The word tatva translates as element, something which is created and not the creator. Everything that is created is composed of 16 tatvas. The first five–prithvi (earth), jal (water), agni (fire), vayu (air) and akash (ether)—pertain to the Bhuloka or earth. The sixth element is the Shiv tatva, which corresponds to the agya chakra, located at the centre of the forehead. Between the visshudhhi and agya, there are 11 more tatvas and yet the Shiv tatva is called the sixth tatva because Shiv is adi, anadi, anant, akhand… which is beyond the comprehension of buddhi. A normal human brain functions on 7-8 per cent efficiency, which is enough for experiences of physical world, but to experience Shiv tatva, activation of higher senses is required. There are three knots in the body—Brahm Granthi, Vishnu Granthi and Rudra Ganthi. It is easiest to open the Brahma Granthi; Vishnu Granthi also opens up relatively easily, but opening the Rudra Granthi is extremely difficult. Till it opens, one cannot experience the remaining 11 tatvas, and till one experiences these tatvas, the 6th element or Shiv tatva will not get activated. All the tatvas reside in the Shiv tatva whose purpose is mukti or salvation. All Shiv sadhnas lead to that. There is no other purpose.
Till the Shiv tatva is activated, one cannot get the experience of subtle dimensions. Reading about them is redundant. Reading leads to activation of lower brain—the five senses and the five elements. The more the lower brain is active, the more you get caught up in the desire for physical experiences. Because there is no limit to physical desires. It keeps you engaged and you get caught in a downward spiral of lower pleasures. It is the lack of Shiv tatva, which is causing the human race to devolve.
When we say Shiv tatva, we refer to the combination of Shiv and Shakti, the ardhnarishwar form of Shiv. If you remove ‘eee’ of Shakti from Shiv, it becomes shav (dead body). It is Shakti that fuels the vehicle that is Shiv and it is Shiv that drives Shakti. Shiv resides at the top (agya chakra) and Shakti at the base (moolchakra). When we start sadhna, Shiv has to come down, hold the Shakti and lift it up through the various chakras. Interestingly, when Shiv merges with Shakti, it becomes a tatva. When the merger happens in prithvi tatva, so much force is generated that the sadhak is unable to let go of physical pleasures. Whatever he/she desires in the physical comes walking to him/her; such is the attraction. Similarly at subsequent chakras and tatvas. These are described as pitfalls in yogsutras because no matter what you get in the physical, fulfilment never happens and you are left wanting more. It keeps you engaged and you lose your path. So the guru has to gradually lift the sadhak above all these.
After experiencing 16 tatvas, the merger of Shiv and Shakti happens and you access the Shiv tatva and then, you get plenty of all the tatvas. Merger of tatvas is Shiv tatva, which is for evolution only. It gives all that is there in physical creation but it gives you to leave it. The yogsutras say as soon as you achieve merger at a tatva, prepare to leave it to achieve the next tatva. There is a pyramidal structure in creation, there is plenty of space at the base and very little at the top. That is why as soon as you access the Shiv tatva, effect of Vishnu’s maya becomes manifold. Money, power, position, beauty—none will last, but will keep you from moving up. The choice is yours.
Without Shiv tatva, kundalini cannot rise and the darshan of Shiv tatva is not possible without a guru. Before one ventures to explore the Shiv tatva, one must look within and see what the quest is. Is it more of pleasure, which will result in pain later and would be temporary or is it actually Shiv? Is it socialising and making contacts and doing networking, or is it release from the bondages? Depending on the quest, one finds a guru or an entertainer.
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