Shiva Devotion and Meditation
Shiva is the god of the yogis, self-controlled and celibate, responsible for change both in the form of death and destruction and in the positive sense of destroying the ego, the false identification with the form. This also includes the shedding of old habits and attachments. Lord Shiva is the destroyer of the world and restorer, following Brahma the creator and Vishnu the preserver, after which Brahma again creates the world and so on.
The psyche is the greatest of all cosmic wonders and the “sine qua non” of the world as an object. It is in the highest degree odd that Western man, with but very few – and ever fewer – exceptions, apparently pays so little regard to this fact. Swamped by the knowledge of external objects, the subject of all knowledge has been temporarily eclipsed to the p oint of seeming nonexistence.” (Carl Gustav Jung, psychologist.) Shiva is 'shakti' or power, Shiva is the destroyer, the most powerful god of the Hindu pantheon and one of the godheads in the Hindu Trinity. Known by many names - Mahadeva, Mahayogi, Pashupati, Nataraja, Bhairava, Vishwanath, Bhava, Bhole Nath,Lord Shiva is perhaps the most complex of Hindu deities. Hindus recognise this by putting his shrine in the temple separate from those of other deities. Lord Shiva is destroying and restoring. Old things are passed away, new things have now come. In the Hindu religion, Shiva (or Shiva), is the "One who purifies everyone by the utterance of His name" or the "Pure One". Shiva is one of the Hindu trinity or trimurti, which includes Braham (creator) and Vishnu (preserver). Although he is the lord of destruction, this is a positive aspect since it represents the destruction of evil and since creation follows destruction. One may ask the question what is good, and what is evil! Shiva transcends all form and, therefore, can appear in many different forms, such as the lingam or Nataraja (Dancing Shiva). His consort is the beautiful Parvati. In the Bhagavad Gita, the dialogue of the Supreme Lord Krishna and Arjuna on the battlefield of Kuruksetra, “God - realisation”, or siddhi means Self -realisation in the highest sense of the term. One consciously realises his oneness with the Supreme. As long as the seeker remains in ignorance, he will feel that the Supreme is someone else who has infinite Power, while he, the seeker or devotee, is the feeblest person on earth. But the moment he realises the Supreme, he comes to know that he and the Supreme (God) are absolutely one in both the inner and the outer life. God-realisation means one's identification with one's absolute Highest Self. When one can identify with one's “Highest Self Within” and remain in that consciousness forever, when one can reveal and manifest it at one's own command, that is God-realisation", that is Self- realization. I am suggesting to purchase the Shiva (Siva) handbook for worship written by Sri Swami Shivananda, Founder of the Divine Life Society (free download on Scribd). The book reveals everything you should know about the Lord Shiva, and how to reach Him in your Inner Self (your Greater Self) through yielding devotion, meditation, and a correct way of life. Enter Shiva’s dance of life. Shiva Lingam is a wide spread Indian Phallic figure. It consists of a feminine base ‘Yoni’ or ‘vagina’ anda rising masculine portion ‘the Phallus’ or ‘penis.’ The Linga artifacts, dating from the first century BC to the third century AD, are shaped like realistic ‘Phalli’. Thereafter the shape becomes progressively more abstract. By medieval times, its observable portion, rising from the Yoni, forms a round block with domed apex.Shiva, in temples is usually found as a phallic symbol of the 'linga', which represents the energies necessary for life on both the microcosmic and the macrocosmic levels, that is, the world in which we live and the world which constitutes the whole of the universe. In a Shaivite temple, the 'linga' is placed in the centre underneath the spire, where it symbolizes the naval of the earth. Shiva, the lord of erect Phallus (urdhvalinga), is traced to the ithyphallic figure of Indus Valley civilization or to the phallic images found more generally in prehistoric India. The epics and Puranas tell how a great fire appeared from the cosmic waters, and from this flame Linga Shiva emerged to claim supremacy and worship over Brahma and Vishnu, when he was castrated because he seduced sages’ wives in the pine forests of Himalayas. He castrated himself because no one could castrate the Supreme Lord. Thus fallen phallus of the Supreme Lord destroyed all the worlds until it reached the Yoni of Uma/Parvati and cooled down. All procreation of worlds started after the worship of Yoni- Linga was restored and all Gods, including Vishnu and Brahma accepted supremacy of Lord Shiva. So, the Shiva Deity distinguishes from all others. The actual image of Shiva is also distinct from other deities: his hair piled high on the top of his head, with a crescent tucked into it and the river Ganges tumbling from his hairs. Around his neck is a coiled serpent representing Kundalini or the spiritual energy within life. He holds a trident in his left hand in which is bound the 'damroo' (small leather drum). He sits on a tiger skin and on his right is a water pot. He wears the 'Rudraksha' beads and his whole body is smeared with ash. Shiva is believed to be at the core of the centrifugal force of the universe, because of his responsibility for death and destruction. Unlike the godhead Brahma, the Creator, or Vishnu, the Preserver, Shiva is the dissolving force in life. But Shiva dissolves in order to create, since death is the medium for rebirth into a new life. So the opposites of life and death and creation and destruction both reside in his character. Shiva is also often portrayed as the supreme ascetic with a passive and composed disposition. Sometimes he is depicted riding a bull called Nandi decked in garlands. Although a very complicated deity, Shiva is one of the most fascinating of Hindu gods. Since Shiva is regarded as a mighty destructive power, to numb his negative potentials he is fed with opium and is also termed as 'Bhole Shankar', one who is oblivious of the world. Therefore, on Maha Shivratri , the night of Shiva worship, devotees, especially the menfolk, prepare an intoxicating drink called 'Thandai' ( made from cannabis, almonds, and milk ) sing songs in praise of the Lord and dance to the rhythm of the drums.