Svayambhu (Shiva) and the Enchanted Meadow
Once upon a time there was a boy who was born rather appeared in a tribal village North-East of where Himalaya stands today. The Earth was different than. There was an ocean nearby. In modern terminology, the boy was self-born many thousands of years ago. A number associated with the boy’s birth year on Earth is inconsequential because we are talking about the Immortal Being. Only Goddess knows why she gave birth to the boy... Perhaps it is the Divine Mystery which only Goddess can fathom. In modern terminology, the boy’s name can be attributed as Svayambhu (or Shambu or Shiva). We will call him by that name.
When the boy was born, he simply appeared on a bed of grass, twigs and flowers in a meadow next to where once stood ‘the Sacred Tree of Truth’. This area was next a small mountain range which had been slowly rising every year. The residents who lived in the foothills of the small mountain range were descendants of ancient humans who lived in the region for more than 100,000 years and developed a very deep sense of belonging to the area. Here in blossomed the flower of spirituality for the first time on Earth. Here in flourished the spiritual birth of the new humanity directly evolving from the Adi Manav (Ancient Human) as initiated by the Goddess. ‘The Seekers of Truth’, as they called themselves, had plenty to eat and drink. They were a special group being given all of the riches of the land and the sea by the Goddess.
Their tribal leader, who lived a long life, was tall and thin, always carried a staff that he himself carved out of the Sacred Tree of Truth. The Sacred Tree of Truth was named as such because it was under that tree that the tribal leader had felt a deep sensation in the center of his chest when he was young. Over the years, the sensation grew into a feeling of well being, of security, of clarity and deep sense of reverence for everything and everyone. When he became a teenager he turned into a recluse and spent more time on his own away from his tribe. He wore the necklace made of the Tiger’s teeth that attacked him one day under that tree. He eventually killed the Tiger with a stone knife. That day he realized that he was beyond fear. Soon he became the center of attention by other groups who dwelt in that area when he cleared their habitat of the ferocious animals and taught them how to gather firewood, collect animal skin to wear and combat cold, and grow food by planting specific seeds that tasted like Earth. He taught them how to create channels of water from the flowing streams to irrigate the plants. He even taught them how to build a stone-wood-twig-leave greenhouse to grow food during harsh winter years, the winter years that sometimes lasted more than 10 years. After many years of wandering around the region and swimming with sea creatures far and wide, he was finally welcomed back by his own tribe who appointed him their leader. They had heard stories of one of their own tribal members as ‘The One Who Knows’ from the neighboring tribes. ‘The One Who Knows’ agreed to be their leader and part of the clan again only if the tribe stopped quarreling and fighting with other tribes in the region. He said that their tribe would be known the White Tribe of Peace and that the other tribes will likewise be named. Soon he initiated his tribal members and other tribes into secrets that he knew. Most of the secrets had to do with survival in the harsh weather and how to defend one from the menacing predators and wild animals nearby. More importantly, he gave them a sense of purpose and made them realize that they belonged to the land and they were there for a reason.
One day, while looking at the blue-silvery moonlight, ‘The One Who Knows’ had a vision. He looked within while focusing on the glow in the center of his heart and saw the entire landscape slipping away and changing into a tall mountain range. He saw a small seed under a tree full of fire-like light changing into very tall, snow-clad peaks that almost touched the sky. He then saw how the ocean retreated and became the mountain. Then he saw how his tribe evolved into wandering ascetics who carried special knowledge about ‘the glow in the center of his heart’ and passed it on to their descendants. This vision filled him with ecstasy and delight. He decided to tell his wife and children about the vision and told them to prepare to move at moment’s notice. He could not tell how soon the vision will come true but he knew that the small mountain next to their dwellings had been growing every year and his youngest daughter had felt ground moving one day when she was playing in the valley nearby. These were signs that the vision was coming true and that they will have to find a safer ground once the ocean started to retreat. But soon after he forgot about the vision as the events did not happen as fast as his vision.
Years passed. The tribal leader became wiser and more compassionate. He could now talk to the animals, the birds, the plants and the small mountain. He felt his thoughts were echoed by the mountain. Then one day, his youngest daughter came running towards him and said, ‘come and take a look. There is a beautiful light on the ground in the meadow next to your tree’. Everyone gathered around to see the white light on the ground next to Sacred Tree of Truth. Word spread. A few members from the nearby tribe and other tribes came to witness the event. For many years, the light stayed and gave away effulgent light gleaming in the sunshine and moonlight, and burning bright during the dark/moonless nights. People of the Nine Tribes of the region gathered together and talked about the mysterious light and its origins. In the end they all turned to the “The One Who Knows’ for answer. ‘The One Who Knows’ nodded his head and said, “I am sorry, I do not know what this light is, where it came from and who created it.’ He told them that the light was special and it is best to send the young boys and girls of the tribes there to acquire ‘knowledge ’ of the meadow. He then formed the ‘School of Mysterious Light’ in the meadow. The school taught the teenage boys and girls how to meditate and look within. The tribal leader called himself ‘Som’ because that’s what he heard from the Mysterious Light one day when he was meditating and hanging out in the meadow turning up stones to see what was underneath the light. The light seemed to be in tact no matter what. Som became more peaceful and grew more loving towards all as he spent more time there teaching the young boys and girls how to be ‘in the flow of things’. He taught them how to see the same Mysterious Light in the center of their hearts and their mind while doing daily activities such as fishing, hunting, and preparing food. He told them that by focusing on this light brought him happiness. It made him rich with ecstasy and that he felt secure.
Som was finally able to unite the Nine Tribes. It took him many years to negotiate terms between the tribes, and to turn their unwillingness to cooperate with each other to a peace treaty. Som told them that they don’t need to fight because there was plenty for every one. Soon his methods of farming and hunting became known to all who adopted them. All Nine Tribes became prosperous. The clan members multiplied and became little towns with small settlements.
Som was happy to see the unification. It brought him further peace and tranquility. His sons and daughters had now become grandfathers and grandmothers. He saw that they were wise and loving. They revered and respected the Nature around them. His wife had advanced and became more loving and compassionate as years passed by. He noticed that his wife had a special power to heal the wounds. She would simply place her hand over the injury and the person would be cured of the wound next day. When Som asked his wife, how she did that, she replied, ‘I am not sure. But the gift came to me after the appearance of the Mysterious Light in the meadow’. She said, that this is the gift from Earth and she felt happier when she healed people. In the years after the appearance of the Mysterious Light, she had healed and cured cuts, wounds of men and women. She had helped women of the neighboring tribe who used to have a very large number of miscarriages. She had traveled far to the sea-tribe and learned a few of their secrets which she brought to the land. Som felt happy. He became more fulfilled and spent more time in the meadow under the ‘Scared Tree of Truth’.
And so it happened. One day Som came to the meadow and gathered the fire-wood and found a Tiger cub next to the ‘Scared Tree of Truth’. He did not know there were any wild animals there as the area had been long been cleared of any animals. He played with the cub a bit and examined its teeth. Som realized that he had never seen such a beautiful animal before. He pulled the cub’s whiskers. The Cub snarled at him in its childish roar. Som was amused and chuckled. The chuckle soon grew into a full blown laughter as this was the first time he had experienced such a sensation. It was so delightful and free-flowing. Som laughed and laughed and laughed. He laughed at everything. He looked up at the sky peering through the meadow trees and laughed at it. He laughed at the ‘Scared Tree of Truth’. He pointed at his own necklace and self-stitched clothes made up of animal hide and laughed. He could not stop laughing. He felt light as feather and laughed. Seeing him laugh, the Cub set down on its back and paws facing front, started licking the crevice between its big toe and the paw, purring at the same time. Som laughed and danced and felt a renewed joy permeating through his body. He felt what his wife must have felt while healing the wounds. He felt what the fish must feel while swimming in the ocean. He felt what the Cub was feeling while licking his paws. He felt what the trees felt when the wind glided through their leaves. He felt was the stones felt while being protruded in the grounds for hundreds and thousands of years. He felt the gushing of the river through his village. He felt what the fire felt while leaping boundless and across the forests. He felt everything. He felt the whole life around him. He became one with all. He started whirling on this foot as he did when he was a child. After about an hour of whirling, he fell down on the ground next to the Cub and the Mysterious Light. He put his head on a stone and closed his eyes and died. Cub ran away into the woods and disappeared.
Upon hearing the news, a group of men and women who were known as the Nine Sages, each from one of the Nine Tribes, appeared in the meadow next to the body. They formed a circle around it. A few of his disciples and his family formed the second ring around the inner circle. It was dark, moonless night. They kept silent vigil through the night (as it was customary to do so when someone passed away). They remembered what Som had taught them about Mother Nature and about the glow in the center of the chest. The Nine Sages carried staffs and thumped the staffs on the ground while looking at the Mysterious Light. They hummed and chanted in a low rumble. Soon, a gush of wind came and the body simply floated in the air and was consumed in a fire born out of the Mysterious Light. The light became brighter and brighter. He enveloped the first ring of Nine Sages and became blinding to the rest. The Sages kept thumping their staffs and observing the light as if directed by an unknown force to do so. Then the light became dimmer until it disappeared. Morning sun filtered through the high canopy and it shone on the spot where the light once was. Most of the people who gathered had now dispersed to their home and villages. The Nine Sages and Som’s wife were around and kept the vigil. As the rays of Sun hit the stone and the grass where Som’s body was, the small patch of Earth began vibrating. Som’s wife thought it was the rumble that her daughter used to experience when she was young. The Sages stood motionless, looking within and quieting themselves. The sadness and grim of the scene gave way to an enchanted scenario. As Earth rumbled, the trees shook, and a loud thunder over the mountain next to the meadow was heard. It felt like the mountain splitting apart. Next, the rumble turned in to tremors and tremors turned into Earthquake. Surprisingly, the meadow and its trees trembled very little and eventually fell motionless while ground started shaking vigorously away from it where the village stood. Som’s wife felt an incredible joy and ecstasy. She thought is going to explode with ecstasy.. An incredible sense of well-being came over her. The female sages began feeling the same sensation. Soon they got down on the ground, laid down with their head towards the spot where the Mysterious Light once appeared. Som’s wife did the same as if guided by an unknown force. The male sages through their staffs away and laid down in a similar fashion and thus they all created a wheel. Their bodies felt lighter as they felt a deep connection with the Earth which filled their hearts. The glow in the center of the heart that Som often talked about now became palpable and irresistible. They felt deep love towards all. Tears of joy started flowing down Som’s wife and she felt ecstatic. Soon they all became motionless and became one with Earth. The ground shook and rumbled and the Nine Sages along with Som’s wife simply were engulfed by the moving Earth as they all became part of it. A jagged peak full of stones and sea-bed appeared underneath the small mountain next to the meadow. The Earthquake became more prominent and the tectonic plates that moved underneath pushed the small mountain upward. The mountain started rising, and small flat mountain now developed sharp jagged peaks which upon millions of years to come be Himalaya. The villages nearby were severely damaged and took many years to rebuild.
The meadow returned to its normal state after a few years and out of nowhere, appeared a small boy. The boy was left on his own by the villagers and was aptly named, Svayambhu (Shambhu) in part because of the mysterious nature of the meadow and in part because the boy was looked after by a Tigress who roamed the surrounding woods. If anyone tried getting close to the meadow or the boy, the Tigress would appear and jump towards them. She never attacked anyone but made sure that no one would come close to the boy. Boy grew up in the meadow, learning from the Tigress and the jungle. He learned to hunt, build a shelter while observing the village building nearby. He made a weapon out of an old relic that found in the meadow. Soon the Tigress died and the boy took her skin and threw it on his body for protection against other animals and cold. He never departed from that skin. He played in the meadow, the slowly rising mountain range, and the river. He would capture and ride wild boars.
Sometimes he would hike up the peaks of the mountain ranges by himself. He eventually visited the villages nearby where he was revered as the Svayambhu. He had no association with the villages nor did he care for a relatively comfortable life. He was full of compassion towards animals, birds, and the villagers. Svayambhu (Shambhu) roamed the local mountain peaks, the jungles, the rivers. The villagers were happy to see him and gave him food. The boy ate very little and gave the rest to the needy. He gave away the clothes to the poor tribal folk in the remote areas away from the mountain. Women felt very motherly towards him and made clothes for him out of wool and animal hide. People often found him on the peak next to their villages staring at the open sky and sitting still. The Shepherds brought their flock next to the boy knowing that the animals felt happier-the cows gave more milk, the sheep gave more wool, and chickens gave more eggs. And so Shambhu grew up being an orphan son of many fathers and mothers.
Here ends the story of the childhood and physical origin of the First Yogi of Earth, the MahaYogi, otherwise known as Shiva.