Wednesday, 14 February 2018

The Hindu God of Shiva and His mystic attributes

Mystic Hindu God Shiva. Wallpaper Images
Śhiva, meaning  the auspicious one,  one of the Hindu Trinity Gods, is  the Supreme Being  and creates, protects and brings about transformation (every thing keeps changing) within Shaivism. He is an embodiment of destruction. So, it is obvious he is a multifaceted personality. Among the greatest of the names of Shiva  is Nataraja, King of Dancers or Lord of Dancers, which is  a pan Indian concept, and has found great expression in Tamil Nadu. Unlike the stone images of Nataraja in other states, the bronze  sculpture of Tamil Nadu is  well-known all over the world. It gained popularity during the Chola period. The amazing image of Anandathandavam - the dance of ecstasy has become a cult figure. The patronage of temples by Cholas, the great devotees of Shiva, played a key role in popularizing Nataraja bronze image. 

Shiva's mystic attributes:

.. Shiva is a mystic god who is either formless or having a form.

.. He has an irresistible aura about Him that can not be  resisted.

.. Shiva is the Supreme being who creates, protects and transforms the universe.

 .. He has neither beginning nor ending. Unlike God Vishnu, the Protector,Shiva has not taken any incarnation - avatar. 

.. He  has both  benevolent and fearsome depictions. In his benevolent form he is all-pervading, leading an ascetic life  on one hand and on the other, a Grihastha (house holder) with a wife (consort) - Parvati  and sons Ganesha and Karthikaya (Subramanya).

.. In his fearsome form, he is depicted as slaying fearsome demon. Yes, he annihilates the evil forces as a last resort. Hence,  He is a destroyer and enjoys the cremation ground. But, what does he destroy? He destroys the heaven and earth (Prapanjam) at the close of a world cycle, promoting cataclysmic forces- the endless cosmic cycles of destruction and creation.  He also destroys the fetters that bind each soul. Where does his burning ground exist? it is not a human burning ghat, but it is the place where  the hearts of His lovers  are laid waste and desolate. It is the place where ego is put to flame; where illusion /Maya and deeds are destroyed. It is his Crematorium, not the Mayanam,  meant for the earthly creatures. His wild, but graceful dance, is just awe-inspiring and blissful, signifying the  ever-changing forms of the universe.

.. His contrasted names  bring out the duality of Shiva's fearful and auspicious attributes The name Rudra represents Shiva's fearsome aspects, so is Kala  (time) and Mahakala (great time). the latter implies destruction of everything. Bhairava means fearful or terrible, closely associated with annihilation.

.. The name Śaṇkara ("beneficent") represents His   benign form (the word coined by Adi Sankara).
.. He  is also known as Adiyogi - ( Guru for the Yogis) and is the patron god of yoga, meditation and arts. The concept of Yoga originates from Him.

.. He is transcendent and unchanging absolute Brahman.

.. He is a dynamic force, representing cycles of birth and death and relief through Anugraha. He causes the destruction of the earth on one side and is responsible for its creation. His balancing act signifies the universal equilibrium between destructive forces and constructive forces operating on this earth.

.. He has a third eye (on the forehead). It represents knowledge with which he burned the desire to ashes.

.. He wears ashes all over his body symbolic of transient nature of things around us. So, the pursuit of eternal soul and spiritual liberation is essential. Material happiness  loses its luster soon and is transitory.

.. He is, unlike God Vishnu,  is not fond of Alankaram - decoration of flowers and  wearing of expensive jewelry. Being renounced, he leads the life of a sage, protecting his devotees and removing their delusion. To him every thing around him is Maya - ever changing, not a permanent entity.
With a few exceptions, many of His temples are not Prarthana sthalas, lacking pomp and colorful festivals!! He is not the God of wealth, but of Mukthi (salvation - release from the human bondage of commitments in  life, death cycles, sentiments etc.

.. He believes in woman's equality and her place in life. His Arthanareswarar Thatva- half man and half woman confirms this. She is part of the energy that creates and remains his complimentary partner. 

Being Divine, he is a mystic and  embodies nothingness. The cosmos is a vast expanse of  empty space, everything comes from nothing above and gets back to the same space once the cycle is over. The cycle continues. His representation of ether (space) as one of the Pancha Boothas (five elements) at Chidambaram Nataraja temple, Tamil Nadu confirms his all pervading 'nature'.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shiva