Ananda. In every shape there is shapeless substance. In a seed, there a sprout. With the flow of time it will uncover and reveal itself. And then it will turn into seeds again. The shapeless takes the form, and the form dissolves in the shapeless in a while. This is the divine game (lila).

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If a person feels interest in the image of Shiva, spontaneously experiences the wish to utter his mantras, enjoys high emotions thinking of Him, – can such a person be considered as a Shiva bhakta, or in this case a diksha into some of the shaiva sampradaya is needed to be named a shaivite?
What do you want: to be named a shivaite or to come closer to Shiva? Interest in the image of Shiva, worshiping Shiva, repeating mantra – this is bhakti, devotion. This all is a beginner state, quite a perfunctory one. Doing this can take all the life. But in case there is an intention to deepen the practice, initiation from the Teacher is perfectly needed.
And, for the ending, please give us some recommendation where to travel, what to be ready for, whom to address, – in case our Western readers intend to receive initiation into virashaiva sampradaya?
Initiation can be received from any of the Shivacharya – virashaiva Swamiji. Before this, necessarily get to know what rules you will need to keep to (vegetarian diet, refusal the use of alcohol, smoking and the like is meant), what practicies you will need to do daily. Those are wearing a small shivalinga as an amulet on the neck, conducting everyday puja (short variation takes about 15 min), repeating the mantra. Please, read a lot on virashivaism philosophy. I would strongly advise you reading Siddhanta Shikhamani. It has already been translated into English. In Agamas it is written that it is best to receive initiation after purification done beforehand, from a well-known and well-educated Teacher, in a favorable month, in a favorable day. Come to India. Or come for a meeting when I travel around different countries.

August 19, 2015