Welcome to the Siddha Yoga path
Sign InSubscribe to Update Emails
Mahashivaratri 2023

The Hunter and The Deer

Click here to share
As I read this story, I feel certain that even in the deepest, darkest, most lonely moments of my life, when I follow my dharma, grace will rise and the Self will manifest.

Sydney, Australia

This year on Mahashivaratri I was able to understand this story from a completely new perspective. As I started reading it, a question arose from deep within myself: “How am I like the hunter?”

It was very clear to me that this question was not related to the literal meaning of the word hunter but rather to the mental, emotional, and behavioral patterns that are not in alignment with my higher Self.
As the hunter began to purify his mind more and more, he began to have access to windows in time in which he had the opportunity to pause and take a new and beneficial course of action. Similarly, as I purify my mind by engaging with the practices, my negative habits and tendencies start to fall away, and more and more I experience my true essence. 

New York, United States

The image of the forest, bilva tree, and shiva lingam is so very beautiful. To me it is like a wave of the heart’s deep green light of compassion transformed into a forest one can enter.

Reading about the bilva tree and leaves brought my mind back to being in Gurudev Siddha Peeth when I offered seva caring for the sacred bilva tree. I experience a deep and mysterious connection with the Guru through the bilva leaves, and even just thinking of this connection, I find myself immersed in a state of love.

California, United States

I love the story of “The Hunter and the Deer.” Reading it each year during Mahashivaratri reminds me to show compassion to all living beings, including animals.
Embracing compassion in this way allows me to purify my heart and invoke the grace of Lord Shiva.

Georgia, United States

Whenever I listen to or read this story, I am moved again and again. I feel Lord Shiva’s abundant grace—when the hunter’s mind became transformed by devotion, Lord Shiva not only granted him liberation, but also conferred the boon that the benefits of worship on that night would be multiplied a thousand times.
I feel so blessed by Shiva’s boundless gift to the hunter. Still today, by worshiping Lord Shiva on the night of Mahashivaratri, the benefits are multiplied a thousandfold!

Bienenbüttel, Germany

My prayer and intention from the contemplation of this story is that my mind and heart become as purified as the hunter’s. May true compassion for myself and others arise from within.

New York, United States

This beautiful story reminds me that through worship, compassion arises. When I experience compassion, I can know that it is the fruit of worship, whether inadvertent or deliberate. With this compassion arises reverence for all life. I don’t want to harm another living thing—even if I begin by thinking it will serve my needs to do so. The story tells me that when worship becomes fully mature, only one desire remains, and that is to merge with God. Liberation naturally follows, by God’s infinite grace.

Castlemaine, Australia

For me, the image of the lingam in the forest that introduces this story tells a whole story in itself. It says to me, “No matter how entangled you may get in the forest of your daily obligations and activities, the opportunity for worship and remembrance of the Lord is always present.” The lush greenery and the graceful figure of the deer also remind me to nourish my heart by making more opportunities for myself to connect to the natural world in the course of every day, no matter what.

Illinois, United States

I love the way Gurumayi and Baba teach with stories. The stories stay with me, and every time I read or hear them, they are not only reminders but also sources of new understanding.

This time, what came up for me when I read the story of the hunter and the deer is that it was not only compassion that arose within the hunter. He also experienced contentment, the fullness and abundance of the Self. When offered a boon, he said, “My mind has become absorbed in you. There is nothing more I could want.”

As I reflected on this, I felt drawn inside and began to connect to that sweet feeling of contentment myself, a place of inner stillness and completeness.

Virginia, United States

Thank you for posting this story as Mahashivaratri approaches.
I know this story and have heard it many times before. But today, when I saw the image of the lingam on the front page of the story, I felt tremendous love and shed tears of joy. It was a really beautiful feeling of love and purity. I want to stabilize myself in that.
I am feeling the same kindness for all living beings that the hunter showed to those deer. I am also feeling great love and respect for the mantra. This story truly contains something that starts flowing inside us after we read it with respect.
After experiencing that love, I was silent. It is beyond everything.

Pune, India