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The Sacred Anatomy of God by Dr. Shreeram Iyer

This small article is aimed at giving a brief idea about the nature of god and how to attune oneself to the divine attributes through the use of letters as per the classical practices of Shaivism. The adept who practice this should have at least reached the eighth step of Initiation Into Hermetics or should have experience with the third work, of the Czech hermetic magician’s third book The Key to the True Qabbalah. This practice will also be helpful to dynamise the four fundamental qualities of divinity in the spirit which is mentioned in the ninth step of Initiation Into Hermetics.

God in Non dual Shaivism

The supreme god or the divine providence in this specific school is considered to be pure consciousness. The pure consciousness is compared to self illuminating light. The supreme god also called as Para-Shiva is said to assume two forms. In his aspect of manifestation,he assumes the form of the cosmos and multitudes of objects within it. In his transcended aspect he is the supreme subjective consciousness which manifests as the objective cosmos. The ability of the supreme to independently manifest anything is termed as Swatantra Shakti. Swatantra translates to sovereign power here. The supreme god head is considered to have five principle attributes,and conducts five functions. Hence the anthropomorphic images of Para-Shiva is depicted with five heads, representing the five attributes,five forms and five actions of the supreme consciousness.

A brief description of the five attributes and five actions will be given below.

They are:
1) Chit or Consciousness
2) Ananda or Bliss
3) Icha or Will
4) Jnana or Knowledge
5) Kriya or Action

Chit or Consciousness

Chit is the shakti which is expressed as the consciousness of the lord. It is through this power that he reveals himself. He shines forth as the ultimate subject experiencing himself as the pure I (Aham). The action corresponding to this attribute is called as Anugraha or ‘grace, through this action’, the limited objects are liberated and the empirical souls realize their true selves and identity within the supreme lord. This action is termed grace or revealing. The supreme lord’s flow of grace is unique and is on a different level when compared to the three actions of emanation, preservation, and dissolution or withdrawal. 

Through this act, he ends the sweet sportive play of self-limited and self-contracted nature and restores himself to his real infinite blissful nature. The face representing this power is called Ishana, the god Sadashiva is a manifestation of this power and corresponds to the element of Akasha. The state of awareness in this dimension is said to be pure illumination or Bhasa.

Ananda Shakti

Ananda Shakti is expressed in the form of bliss, the bliss is in the form of satisfaction which arises as a result of the infinite and complete nature of himself, the form of the ultimate subject who is the causation of everything that exists. This is the power to conceal his real nature at the time of manifestation, The manifestation of the objective cosmos which is seemingly finite and limited and determinate is considered as the exalted state of the supreme god. The face representing this power is called Tat-Purusha and the divinity Maheswara is a manifestation of this power and corresponds to the air element.

Icha Shakti

Icha Shakti which is expressed in the form of will is the power through which the desire to create arises in the consciousness of the supreme lord. This is the raw will of the lord to create or the creative potential of the supreme lord. The action pertaining to Icha or will is creation, also called as Srishti.  The supreme Subject Para-Shiva out of his own will manifests the cosmos which is inherent in him. He unfolds the creation in his own mental dimension as the canvas out of his free will. When the supreme lord manifests the universe he limits himself in the form of limited objects and subjects This action is called as Srishti or emanation. The face representing this power and action is called Aghora. The god Rudra is a manifestation of this power and corresponds to the fire element.

Jnana Shakti

Jnana or knowledge is the aspect of the supreme lord through which the multitudes of objects are created and made to shine and become conscious. All the multitudes of manifestations in the objective world are manifestations of his own self. There is nothing outside his consciousness. Every object is of his own nature and manifests within himself. The action corresponding to this attribute is sustenance or preservation of the objective cosmos, also called as Stithi . The face representing this power is called Vamadeva, the god Vishnu is a manifestation of this power and corresponds to the water element.

Kriya Shakti

Kriya shakti which is the action of the supreme lord is the power of the god, to actualize the objects or manifest the multitudes of objects in the form of a cosmos. With this power, Para-shiva manifests the objects in his consciousness in the objective world as the universe. It is through Kriya-Shakti that he manifests himself in the form of each and every shape through his creative activity. Kriya Shakti also plays an important role in withdrawing the objective world back into himself. The face representing this power is called Sadyojatha. The god Brahma is a manifestation of this power and corresponds to the earth element.  

Traditionally the threefold functions of god are creation, preservation, and destruction. But in spiritual doctrines of Shaivism, the term emanation is used instead of creation, and withdrawal is used instead of destruction. This is due to the fact that the supreme god is considered the ultimate subject experiencing everything, as such, there is no creation or destruction. The cosmos is just a result of the self-awareness of the supreme god as the objective world. The term withdrawal denotes the aspect where the inner awareness is predominant and the awareness shifts to the subjective dimension from the objective world. In this phase, the duality is destroyed and the objective cosmos is realised to be one with the subjective mind, or the inherent oneness of the subject and object is realised.

The Five Syllabled Mantra

he practice that we are gonna see is something unique to Shaivisim. The five-syllabled mantras ie Na Ma Shi Va YA are the embodiment of the above said five attributes, five actions, and the five divinities. As such it is considered as the sonic body of the supreme godhead and embodiment of everything in existence and beyond. The mantra is misunderstood in modern times, the author has seen many people singing the mantra like a song or the mantra is literally translated as “obeisance to Shiva”. The mantra should be used in a specific manner to realise the divine qualities in oneself and to realise the union of the self with the supreme god.

Na – This letter represents the Kriya Shakti of the supreme subject, it should be vibrated in a yellow hue in the sacrococcygeal region.

Ma – This letter represents the Jnana-Shakti of the supreme subject and should be vibrated in the organs of procreation in white colour similar to that of a conch shell.


Shi – This syllable represents the Icha-Shakti of the lord and should be vibrated in the heart. The colour of the letter is bright red.


Va –  This letter represents the Ananda-Shakti. This letter should be visualised in the mouth while being vibrated in a black tone.


Ya – This letter represents the Chit-Shakti and should be vibrated in the crown or vertex of the cranium in a smoky grey tone. 


This is the most basic practice with the five -syllabled mantra. There are many variations which are used to realise specific divine principles of the supreme god. For example, Shi Va Ya Na Ma is the mantra of Icha Shakti specifically and is said to be the five-syllabled mantra of Aghora Shiva and is practiced in a different manner. Hence it is recommended to stick to the basic practice before the adept move to the advanced ones. Also, it is highly recommended that the one practices this spiritual exercise has considerable control over the five elements,hence it is recommended to try this practice after successfully completing the eighth step in Initiation Into Hermetics.

To find out more about Shreeram please visit his author page.

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