I came across this mysterious divine character, who fearlessly did almost everything which is considered a taboo in a deity society and dealt with them in a surprisingly calm way. He is cool, outstanding, appealing and breaking all the stereotypes of being a God. Since childhood he is fascinating, captivating and mysterious for me. In my teenage he was my crush. With time I fell madly in love with him and I still am. He is my Shiva. This is not a religious but a romantic story.
My mother being a strong believer of deities made sure to have a sacred space in our home, Poojaghar. She made me and my siblings to attend her worship rituals twice a day. She had varieties of idols and pictures of deities. All of those deities were so well dressed, had flower garland around their neck and over decorated with gold ornaments. They all looked so beautiful, blissful and perfect. Among them was a picture of masculine body smeared with ash, minimal clothing, around his neck was a coiled serpent and his only ornament Rudraksha, a rosary made of the dried fruits of the Rudraksha tree. He was completely different and mysterious. His appearance and his place in Hindu trinity made me so inquisitive that I tried to collect all the stories and pictures of him. I was stunned at a picture where he was smoking weeds!! How could a God do such a thing!!
Another picture worth mentioning is where he was drinking poison! There is a story linked with this picture that during ocean churning Amrit (elixir or magical nectar) and Halahal (blue colored poison) came out. All the devas opted for Amrit and only my Shiva drank the Halahal and became Neelkanth (blue-throated one). I was puzzled that being a God he must be having powers to fix or hide his blue neck. He could have easily make others believe that poison could not affect him. Why he didn’t? Much later in life I could understand the reason behind. Blue throat was indication that we do not always need to suppress or react to the vices. We need to accept the existence of vices and make them ineffective. It also gave an important message that physical beauty is not of utmost importance. Our scars do have a story to tell and we must learn to carry them gracefully.
All the other deities looked so calm and composed in their pictures and here was my Shiva dancing!! Is a God supposed to be so expressive in what he feels! Bubbling in joy or bursting in anger is decent! Oh! He looked so authentic, fierce and magnificent. He is unique combination of strength, art,and creativity. During teenage I was becoming a rebel and surely my Shiva became my role model, who was challenging the deity stereotype in his own way.
Also, I would give some credit to my female hormones that made me fall in love with him. He is always there flaunting his masculine body and his intense energy. He is the strongest of all deities. He trapped arrogantly gushing Ganga in his hair and let her out in small streams. Such a magnificent power show.
In his pictures and stories he is someone without ego. To control the valid rage of a female he would even lie down under her feet! What a pleasant and endearing way to control! Would a man ever do this when he is so powerful and strong? Well, my Shiva did this. This act of love not only calmed the lady but also turned her into an expressive kid, who cutely takes her tongue out on realizing a mistake.
None of the deity embraced the feminine and masculine aspects equally in their characters. My Shiva, Ardhnareshwara (half male and half female), presented such a beautiful narration for female and male union. He conveyed that manhood and womanhood both are equally respective and needed to take us towards a meaningful complete life. Our spouse is our part who complements us in every way in life hence ensuring that together we are complete as a unit. Our spouse allows us to experience not only our characteristics but also experience what we lack through their eyes and observations.
He is expressive, loving, fierce, luminous, magnificent and yet a yogi (one who meditates), Adiyogi. It is so very lovely to visualize him in this way. A stillness comes to every disturbing thought I have, when I imagine this. A sense of strong self-control comes in.
There are many life lessons I learnt from his pictures and stories. There are innumerable reasons to love him and adore him. He is my first love, my first man. I never thought someone could be anything close to him, in the real world. And I can tell you with my experience that there is nothing more deadly than coming across someone who resembles with your love, your man. You could resist anyone and anything but the man you love. And suddenly you find a resemblance somewhere and you are done. You would go crazy after him to find out how much resemblance is there? You wonder and ponder how he could!! Strangely, you find yourself attracted to this new man. In my case, it was an abstract man taking a physical shape. Obviously, I fell in love with him. One of the most wonderful and grateful moments of my life was when he proposed me to marry him. Thank you for choosing me to love you. Thank you to be my guide.
See you again. 🙂