This is a beautiful devotional excerpt from Chapter 1 of the Hymns to Shiva, Utpaladeva’s Shivastotravali, revealed by Swami Lakshmanjoo, highlighting the need to achieve God in the activity of the universe, not by shunning it.
“So, you should find out the way to achieve God in the activity of the universe, not by shunning it. This is Shaivism. The real way of perceiving You is to perceive You in each and every action of life.” ~Swami Lakshmanjoo
शिवो भूत्वा यजेतेति भक्तो भूत्वेति कथ्यते ।
त्वमेव हि वपुः सारं भक्तैरद्वयशोधितम् ॥१४॥
śivo bhūtvā yajeteti bhakto bhūtveti kathyate /
tvameva hi vapuḥ sāraṁ bhaktairadvayaśodhitam //14//
In the Vedās, in the Śiva Sūtras, in all of those sacred books, this is said that “you must worship Lord Śiva after becoming Lord Śiva Himself”.
When you become Lord Śiva, then you are capable to worship Him. If you have become an individual, being an individual, you cannot worship that universal Being. It is out of the question. How can a limited being get contact with unlimited Being? So, you must first become unlimited yourself and then you can worship that unlimited Being, Śiva.
But, Thy devotees have corrected it. This ruling, rules and regulations, they have corrected that. They have said, “bhakto bhūtvā iti kathyate”, you must be devoted to Lord Śiva, then you can get contact with Him, if you are filled with devotion. If you are filled with Śiva bhāva, the state of Śiva, you are not capable of worshiping Śiva. When you are devotedly devoted to Śiva, then you are capable to worship Śiva. You can worship Śiva only when you are filled with devotion.
And this is correct. This is the correct way of understanding. From my point of view, this is the correct way of understanding, because tvameva hi vapuḥ sāraṁ bhaktairadvaya śodhitam, [Thy devotees] have clarified, they have in a real sense clarified, what is right and what is wrong. They have known, they have experienced this.
भक्तानां भवदद्वैतसिद्ध्यै का नोपपत्तयः ।
तदसिद्ध्यै निकृष्टानां कानि नावरनाणि वा ॥१५॥
bhaktānāṁ bhavadadvaitasiddhyai kā nopapattayaḥ /
tadasiddhyai nikṛṣṭānāṁ kāni nāvaranāṇi vā //15//
Those who are Thy devotees, for those, if they want to achieve the state of God consciousness, for them, which is not the way? Even going astray also will lead them to God consciousness.
Those who are Thy devotees.
Those who are Thy devotees, for them, in achieving You, what are not the ways, what are not the paths, to achieve that God consciousness? For them, from every corner, they will travel and they will reach God consciousness. If they travel, if they go to the movies, if they will enjoy dances, by doing that also they will be diverted towards God consciousness, because they are Thy devotees. Thy devotees have never . . . they never become detached from You. They are always attached [to You]. If they are [making] love with some woman, during that period also they are diverted towards God consciousness. This is the divinity of Thy devotees.
But, on the contrary, nikṛṣṭānāṁ, those who are not devotedly devoted to You, kāni na āvarṇāni, for them, there are obstacles everywhere; everywhere for them, there are obstacles, there is hindrance. If they do sādhanā, by that doing sādhanā, they are carried away from God consciousness. If they meditate properly with one-pointedness, by meditating properly in one-pointedness, they are carried away from God consciousness. And, on the contrary, when there are Thy devotees, real devotees, they don’t meditate at all and they are carried to God consciousness. This is the divinity in Thy devotees.
Now, the last one:
कदाचित्क्वापि लभ्यो ऽसि योगेनेतीश वञ्चना ।
अन्यथा सर्वकक्ष्यासु भासि भक्तिमतां कथम् ।१६॥
kadācitkvāpi labhyo’si yogenetīśa vañcanā /
anyathā sarvakakṣyāsu bhāsi bhaktimatāṁ katham //16//
O Lord, when You are achieved by some particular yoga exercise or by a particular meditation, and You are achieved when a person, a devotee, is sentenced to a cave or some secluded corner [and remains] without the struggle of universal activities, then you are achieved by some particular adoption of a particular yoga, but this is a deceit. In a real sense, this is deceit.9
JOHN: To give up the world and adopt special yogas.
SWAMIJI: To give up the world and achieve God consciousness. You will never achieve God consciousness after shunning the activities of the universe. On the contrary, when you are situated in the universe and you are given to the universal activities, then there is the possibility of achieving the state of God consciousness. So, it seems that this universe is not separate from the state of God consciousness. The universe is the real manifestation of God consciousness and this universe is just the reality of His nature. If you shun this reality of His nature, how can you achieve God consciousness? So, it is deceit. It is just deceit. When you go to a cave and shun all the activities of the universe, all your activities of daily life, and [think] that you will achieve God consciousness, it is deceit, you are wrong there.
Anyathā sarvakakṣyāsu bhāsi bhaktimatāṁ. There are such devotees in this universe who are existing–and I have experienced those devotees who are existing in universal activities–they have become one with Thee in universal activities.10
So, you should find out the way to achieve God in the activity of the universe, not by shunning it. This is Shaivism.
The real way of perceiving You is to perceive You in each and every action of life.
9 “When Your existence is found and realized at a particular period and at a particular place–say [within the] heart or between the two eyebrows or [some particular place] like that–and by the performance of some particular yoga, You are found, this kind of finding You is only a deceit to the finder. It is only deceit or deception. Actually, they don’t find You. You are not found this way.” Śivastotrāvalī of Utpaladeva, translation and commentary by Swami Lakshmanjoo (additional audio recording, USF archives, Los Angeles, 1980).
10 “They perceive Your presence in each and every action of the world. In worldly actions also, they perceive Your presence.” Ibid.Source: Chapter 1 verse 14-16 of the
Hymns to Shiva, Utpaladeva’s Shivastotravali,
revealed by Swami Lakshmanjoo