When I look at an image of Lord Shiva, it seems to reveal something to my inner self, as it does to all living beings, blessed to know about him, blessed to be able to worship him. To begin with, he is the only powerful deity, who does not adorn jewels, clothes, or surround himself with luxuries.
He dresses in just a tiger skin, just bare-basic clothing for survival, no ornaments, gold, gems or crowns. His first outright message is to disengage the mind from distractions of wealth, temporary beauty image, and luxury that maya traps us into and we so willingly stay chained into, and we waste our time running after.
His message is to refrain from getting too materialistic and to understand that simplicity is a sign of power. He is so powerful, yet so humble and simple in his persona.
His half open and tied tresses, show how he does let his hair-down, stay calm, enjoy surroundings, and he wants us to live each day as it comes, enjoying the moment, yet his half tied tresses, indicate, we should continue to do our duty, at our pace. His tied hair, continuously saves the Earth from the powerful flow of the river Ganga. If he gives up his dharma, the entire earth will submerge. So, it indicates a middle path of doing one’s duty continuously, inside us, the quest to seek the divine should never die. Keep the thirst and quest on, keep doing your duties to others, yet, enjoying the beauty and joys that surround us.
The Moon on his head, might indicate that he lives on the highest point, on Earth, Mt. Kailash, that he lives close to us, and every night the moon transiting the night sky, is worn by the head of the almighty who is also watching over us, every second. He saved the moon from the curse of Daksha and thus gave the Moon a place to stay.
The nilakanth, or his blue neck, with the story of his drinking hala-hal vrish from the samudra manthan, could tell a human, that vaani/speech can be like vrish or poison, and should always be under check. So many karmas turn bad, just due to bad words emitted in the heat-of-a-moment and the snake in his neck is a motivation for us to arouse our kundalini shakti. The three and a half coiled snake, we see so many times, is that bhujangini shakti- kundalini shakti, that can activate the sleeping parts of the brain, elevating us from the current level and helping us reach our divine God.
Vanmalaa or garland in his neck, indicates his love for nature, his love for Dance, Music, drama and beauty, which show his artistic sides. It also indicates, his soft side within.
His trident or Trishul with three spears, could be an indicator or symbol of destroying all three gunas, the Rajo, Tamo and Sattva Guna. He is motivating us to try and rise above the ebb and flow of the three gunas. The Trishul can also mean he wants us to reach for moksha, by killing the present, past and future, which are symbolised by the three spears of trishul.
His third eye, or activated Ajna chakra, sends the message to meditate, and with the opening of this pineal gland chakra, shall all our karmas, moha, lobh, krodh, and kaam , be destroyed.
His Damru (hand drum), is like a wake up call, asking us to wake up from this muddle of maya, that it is high time, we humans utilize this yoni, yog, opportunity and get out of this endless cycle of sufferings, to go back home to Ananda state and start working towards the real goal of life.
The bells on his waist, are a reassuring sign, that when we will walk through the dark jungle of tapas, of mediation we will not walk alone, through the sides, by our side, he will walk us through it. His presence will be felt deep in the state of samadhi, he will make us feel it.
Nandi ji – the Bull – can indicate the male energy. The cow is the most precious possession for mankind and the Bull is thus the male other half of this nurturing cow. Milk, butter, ghee and so much more comes from cows, but the Bull is the silent father who does contribute. He also ploughs the land, that then becomes ready for seeds for farming. Again, the seeds are sown, but earth is made ready by the Bull.
Finally – the lingam , to me, is the matter part of a deepak jyoti. Mata Shakti can be the ghee/oil that will nourish the jyoti, but unless the cotton lump takes the form of linga, or a conical upright form, the creation of heat and light to nourish, nurture, and guide humans cannot be created. We stare at it, create the essence of the universe everyday, in our puja, yet we do not grasp the secrets it is showing us. Every linga of Shiv Ji tells us, how matter and energy have combined, to create light – knowledge – which should help us free ourselves from this Maya and provide heat – which is nurturing and nourishing us.
om namah shivaya!
om aem hrim kleem chamundayae vicchaye!