Contemplations from the 23rd lesson on the Shiva sutras.

You alone are responsible for your own liberation.

So we reach a momentous point in this course on The Shiva Sutras; a point where the group journey comes to a sweet, satisfying end only for the resumption of our many solo journeys with a reignition of our ardent hunger for openness, growth and expanded consciousness.

The seeds sown by Shiva’s Sutras will live long in each of us and we will all undoubtedly embody their wisdom and practicality in our own distinct ways. But the golden threads of timeless truth which run through each sutra will surely connect us all in some undeniable fellowship of Shiva’s Studious Acolytes, as we continue individually to work with, dance through and refine these invaluable gems which we’ve assimilated, and with which we’re now infused like the marrow in our bones.

As we hug our goodbyes, pat backs, swap numbers, reminisce and promise to reassemble one day to explore further into the ancient, perennial philosophy which underpins our Yoga practice; a booming voice calls us to attention. Mahadev, with paternal love in His dancing eyes, has a parting message for us before we take the next leg of the quest before us. ‘You alone are responsible for your own liberation’ He declares… then He is gone from our sight… gone but ever-present, always full of Peace, flowing through all forms as Truth, Consciousness and Bliss, the essence of Illumination.

So a last sutra for us to ingest and process, a delicious ‘One for the road’ which brims with relevance for a group of pilgrims on Life’s spiritual highway. Its relevance is in that Shiva is saying, now walk the talk! Make these teachings your experience. Do it, live it, embody all the wisdom you’ve gleaned. But YOU do it! No one else can do it for you. He’s saying, you may have a library full of texts, an unending supply of super-supportive sangha-buddies, or even an external Guru with the Wisdom of Solomon and the Patience of Job. It’s also true you may have some really cool baggy trousers, a year’s supply of tea-lights and incense, plus a really authentic looking practice room back at home with all the gear in it but… it’s up to you to do the work for your liberation and enlightenment! You see it doesn’t matter what your neighbour, parents, best friend, Priest, Rabbi, wife, husband or children think or say about your path, only what you think matters, and that you do the work and make the journey. It’s only relevant, really, what’s going on internally and how that pertains to your sadhana. Shiva’s saying, succeed alone, fail alone, stumble yourself but grow yourself. Carry on regardless, do the work, walk the walk and keep it ultimately between you and God. Then one fine day you’ll arrive… or as Lahiri Mahasaya was known to say in Bengali, ‘Banat Banat Ban Jai!!’  Doing a little bit daily, one step at a time, one finds oneself at last on the spiritual summit.

You alone are responsible for your own liberation.

‘One should lift up the self by the self,
And should not the self droop down,
For the self is the self’s only friend,

And the self is the self’s only enemy’          - Bhagavad Gita

~by Elliot Donnelly.


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