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Lessons in Lord Shiva’s imagery

The double propensity – equal probability of good and bad conduct - evident in the man obviously remains the cause of all conflicts within the self, and with others.  This particular attitude driving the majority will evidently pose a serious question about the very survival of the living orderHuman beings are, however, also empowered to overcome this inherent infirmity. Applying the indwelling Budhi (the faculty of discriminate intelligence), one could dispassionately analyse and pick up the most appropriate lead.  The paradox, however, is that ordinarily budhi too can act on available data.  And since ordinary mortals remain ignorant about the driving principles of exhaustive and complex living order in holistic terms, they remain vulnerable to pick up inappropriate leads.  


The learned masters of yester years, caught up with this riddle, and also concerned about sustained qualitative human existence, tried to educate the people on the above count.  The task before them was onerous.  They had to deal with a huge mass, comprising of people, each unique by oneself, all carrying double propensity, and everyone driven by self-centric desire trends.  The obvious question before the seers was how to bring about convergence of all, transgressing all individual limitations?  For, that alone could ensure qualitative societal existence, but for which, the right environment conducive to fulfilment of even individual aspirations would not be possible.  They had also realised that the solution also lies within a man himself.   Exercising one’s power of freewill, man could rise above his individual limitations, the negative instincts in particular, and extol his positive virtues to the benefit of one and all.   Driven by this noble desire, the seers therefore felt the need to educate every being and make them aware of the fundamentals of life.        


The problem before the seers was how to reach out all, overriding their individual intellectual limitations. It needs to be appreciated here that misadventure of even one carries the potential to unsettle the societal balance.  Therefore, all and sundry had to be given a lesson in the fundamentals of life in a simplistic way. They found an answer in the language of symbolism which makes an immediate impact and therefore instant appeal, which needs no linguistic medium.    


See how beautifully, unified picture of the world process has been presented through two imageries of “Lord Shiva.  In the first picture Lord Shiva is seated in meditative posture on Mount Kailsh.  The second imagery shows Lord Shiva with his entourage. When read together, it comes out that symbolically, Lord Shiva is ‘Existence Personified’.  The two imageries cover the primal source, the manifest, intervening operative principles between the two, and the conduct rules of life on earth plane. 


In the first imagery Lord Shiva, with lunar crescent over His head is seated in meditative posture on Mount Kailasha.  He is perceived almost bare bodied, with just the private part covered with tiger skin.  His poison fed blue neck is encircled by venomous snake.   River Ganges flows down His hair locks.  He is perceived holding a trident in one arm, Damru (double headed hand drum) in another, rosary in the third, and the 4th palm in blessing mode.  Lord Shiva in meditative posture, symbolises reflecting on the churning within, on the prospects of creation.  As the rosary keeps circling, so does life cycle keep moving in succession.  The blessing mode implies that all existences draw succour out of his inexhaustible potential.

In the second imagery, Lord Shiva, mounted on a bull, has in His entourage assortment of multitude forms of existences, some of them weird and even invisible. To name a few, divine beings; humans; devilish existences; animals; birds; goblins, and even invisible existences such as ghosts.  Symbolically, His entourage is indicative of the multipolar manifest world with all its enormity and diversity.  This particular symbol stands for the dynamic world ever on the move at its own pace, as would a bull moving at a constant pace mean.  While pulling a bullock-cart, the bull moves unprovoked at a constant pace and would not stop in the way till it reaches a place designated for being fed and taking rest.  After a while, the bull again takes the journey forward, and then finally reverts back to its normal place of abode after completing the voyage.   The manifest world too, after being on the run for a specified time, reverts back to the primal source to acquire a restful state, when it gets recharged once again.  Following which, out of the seeds of life withdrawn into primal-source, fresh creation cycle takes off.

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