The most significant aspect of Shiva is that he opened his third eye. He did many other things—he danced, he meditated, he married twice. But it is only because he opened his third eye that we remember him. After thousands of years, we still bow down to him because there is no substitute for knowing. To know is to be free. And there is no way to know unless your perception is enhanced.
Shiva is significant because he perceived what most human beings failed to perceive. That is what the third eye means. People say when Shiva opened his third eye, fire came out of it. This fire indicates that within himself, he burnt everything that he thought mattered to him. Within himself, he became a kiln that burnt everything.
And then, from every pore of his body, instead of sweat and blood, ash came out. He burnt every shred of ignorance—everything that one believes as true. Once this was done, the opening of the third eye could not be denied to him.
The Two Ways
There are two ways of opening the third eye. One way is, the inside has become a total vacuum so the doorway gets sucked in and has to naturally open. Shiva has burnt not only his thought, his emotion, his relationships and possessions—he has burnt his very being. There is a total vacuum.
Another way of opening the third eye is you contain everything inside. You do not find any expression for your thought, emotion or energy. If you remain silent for four days, on the fifth day you will suddenly feel like singing. If you do not know how to sing, you will want to howl. But if you do not let anything go, so much pressure will build up that the door will get knocked open from inside.
The Middle Path
However, if you are diplomatic, if you believe in the middle path, that means you do not wish to go anywhere. The middle path is just your comfort zone, neither this, nor that. It does not matter where you go, you do your own stuff—that is the middle path.
Let’s say you were walking on the street and you came across a big rock. There are only two ways to go around it. In one direction, a tiger is growling. In the other direction, a fire is burning. If you think the middle path is the best way and walk into the rock, it will only give you good exercise for a while. You do not go anywhere.
So, either you become empty and the sheer power of vacuum will open it, or you build a pressure in you and it will burst open—these are the two ways. The first way is a better option because if you open the door by building pressure, it may open up today and shut itself tomorrow. Or, before enough pressure builds up, something else may freak in you and you may run away. It is a lot of torture not letting a single thought or emotion find expression, not uttering a single word, not finding expression to a single opinion or idea that arises in your mind. It can make you burst. But if you do hold everything intact, the third eye will open.
Sadhguru is a yogi, mystic, a bestselling author and poet. He was conferred the Padma Vibhushan in 2017. Isha.sadhguru.org