Mahashivaratri 2014

Om Shivayo shantayo karanatrayo hetave,

Nivedayami chatmanag, tang gating Parameshwar,

Vishweshwarayo, nara karnava taranaya, gyan pradaya, karunamaya sagaraya,

Karpura dhavalendhu jatodharaye,

Daridre dukhya dahanaya,

Namah Shivaya, Nama Shivaya.

This Shivaratri has been like none other, I am a mother now, yes, a mother. My child has done something absolutely awesome; she has given birth to the mother who sits and types away. A new woman, an awakened woman, a poem composed of love!

Shivoham! Shivoham! Shivoham!

I am Shiva- sadchidananda- pure consciousness, unbridled bliss and absolute truth!

I have been toying with this idea forever, it seems like an eternity, yet, my punitive intellect cannot grasp it. Then again, it is not for the intellect to grasp, one must experience it for oneself. I have no way (it looks that way as of now) to get a cohesive understanding of this subject matter and intellectually analyzing it will not do it.

The mind is a futile tool indeed, it knows nothing. Thoughts like waves coming crashing on the mind-shore, these thoughts they crash and lose form. The idea held in them gets all merged with Nothingness. The mind is a loud cacophony of noises and one like me cannot hope to quieten it. Sadhana is the key and understanding the concept that this body is not me is the key. I can only mindlessly chant- SHIVOHAM!!!!

It’s not that repeating Shivoham does me no good.  According to Physiology, 125 million cells are regenerated every second and regularly chanting Shivoham aids in directing the turbulent mind to stillness, to quietude!!! The mind is pacified; it stops to ponder useless thoughts

ADI SHANKARACHARYA, in his interpretation of the name Shiva, interprets it to have multiple meanings: “The Pure One”, or “the One who is not affected by three Gunas of Prakrti (SattvaRajas, and Tamas)” or “the One who purifies everyone by the very utterance of His name. So no matter how clouded we are by ignorance, even if we feel that we are not adhyatmic or spiritual, still the mere utterance of this holy name will do the needful.

Shiva was always my favourite deity. My father told me that no matter who you were, what you did or had done, Shiva would accept you as his devotee. You just have to open your heart and seek him out,; one reason he is referred to as Bholenath or simple God.

The other Gods are selective and dismissive, very specific rituals and ablutions are required and I was never one for routine.  But, but, but I have been doing Shiv-puja now for years, since my childhood. My mother has shown me the way to perform the puja according to the parampara of Gyanganj, shown to her by her pujya Gurudeva Tunubaba who was the grandson of Paramhamsa Vishuddhananda.

As a child I was told all sorts of Pauranic stories; hours were spent contemplating these stupendous adventures, my imagination ran riot. Shiva forms the trinity of Hinduism with Vishnu and Bramha as the other two aspects. He is the destroyer, his dumaroo signals the end, also he is the patron deity of Arts and Yoga. As a writer, filmmaker, photographer he is the one I must anyway pay obeisance to, but trust me, the process has been effortless and organic. I have always loved Bholenath.

Shiva Linga is the symbol of Lord Shiva who is actually formless. He is Arupa, he is without definition and no words can describe him so we worship the lingam.

Shiva is the language of silence and if you pay heed, he speaks to you and in a profound state of awareness you realize that he is your in-dweller, your innermost self or ‘Atman,’ and who is identical with the supreme ‘Parabrahman.’

It was the story of the Amrit that absolutely fascinated me. Shiva in a totally new avatar! The episode of Dakshayagna infuriated me, how could all the Gods watch Shiva get insulted this way and then the dance of the Nataraj! Must confess, it did scare me to think of Shiva’s penultimate dance. No I did not understand that Shiva is the destroyer of time, his dance is a signal of Mahapralaya; the end of a cycle. Shiva, heralded the new.

On a personal note, Shiva has destroyed many an idea, some relationships, certain dreams from my life, yes, I know it is insignificant in the greater picture, but on very close inspection with a spiritual eye reveals- No, it is significant. I am not a mere drop in the ocean I am the ocean!! And every time he destroyed something, it pointed me to another direction. So destruction eventually led to creation and slowly, slowly my life took shape. At a point I was like a river, one bank had been destroyed, the other one crumbled too. The waters rushed out and took new shape, not defined again by two banks. Shiva crushed my whole life to create a new me and I am ever so grateful!

I am not a tiny atom, I am the Universe and Shiva is the Universe- he is everything!! I am everything- SHIVOHAM!!!

But, but, but….and the words just drain my consciousness, how can I grasp such infinitude??

It scares me; will I forever be this horse with blinkers, this frog in a well??

Will I ever experience Shivoham???

Now when I read the anecdotes on Shiva, I see a fathomless gamut of symbology, of buried inner meaning. Sanatan Dharma is to be taken literally only till a certain stage, once you look beyond the humanization that the rishis perpetrated on us, you begin to see a whole new world emerge, a world of truth, a world where every symbol begins to take on certain meaning. It is an amazing experience.

To know what Shiva is, to feel what Shiva is, to think like Shiva- is a very complex process.

It begins with renunciation- give up your ego, your self-identity. This body is not you, the house you live in is not your home, and you are an infinite being.

Science is now hinting that reality os holographic, so this 3D world of sensory experiences is not real. Some say, this Unity that Ancient cultures talk about is literal, they say that one person could be dreaming this whole darn thing up!

I would not disagree- that person is Ardhanarishwara- SHIVA AND SHAKTI- the two poles of duality, in a perpetual dance of creation!!!

We are just dreams in his mind, in her mind.

Do you know that the term SATYAM SHIVAM SUNDARAM is not really from our texts- the real words are SHANTAM SHIVAM ADWAITYAM, but Maharshi Devendranath Tagore(Rabindranath Tagore’s father) popularized them from a French Philosopher Cousin Victor who wrote Le uvai, Le beau, Le bien and ever since it has become a popular way to describe Lord Shiva.

However for many, an unclad picture of a half naked Zeenat Aman comes to mind and that simply goes on to show that this is ghor kalyug.

Anyway that does not take away the fact that Shiva is unalloyed joy, pristine beauty and very auspicious.

In fact, Shiva was worshipped prior to the Vedic period. Excavations at Mohenjodaro and Harappa show a deity, similar to Shiva, riding a bull. It is unmistakably Shiva.

Many Indus valley seals show animals. One seal that has attracted attention shows a figure, either horned or wearing a horned headdress and possibly ithyphallic figure seated in a posture reminiscent of the Lotus position and surrounded by animals was named by early excavators of Mohenjo-daroPashupati (lord of cattle), an epithet of the later Hindu gods Shiva and Rudra.

While speaking to the Sanskrit scholar, Mr. Kazanas, I discovered that the academic community definitely consider that deity to be a proto Shiva, although some scholars like Gavin Flood and John Keay think it is unfounded.

The worship of Shiva in the tantric form is age old and has continued in India, China, Nepal, Srilanka and Tibet for centuries. Areas notable for the practice of Shaivism include parts of Southeast Asia, especially Malaysia, Singapore, and Indonesia.

Shiva has existed from the time that time existed, from the very beginning of it all. Shaivism (Sanskrit: शैव पंथ, śaiva patha) (Tamilசைவ சமயம்) is the oldest of the four major sects of Hinduism, the others being VaishnavismShaktism and Smartism.

Another controversial fact I have discovered from my research is that the stone at Mecca, called the Kaba is actually a Shiva Lingam.

If you read the life story of Baba Loknath, you will see that during the 19th and 20th century Sadhus and Yogis would regularly visit the Kaba and pray there, why??? Because it is a Shiv Ling. Which is why the Sultan pours milk on that stone and prays, devotees circumambulate it, just like we perform pradakshina in temples. This has popped up in so many stories. This subject deserves a whole article and I will try to work on it.

All of divinity is Shiva. If you read Norse mythology, you will see the parallels between Odin and Shiva. He is everywhere, yet, nowhere!!!

The hearts of the devotees are black, they are in abject poverty, a kind of spiritual limbo, a materialistic plague overwhelms us. So how will Shiva find his way into our hearts???

Shivoham, Shivoham…..

Remember, Shiva is very forgiving. Just call out for his guidance and you will feel him in your life. It is simply that easy. Keep saying Shivoham and you will get calm, peaceful and things will appear in a new light, you will gain a different perspective.

So let’s gather today in unison and shout out to the world, let the Universe hear us, let Shiva hear us- SHIVOHAM.

I AM NOT A COMMODITY, I AM NOT A THING TO BE USED AND ABUSED, I AM NOT PROPERTY, I AM A HUMAN, I AM WHAT I AM – PURE BLISS, PEACE AND CONSCIOUSNESS- I AM SHIVA….

SHIVOHAM!!!!

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