Society is subject to continued churning, which impels change in our thought process, priorities, and societal dynamics. The pace of change may sometimes be normal, which passes off without much of flutter. At times it becomes rapid, which for many unprepared, becomes difficult to digest so easily. For, the usual human tendency is to resist change, carrying the fear of its uncertain future ramifications. Yet, with time we learn to manage. But there comes some such historical moments when we are taken for a ride by some unprecedented situations. That forces us for an immediate rethink. We are passing through one such moment when the whole world has suddenly come to a grounding halt, which calls for an immediate rethink – what went wrong in our approach to life that has proved so heavy?
The present pandemic has come to remind us about some basic tenets of life, which people engaged in the usual mills of life seem to have forgotten. It is, as if they would have moved beyond their limits . First, the world is a unified organism, where no individual has a reality independent of the whole. Second, all field players of the world are set into an interdependent framework, where the efforts of all put together, meets our existential needs and carries forward the life cycle. In such a framework, irresponsible conduct of a few can prove heavy for the whole mankind. See, how corona virus that erupted in Wuhan state of China, has overtaken the whole world. I don’t know whether it was because of unnatural eating habit of the people there, or negligence of the scientists there, or it was a planned conspiracy. Time ahead may uncover the truth. But there is no denying the fact that unbecoming conduct of a few has resulted in such a catastrophe. Even most of other nations too did not take the impending threat in all seriousness in time. We, thus, have a shared destiny, and therefore, while attending to our aspirational urges, we need to remain conscious about our collective obligations also.
See how beautifully the above concept is portrayed in the imagery of Lord Shiva and his marriage party. I believe, our learned masters were great artists, is how they could explain such vital truths of life through easily understandable imageries. And to ensure that the concept remains live in our mind, they dedicated the whole month of Shravana to Lord Shiva in our annular calendar. If people reflect on the concept in prayer mode at regular periodic interval the inlaid message may get absorbed in the inner realms of mind. Following which, it may spontaneously find reflection in our day to day conduct. It’s a different matter that over a period of time, it has acquired a ritualistic dimension – people carrying water drawn from ganga, marching long distance on foot and offer it Shivalinga in a temple.
Now look at the educative import of the imagery. Lord Shiva seated on a bull has multitude of existences forming His marriage party – Godly bodies (marked with cosmic functionalities vital to smooth run of the life cycle), evils (the low born guided by their animalistic instincts), human beings, animals, birds, plants, and even invisible creatures such as ghost and goblins. Lord Shiva, in an unattached way remains in accord with all of them, as He doesn’t discriminate. Not that He is not aware of their individualistic and collective limitations. His half eyes closed and half open means that knowingly He ignores their limitations. For, He is aware that if they are subject to some limitation, they are simultaneously armed with such virtues as would be necessary for sustenance of the collective existence, so framed as but for one, the very existence would be at stake. He purposely does that so as to make full use of their virtues in order to ensure smooth run of the life cycle as a whole, as signified by bull’s nature. Remember, the bull, while pulling a bullock cart, keeps moving unprovoked at an even pace. The presence of ghosts and goblins need a special reference. They symbolise our formless presence in between two successive lives, indicating continuum in life cycle.
To sum up, the world is framed on the concept of Unity in Diversity. With a sense of unity consciousness live in mind, we may accord due honour to all, which may ensure living in peace and harmony. It is the absence of the sense of unity consciousness that holds the key to growing level of our impatience and intolerance.