Last Friday, Hindus celebrated Shivaratri dedicated to Lord Shiva, popularly seen as one amongst the God-trinity of Brahma, Vishnu, and Mahesh (another contextual naming of Shiva). Hindus apart, who revere Him in highest esteem, Shiva now seems to be extending His charm even in the scientific world. He, now in his dance form (Nataraja), is prominently displayed at Perth laboratory, known for its particle accelerators engaged in exploring what they term as “God Particle.” For, in their perception, Shiva’s dance symbolises the play and interplay of cosmic energy streams, which progressively evolved into the manifest plural world. The concepts underlying Lord Shiva can be seen in different perspectives. For Meditators, He remains the Adi Guru. In Nataraja form, he remains the guiding spirit of the classical dancers. Kashmir Shaivism carries on its metaphysical perception around Shiva. To me, He comes out as ‘Existence Personified’.
A look at two imageries associated with Shiva in togetherness, presents a unified picture of the world process, encompassing the whole gamut of creation, sustenance and recycling. In the first picture Lord Shiva is seated in meditative posture on Mount Kailash. He is shown having lunar crescent over His head, 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 matted hair locks. He is seen holding a trident in one arm, Damru (double headed hand drum) in another, rosary in the third, and the 4th palm in blessing mode. Being in meditative posture symbolises reflecting on the churning within, on the prospects of creation. As the rosary keeps circling, so does life cycle keeps moving in succession. The blessing mode implies that all existences draw succour out of his inexhaustible potential.
In the second imagery, Lord Śiva, mounted on a bull, has in His entourage multitude forms of existences, some of them even weird and invisible. To name a few, divine beings, humans, devilish existences, animals, birds, goblins, and even invisible existences such as ghost etc. 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 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.
Mount Kailasha is one of the high peaks in the Himalayan range to which lot of perennial rivers are sourced, which includes the Ganges. It, thus, is closest to the cosmic world, simultaneously having all round view of life down below. Lord Śiva, with lunar crescent over the head, read together with his place of abode, the Himalayan range having in store perennial rivers, is symbolic of eternity, infinity.
The presence of lunar crescent symbolizes the convergence of all nature driven forces. For, Moon’s luminosity is drawn out of the light extended by the Sun, as well as all the planets and stars up above in the cosmos. But before all light drawn thus, flows down the line, Moon does its own stamping by turning them into an amiable form. Moon, thus, symbolises convergence of all nature driven energy streams.
With the play of Damru, the equilibrated state of the primal source gets shaken, when the primal sound note Oṁ comes into play. Now going by the scientific perception, once there is entropy (disorder), it multiplies in geometric progression. So, it happened following excitation of Oṁ sound. In the process, first came into play Energy- trinity – Sata, Rajasa, and Tamasa. Trident, it may kindly be noted is symbolic of Lord Śiva’s creative power – the three phalanges of the trident branching out of the base rod imply three dimensions of energies emanating from a singularity. The random mutation of the three that followed, led to multitude of differentiated energy streams. The harmony and symphony of these differentiated energy streams that followed, led to all creations, first up above in the cosmos.