The sacred triumvirate of Hinduism forms the basis of this thousands year old religion. Brahma, Vishnu, and Mahesh form the holy trio. They aren’t the Gods but the essential forms that collectively comprise the supreme power. Brahma is known as the creator, while Vishnu is the ultimate power that sustains all forms of life and Shiva is considered as the Destroyer. But, out of the three, Shiva is that one deity that is often discussed and interpreted by the religious experts and scholars.
Some intellectual gurus suggest that Shiva is not related to any religion. Shiva is the ultimate being who changed the face of earth by his deep meditational and Yogic powers. While there are others who think that Shiva was an otherworldly being. After all, out of all deities, only Shiva is considered as the God of demons, deformed beings, devils, ghosts, etc. He was known to be surrounded by horrendous creatures and is still one of the most worshipped deities in the entire world.
Not only this, other assumptions or misinterpretations (as I must say) include the comprehension of Shiva Linga and the real meaning of his third eye. While there are many tales in Shiva Purana that fabricates the idea of Shiva in a fascinating manner, the real understanding lies deep inside each story. Even the artists from centuries and different regions of the world have tried to craft exquisite Shiva paintings to decode the true nature of Mahadev.
Despite everything, confusion still persists about Shiva and that is what I will try to clear in this blog. Let’s get closer to Shiva.
What is Shiva?
You can call him Adiyogi, the man who introduces the world to Yoga or the first man who reached the apex transcendence state by intense meditation or just the infinite consciousness that lies in the universe. In real, Shiva is all and none of these.
To understand Shiva, let’s start with his manifestation. Shiva Linga is one of the most worshipped and misinterpreted embodiments related to Mahadev. There are different stories related to Shiva Linga. Like if you would read Shiva Purana, it signifies Linga as a representation of Male Phallus. That is how Shiva Linga is mostly interpreted by the people. However, one should not forget that the purpose of Shiva Purana is to make common people understand the true essence of Shiva through stories and events. And some of these tales are garnished with elements to ease the overall understanding.
If you would visit some art gallery website or just Google the ancient Indian artworks, frescos, or wall paintings, you would find something extraordinary. Be it the artefacts found in the lost city of Harappa or the exotic pre-historic Shiva paintings, you would see that the manifestation of Shiva Linga is quite old. Even before religions existed, drawings of Linga can be found on the cave walls. This means that Shiva Linga is something much more than a depiction of the male body part.
Another theory suggests that Linga is the ultimate form that every form of life dissolves into. And one more understanding indicates that Linga explains the basic nature of life i.e. how atoms make us and how Brahma, Vishnu, and Mahesh are like proton, electron, and neutrons respectively. Shiva Linga, in this context, represents the cosmic totality of our universe.
Shiva is like neutrons, without any charge or emotionless, formless, tiny but quintessential, and source of every creation. This is the simplest way Shiva can be truly understood. However, since Hinduism is quite liberal, you can comprehend with Adiyogi in every sense as you can. He is not bounded by some meaning or interpretation. He is free, flowing around you, residing in you; you just require to reach him.
May be that’s why, alongside India, statues of Shiva Linga were found in Babylonian city ruins, Roman culture and European nations. Even before Islam was found, even in the gulf, Shiva Linga was worshipped.
Shiva and Yogic Consciousness
Artists are the only rational race of humans that came closer to understanding or even trying to decipher Shiva. Be it the generic Shiva paintings or the famous Nataraja posture, every embodiment has some code embedded.
Hinduism is the only religion that has Yoga and meditation as its main ingredients. It is believed that through intense meditation and Yoga, you can integrate your own consciousness with the ultimate reality or the supreme power that exists reaching the ultimate level of trance. What today’s generation is seeking in drugs is attainable by Yoga.
One of the oldest religious scriptures, the Vedas, was also the enlightened thoughts that the ancient sages learned through Yoga and mediational powers. And it was Shiva who first discovered that with specific body postures, we can reach a high tripping point that enters the door of cosmic consciousness.
Yogic scriptures have mentioned the shape of Shiva Linga as ellipsoid; a structure with no ending or no beginning and the very first shape of any creation (If you look closely, every galaxy has a center as an ellipsoid). This is what Shiva signifies.
Next time you are purchasing Shiva paintings from any art gallery website, remember his ways that can offer you a blissful and ecstatic experience with your creator. For more updates, stay tuned.