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cosmic dance

GoodGod!

April, 2019

Meet the Gods: Lord Shiva

Merry meet.

Lord
Shiva is one of the most important deities in the Hindu religion. He
is known by many names including Mahadeva, Rudra, Shambhu and
Nataraja. Shiva’s form of Nataraja symbolizes the cosmic dance of
creation and destruction, according to an article by Aayush on
detacher.com.

Lord
Shiva is one of three primary deities of the Hindu trinity and is
worshiped as both the destroyer and the transformer of the world. He
is the source of art, religion and science.

“In
God’s endless dance of creation, preservation, destruction, and
paired graces is hidden a deep understanding of our universe.
Nataraja’s dance is not just a symbol, it is phenomenon taking
place within each of us, at the atomic level, this very moment,”
Aayush wrote.

The
dance exists in five forms depicting the cosmic cycle from creation
to destruction. It is believed that Lord Shiva danced the universe
into existence, motivates it and will eventually end it. The dance
has the rhythm of divine perfection as a subtle vibration. It
manifests in the cyclical nature of the seasons, planetary movement,
scientific laws and the body’s biorhythms.

The
King of Dance, as he is known, is typically shown with four arms. He
holds a sacred drum in his upper right hand representing the rhythm
to which he dances, ceaselessly recreating the universe. His lower
right hand makes the gesture of the abhaya mudra, meaning to not be
afraid, for those who follow the righteous path have his blessing.
The upper left hand holds the flame that transforms by destroying
illusions. The lower left hand gestures toward his uplifted left
foot, which releases the mature soul from bondage, offering everyone
the way to liberation, fulfillment and eternal bliss through
meditation and mastery over baser appetites. The other foot stands on
“a soul temporarily earth-bound by its own sloth, confusion and
forgetfulness,” wrote Dr. Meredith Fosque, a professor at NC State
University. “The cobra around Nataraja’s waist is kundalini shakti,
the soul-impelling cosmic power resident within all.”

Sometimes,
rather than the flame, he holds a trisula – a three-pronged sacred
weapon.

Every
detail – including Lord Shiva’s unkept hair and the ring of fire
– have significance. He is unconventional, making and breaking
moral codes and social customs to demonstrate his freedom.

His
abode is Mount Kailash in the Tibetan Himalayas, which is considered
sacred in four religions: Bon, Buddhism, Hinduism and Jainism. Nandi,
usually depicted as a bull, is the guardian of the gate to Kailash
and the vehicle for the Shiva. The Goddess Parvati or Shakti is
Shiva’s consort. His divine sons Ganesha and Kartikeya occupy
important places in the Hindu pantheon.

He
is pure in heart and easy to please, a good husband and father.

There
are two fundamental approaches to worshiping Lord Shiva: the right
hand method and the left hand method. In the first, Shiva is
worshipped in the traditional manner with prayers, chants, offerings
of flower, water, light, incense, honey, milk, sandal paste, saffron,
clothing and food, according to Jayaram V’s article, “The Worship
of Lord Shiva” on hinduwebsite.com.

“The
left hand methods of worship are extreme in nature and followed only
by a very limited number of followers in tantric traditions of
Saivism. Some of them are extremely disgusting and generally despised
by the public,” he wrote.

In
India, celebrations and austere practices such as fasting and praying
daily are held from July to August to worship Lord Shiva.

Saivism,
however, considers devotional worship and services secondary to the
more superior methods involving knowledge, yoga and meditation.

An
article written by wikiHow staff states, “Though you can pray to
Lord Shiva any day, Mondays are considered sacred days of worship in
the Hindu religion. Presenting cold milk, traditional bilva leaves,
or grains like barley, millet, rice, and wheat are considered good,
worthy offers for Lord Shiva. Offerings can increase your favor with
the god.”

Consider
lighting a diya (lamp) filled with ghee, and chant mantras such as
“Om Namah Shivaya” and “Mahamritunjay.”

Remember
to remove old offerings when presenting new ones, and keep the shrine
or altar area simple and free of clutter that would block energy.

Worshipers
are cautioned it is bad luck to offer coconut water, turmeric and
Ketaki flowers to Lord Shiva.

Shiva
is powerful. He destroys what was to create what is. He helps us move
beyond our attachments. He destroys suffering and removes impurities
such as ignorance, egoism, delusion and pride from us to facilitate
our spiritual growth. That makes him the right deity to worship if
you are looking for a change of direction in your life. He protects
all animals from disease, death and destruction. All knowledge flows
from Shiva, especially liberating knowledge in the form of Ganga.
Artists and scientists both can turn to him. Musicians, too, as he
was a good musician, singer and dancer.

Merry part. And merry meet again.

***

About
the Author:

Lynn
Woike
 was
50 – divorced and living on her own for the first time – before
she consciously began practicing as a self taught solitary witch. She
draws on an eclectic mix of old ways she has studied – from her
Sicilian and Germanic heritage to Zen and astrology, the fae,
Buddhism, Celtic, the Kabbalah, Norse and Native American – pulling
from each as she is guided. She practices yoga, reads Tarot and uses
Reiki. From the time she was little, she has loved stories, making
her job as the editor of two monthly newspapers seem less than the
work it is because of the stories she gets to tell. She lives with
her large white cat, Pyewacket, in central Connecticut. You can
follow her boards on Pinterest,
and write to her at woikelynn at gmail dot com.