Ecstasy or Cessation?

Yogis have followed one of two paths; the ecstatic or that of cessation. Are they necessarily distinct? Does it mean that in our practice we are guided either by that which uplifts us, pursuing our bliss or by creating rules that ensure we don’t go down the rabbit hole of desire?

 What then is the role of desire for the yogi? Kāma is a choice in itself. Have faith in your desire and cessation itself will be desirable.



I would like to share a selected passage from the Kumārasambhava that describes Śiva in meditation. It is taken from James Mallinson’s book ‘The Roots of Yoga’


“Kāma, the god of love, his body about to fall,

Saw Three-Eyed Śiva in meditation,

Seated on a cedarwood dais covered by a tiger skin;

His upper body held steady by his yogic posture,

Straight and erect, his shoulders rounded,

Seeming, from the placing of his upturned hands,

To have an open lotus in his lap;

His crown of dreadlocks bound up by a snake,

A double-stringed rudrāksa rosary hanging from his hand,

He was wearing a knotted deerskin made a bluer black

By the glow cast from his neck;

With his eyes gazing downwards,

Their fierce pupils dimmed and stilled,

Holding the brows steady, lashes unflickering,

He was focusing on his nose;

As a result of restraining his inner winds

He was like a cloud without the rage of rain,

Like a pot of water without a ripple,

Like an unflickering lamp in a place without wind;

With the beams of light from his head,

Which had found a way out of the eyes

Of the skull in his crest,

He was dulling the splendor,

More delicate than a lotus thread,

Of the young moon;

Controlling his mind in a samādhi,

Checking its motion through the nine doors

And fixing it in his heart,

He was gazing on the self in the self,

Which the sages know to be imperishable.”


So much to love