Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
How long will it take to obtain a boon?
That’s a difficult question with no short answer, and it may depend on the karma of the individual. But the procedure is very short and simple, so one can do it daily without much thought or effort.
The Vedic literature tells us that Shiva is quickly pleased. (For instance, in Srimad Bhagavatam 10.88.20, Shiva says “prīyeya toyena nṛṇāṁ prapadyatām”.) Of course, time is relative, and the universe comes and goes in the blink of Shiva’s eye. But there’s reason to believe that “quickly” means in human time.
Once we begin our scientific study to collect and analyze user results, then we will have an idea of how long it takes people to get boons. Don’t forget, “Boons” are only half of this project, the other half is “Salvation” (which is important since you exist for more than one lifetime).
Can I do the offering of water more than once a day?
Certainly. However, the idea of the sādhana is to be short and simple and take up very little time and effort, so that one can get about the business of living one’s life and making it better. So once a day is sufficient. That said, if you feel the need for help at any moment, and you have a minute to spare, you can offer the water again. And of course, you can say the “Śivāya namaḥ” mantra at any time.
What if I miss a day of offering water?
No problem, just keep going. The procedure is “restartable” every day. If you really want to, you can make up for it by doing it twice the next day.
Can an atheist or agnostic do this sādhana?
Yes, because no belief in God is required. “Shiva” is a name of the supreme cosmic principle, the supreme law of nature. It is also known as “brahman”, “sat-chit-ānanda”, and (in physics) the Unified Field.
Can a Christian (Muslim, Jew, etc.) do this sādhana?
Yes, but only if it does not conflict with their religious beliefs. When in doubt, they should seek the advice of someone who is authoritative in the teachings of their religion.
What if I feel like stopping?
Then do so. The sādhana is intended to be simple and easy, and if you feel resistance then it won’t be easy. You can always restart the sādhana at any time. Sometimes you need to stop in order to give the unconscious mind time to process something before you can proceed.
Does this sādhana involve devotion (“bhakti”)?
That depends on how you define “devotion”. Shiva represents your “highest Self”. The great Advaitin philosopher Shankara gives this definition: “Among things conducive to Liberation, devotion holds the supreme place. The seeking after one’s real nature is designated as devotion.” (Adi Shankara, Vivekachudamani, verse 31.) This sādhana itself is a short and simple means of devotion, but it has no “satsang”, “pūja”, “kirtan”, “bhajan”, etc. which people commonly associate with “bhakti”. (Of course one is free to do such activities, this sādhana is not exclusive.)
Can one use a mantra other than “Śivāya namaḥ”?
The reasons for preferring this mantra are explained on the Salvation webpage. But it’s possible to use other mantras (e.g. of a “ishta-devatā”), and this will be discussed more in the future. (For example, the Vishnu Sādhana webpage gives a possible mantra for followers of Vishnu.) However, for the purposes of seeking a boon, it is still recommended to do the offering of water to Shiva (as described on the Boons webpage, because Shiva is said to be the most easily and quickly pleased of all deities. (“Āśutoṣa”, “quickly pleased”, is a name of Shiva.)
Should one have a specific boon in mind?
It’s not necessary to have any boon in mind in order to do the sādhana. Of course, were Shiva to grant you a boon and ask you to name it, you might want to have something in mind. The boon you have in mind need not be fixed, it could change from day to day. It’s important that the boon not be evil or purely selfish, because then it will backfire on you (just as it backfired on the “asura” mentioned in Srimad Bhagavatam chapter 10.88.)
Should one visualize a desired boon?
No visualization is necessary, and could be a hindrance if it requires concentration. Just have an idea of some boon you would like to receive, and accept that it could take a long time to happen, so don’t stress about it.
Can the simple sādhana be enhanced?
The short answer is “yes”, and more information will be provided in the future. Also, you may already know things (such as Sanskrit mantras and rituals) which you would like to add. The main thing of this sādhana is to keep it short and simple so you can easily do it every day without any concentration or strain.
More answers will be added as questions come in. If you don’t find an answer on this page or by searching the website, then submit your question via the Contact page.