The basic beej mantra, Aum Namah Shivaya, the panchakshri, inspires elevation to the highest levels of consciousness. Marking the beginning of Creation, it is also equated with the Nada Brahmn.

Shiva, as creator-destructor, is invoked through this mantra at the beginning of any austerity and through japa, meditation. Shiva is synonymous with cosmic time, symbolising the beginning of awareness, that which created the universe.

The concept of maya, or illusion, is woven around it to distinguish the different levels of consciousness.

Remembering Shiva reciting the beej mantra and studying the Shiva Purana can lead the spiritual seeker to higher realms of awareness, aspiring to merge in the mahavakya, ‘Shivoham’, to the highest level of consciousness where the individual ego dissolves into the Absolute Self. Sadhana is the acme of human life, as it constantly evolves towards perfection.

Ignorance is the beginning of the quest for knowledge. From ignorance arises the impulse to know.

The journey is arduous, tricky, at times, painful. But having begun it, with proper sadhana and swadhaya, there is no looking back.

As silence stills the mind, the moment is transfused with radiance and dynamism.

Jivanmuktas, yogis, nityasiddhas and chiranjivis — all spiritually evolved — have, with their energies, lent a helping hand to aspirants on the spiritual path.

They have cautioned that shortcuts are to be abjured on the spiritual journey. There should be no half measure, no stopgap measure. Discipline is required of the aspirant in whatever state of conditioning he may be.