The most intense experience for any human being is the possibility of death. Apart from that, humans lack intensity in every aspect of their life be it love, ecstasy, joy, misery, laughter or anything else. This made Shiva sit in the cremation ground, Kayanta meaning ‘where the body ends’- and not ‘where life ends.’ This mentions that if a person lives thinking his physical body to be the be all and end all of everything, then the moment when he has to shed his body becomes the most intense moment for him. We all have to leave behind everything on this planet before our soul departs for the heavenly abode. However, if you have realized yourself beyond your body, then the ‘kayanta’ is not such an intense moment for you.
Foe all us, immortality is a natural state while mortality is the mistake that we all make. One day or the other, we all have to face ‘kayanta’ that is the end of the body has to come. Hence, we should all strive to become a living being and not just a living body. In such a state immortality will just be a state for us, no existential change would be needed in such a state of affairs. It is for this reason that enlightenment is referred to as realization and not as an accomplishment or achievement. This makes you naturally immortal.
The word ‘Shma’ refers to a dead body or corpse and ‘shan’ refers to bed. Shiva shifted his place of residing to the ‘kayanta’ or ‘shmashan’ where the dead bodies lie because he realized that dealing with living beings is a waste of time as it is difficult to get these mortals to the pitch of intensity that is required.
Every living body has two fundamental forces which instigate two things; one is the instinct of survival and second is to induce a longing to expand limitlessly. The latter lets you experience full intensity of life, unlike the former. Every creature has a dominant instinct of survival; however, we can evolve and long to expand as we reach higher levels of awareness and intelligence.
Lord Shiva sits in the cremation ground, a place where life makes utmost sense. However, this makes sense for only those individuals who are not fearful and who are not on self-preservation mode. They who are ready to expand and touch the ultimate, not those who want to survive. Shiva believes that one requires only four limbs and some working brain cells to survive and this can be attained by any form of creature be it grasshoppers, animals or humans. However, the essence of human life signifies that humans have much more sense than any other creature which makes them the most superior form of creation. Humans, however, remember Shiva only in times of distress, however, the Lord says that whatever one does, he should focus on achieving that higher level of intensity.
Last, but not the least, sitting in the cremation ground, Shiva advices his disciples that to die is a part of the creation but to curtail life is not right and this can be done by making your life process intense, worthwhile and meaningful