Saturday, March 3, 2012
SIGNIFICANCE OF THE FORM OF SHIVA
Shiva is the last deity of the Hindu Trinity.Lord Shiva represents the vital goodness in the form of Satyam, Shivam, Sundaram i.e.; Truth, Goodness and Beauty .Lord Shiva performs a celestial role of dissolution and recreation of the universe, that's why; he is mostly associated with the words, like destroyer and destruction Literally, Shiva is one in whom the universe “sleeps” after destruction and before the next cycle of creation. All that is born, must die. All that is produced, must disintegrate and be destroyed. This law cannot be violated. The principle that brings about this disintegration, the power behind this destruction, is Shiva.
Another explanation of his role as destroyer is that we invoke Shiva to give us the capacity to destroy all our attachments and unwanted thoughts.He destroys our imperfections in order to ensure our spiritual progress. He destroys our illusions, desires and ignorance. He destroys our evil and negative nature. He destroys our old memories, so that we can move on with the movement of time. He destroys our relationships, attachment, impurities, physical and mental wrong doings, the effects of bad karma, our passions and emotions and many things that stand between us and God as impediments to our progress and inner transformation. And in the end when we have made sufficient progress, when we are ready and prepared, and when we are willing without any inner conflict, he destroys death.
Lord Shiva is known as the ''giver god'', lord of mercy and kindness. He always protects his devotees from evil forces like lust, greed and anger. He is the most kind -hearted God who grants boons and bestows grace to his devotees. Let us try to understand Shiva from different standpoints.
From the highest standpoint, Shiva is the formless, Absolute reality . Shiva’s name itself means auspiciousness. This is our own true nature.From the cosmic standpoint, Shiva represents the Lord of the Universe – the creator, sustainer and destroyer of the world.
From the departmental standpoint, we worship Brahma for creation, Vishnu for sustenance and Shiva for destruction. Since there can be no destruction without creation and vice versa, we cannot attribute creation to one deity and destruction to the other. Our distinction between these three powers is merely to help clarify the various processes of life.
In another aspect, as a particular form that manifested on earth, Shiva is said to have appeared in numerous incarnations as an enlightened master (Guru) who teaches the knowledge of the Self to his disciples. This form is known as Dakshinamurthy.
One explanation for
Ganga sitting on the head of Shiva is that we should learn to keep the head cool and win the world. This is possible only through knowledge and devotion.
On Shiva’s forehead is the crescent moon and in his neck is poison. The former represents the nectar of life and the latter, death. The pair of opposites indicate that we should be able to accept pain as well as pleasure in life and that we should have inner balance and equipoise in the midst of all good and bad experiences.
The poison, kept in his neck, without being swallowed, is significant. He did not become poisonous or bitter himself. In the same way one should be able to go through all experiences of life and still abide in his own true nature, without becoming bitter.
A snake garland adorns his neck. The snake represents the mind that spits out its poison of negative thoughts. Yet if we keep the mind under perfect control, so that it is quiet within and does not agitate us or others, it will lie peacefully in meditation.
The ashes all over his body indicate that our bodies will turn to ashes one day and hence we should rise above the identification with the body even while we are living. The three eyes of Lord Shiva suggest: the Sun is his right eye, the Moon is the left eye and fire, the third eye. Therefor he is three eyed. It is also known as the third eye located between the eye brows is the eye of wisdom while the other two represent love and justice. Thus Shiva exemplifies a good ruler who has both love and justice and also looks at this world with the vision of Knowledge that destroys all ignorance and passion.The trishula (trident), symbolizes the Lord's three fundamental powers of will (iccha), action (kriya) and knowledge (gyana).
So Shiva is the faith whereby we reach the Truth. The damaru (drum) and its two sides separated from each other symbolizes the two entirely dissimilar states of existence, invisible and evident.The small drum of Shiva is the symbol of rhythm & sound. There is rhythm in the movement of the whole universe & sound is the musical & divine medium that comes from His words & carries revelations & the truth.
The bull, Nandi is linked with Shiva and it is considered as his vehicle. The bull symbolizes both power and ignorance. Tiger's skin makes Lord Shiva's clothing and his seat, which illustrates the idea that he is the source of potential energy during the dissolution of the universe. And it is also says that the tiger is the vehicle of Shakthi, the Goddess of all power & force. Shiva is beyond & above any kind of force. He is its master & carries the skin of the tiger as the victor of every force.
Rudraksha: On the request of the divines Lord shiva burnt the three daemon forts called tripurasura who were into disruptive activities. God burnt them without even a weapon just by the smile itself ! Three daemons in those forts who were good and devotees of the Lord came out without any harm by the Lord's Grace ! At this point of time from the Three eyes of the Lord rudrkshas came out. Since it came from the aksha (eye) of Lord rudra (a role played by the Supreme shiva), it is called rudraksha. The Rudraksha necklace worn by the lord shows that he uses his celestial powers without compromise,to maintain law and order.
Shiva lives on the Kailash mountain. There is a beautiful description of it in the 4th canto of Srimad-Bhagavatam, I.E The abode known as Kailāsa is full of different herbs and vegetables, and it is sanctified by Vedic hymns and mystic yoga practice. Thus the residents of that abode are demigods by birth and have all mystic powers. Besides them there are other human beings, who are known as Kinnaras and Gandharvas and are accompanied by their beautiful wives, who are known as Apsarās, or angels.
There are many waterfalls, and in the mountains there are many beautiful caves in which the very beautiful wives of the mystics are found. On Kailash Hill there is always the rhytmical sound of the peacocks' sweet vibrations and the bees' humming. Cuckoos are always singing, and other birds whisper amongst themselves." Srimad-Bhagavatam
In Ramacharitamanas, Tulsidas, in one verse, gives Yasanke ca vibhati bhudarasuta
On the left side of Shiva sits the beautiful Goddess Parvati. He holds
Ganga on his head.With two beautiful goddesses, one above & one beside him, He is not distracted & is meditating! Just imagine how easily, even a slight noise can distract us, when we meditate!! That is Shiva's power of concentration & meditation.
Thus Shiva is a complex god, in terms of nature and represents contradictory qualities, being the destroyer and the restorer simultaneously.
COLLECTION FROM VARIOUS SOURCES AND
MAJOR PART OF THE MESSAGE
FROM CHITRA MADAM.