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The significance of the form of Lord Shiva

Discussion in 'Chitvish on Hindu Culture & Vedanta' started by Chitvish, Feb 15, 2007.

  1. Chitvish

    Chitvish Moderator IL Hall of Fame

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    Shiva is the last deity of the Hindu Trinity. He is responsible for the dissolution of the universe. 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.

    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.

    He is three eyed. 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.

    So Shiva is the faith whereby we reach the Truth.

    Love,
    Chithra.
     

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  2. Chitvish

    Chitvish Moderator IL Hall of Fame

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    Let me close with the first verse of Namashivaya Thiruppathikam sung by Thirujnana Sambandhar , before he joined Shivajothi with his wife Sthothra Poornambikai:

    காதலாகி கசிந்து கண்ணீர் மல்கி
    ஓதுவார் தமை நன்னெறிக் குய்ப்பது
    வேத நான்கினு மெய்ப்பொருளாவது
    நாதன் நாமம் நமசிவாயவே

    Posted below is a Shivalingam Kolam. I hope you all enjoy it.

    Love,
    Chithra.
     

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  3. vmur

    vmur Silver IL'ite

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    Dear ChitVish,

    Thanks for the enlightening article on Lord Shiva and his 108 potris. It is somewhat easy to learn and memorize comparitively. You have chosen a right day for bringing to us the glories of Lord Shiva, being a Maha Pradosham and a Thursday.

    I did not know so much about the significance of the various symbols of Lord Shiva with respect to our lives. Your articles are soo enlightening.

    The kolam as always is meticulous and eye-captivating.

    Anbe Sivam!
    Vidya
     
  4. Chitvish

    Chitvish Moderator IL Hall of Fame

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    Om Namashivaya !

    Dear Vidya,
    You are too kind to me in posting a F B so quickly !
    There is so much to write about Shiva, that it was a challenge to "contain" in one post.
    Anyway, let me add one more point here. 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.

    Tomorrow is Shivaratri.
    Love,
    Chithra.
     
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  5. vmur

    vmur Silver IL'ite

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    Oops! Thanks for reminding, forgot tomorrow is Feb 15th-I am so immersed in making preparations for the trip!
     
  6. Kamla

    Kamla IL Hall of Fame

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    Thank you for a timely post on Lord Shiva.
    I liked the way you have pointed the ways one can look at the significance of Lord Shiva and it is so true that these distinctions are only for our understanding.
    I also liked the significance of the snake around His neck. I have never seen it as such.
    Once again, I was admiring the floral Shiva kolam. These floral kolams are indeed a feast to the eyes.
    Have a nice Shivaratri Chitra...do you stay up all night? Remember being up all night along with our cousins and young aunt and uncle during our visits to Madras as a young girl. Was that me, feels like it was in another birth!

    L, Kamla
     
  7. perfectly_perfect

    perfectly_perfect Silver IL'ite

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    Dear Chitra,
    Just now read your wonderful posting about Lord Shiva. I enjoyed reading each and every line of your postings. What you wrote was not new to me but i never thought it that deeply as you did. I was knowing the fact but never thought what that indicates.
    Nice write up.
    Thanks for sharing your eye opening views abt Lord Shiva with us.
     
  8. sundaribhaskar

    sundaribhaskar Bronze IL'ite

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    Dear Chithra madam,

    That was an apt writing on shiva ; thanks for it..

    The kolam was cute.. you must have taken lot of time and ofcourse must have patience to do this....

    :wave
    Sundari Bhaskar
     
  9. vidhi

    vidhi Senior IL'ite

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    Dear Chitra

    A very good narration of Shiva. Helps us to understand better. Thank you very much. I write Omnamashivaya 108 times daily.

    regards
    vidhi
     
  10. Chitvish

    Chitvish Moderator IL Hall of Fame

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    My dear Kamla,
    Thankyou very much for the prompt F B.
    Now a days, I don't stay awake all night - those days are all over !
    I plan to be on a fruit diet, God willing !
    Love,
    Chithra.
     

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