Four Aspects Of Shiva. Essay

948 words - 4 pages

It is a common place. We have seen it in temples, on calendars, on matchbox labels: the blue body smeared with ash, the third eye, the tiger-skin. Locked in the lotus posture he mediates in the mist and snow of Kailash; the moon rests on his hair and the Ganga spills from his tangled locks. Shiva is the ascetic whose meditation sustains the universe. He reposes at the centre and contemplates the world, concentrating its energies into himself. Or perhaps the movement is centrifugal: energy radiates from him and he does not so much consider the world as create it, all its immensity and richness being but thoughts in his mind.As a yogi, Shiva is the master of his senses. His self-discipline grants him control over the world. How shall we reconcile Shiva's celibacy with the lewd forms he takes? For he is commonly worshipped as an 'erect phallus' or linga. In the linga it is not Shiva's sexuality that is celebrated, but his potency. The linga, ever erect and never expended, is symbolic of the spiritual energies of the God, an eternally renewed promise. Procreation is also metaphor for all forms of creativity. Traditionally, Brahma is the Creator, Vishnu, the Preserver and Shiva, the Destroyer, but within the cult of each, the one God is believed to be omnipotent. While Vishnu has the power to destroy evil, Shiva, the destroyer can create. The linga then , is not a mere concentration of energy: the universe issued from it at the time of Creation. There are some lingas, meal or stone, with Shiva's image carven on them. They are called the lingodhava of arising out-of-the-linga images. Itt is as tthough some alchemy within linga has moulded a being that swells and presses outward, striving for release, like a child brushing out of the womb. The creator creates himself: the God is born out of his own ogan, the whole begotten by a part, in the paradox of the self-born.Shiva's creativity embraces his traditional destructive function. He will raze the earth at the end of time only so that new earths may be formed. To annihilate the world is only to remove the illusion that there is a world; if death destroys the body it also unlooses the soul. Reconsider: if I am dying into new life, I could as well as be born into another death. Destruction may facilitate creation but has not creation as un-illumined underside? To create a new thing is irrevocably to destroy the old order which has existed in the absence of the thing. Knowing this, to speak of creation or destruction in isolation would be meaningless. Neither of them absolutely exists; both are contingent to the endless process in which the universe is made and unmade, made and unmade.If the energies of...

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