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On Mahashivratri, find the meaning of Shiva’s ‘creative destruction’

Let us invoke the deity of creative destruction, Lord Shiva, on ahashivaratri to destroy within us all these negativities and blocks. Let us be specific about what we want to be eliminated from our system, to obtain the best possible benefit of today’s energies.

more lifestyle Updated: Mar 07, 2016 11:46 IST
Hari Warrier
Hari Warrier
Hindustan Times
Mahashivaratri,Shiva,Maha Shivaratri
Devotees pour milk over a Shiva Lingam on the eve of the Mahashivaratri festival dedicated to Lord Shiva at the Shivala Temple in Amritsar. The festival of Maha Shivaratri is marked by Hindus through fasting and offering prayers in a night-long vigil.(AFP)

(The article first appeared on this website in 2014)

Today is the day of Maha Shivaratri. The whole day we will hear invocations to Lord Shiva. Chants, mantras, pujas, offerings, meditations, every possible means to propitiate the Lord will be in evidence today, ahead of the grand culmination of the aarti and jagrata.

But what could possibly be the esoteric significance of the whole process? What is it about Shiva, literally? Or rather, energetically?

In the Indian trinity, Shiva is portrayed as the wielder of power. Brahma creates, Vishnu protects, and Shiva destroys. He is the agent of power, the lord of Shakti, and the tamer of the Ganga, the one with the terrifying third eye. Today is his day, multiplying the power quotient manifold for all activities undertaken in his name. But in pranic healing Shiva’s role as “creative destruction”. What does that mean?

Shiva’s destruction is for a purpose. It is not annihilation, but transformation.

Simply put, it means that the destruction is for a purpose. It is not annihilation, but transformation. Daksha was killed, but transformed into a devotee. Ganesha was killed, but transformed into the repository of wisdom. Asuras were killed, and transformed into his ganas, or worshippers.

Watch | Ganga Aarti performed at Haridwar on Mahashivratri

Shiva and Shakti

In one tale behind the composition of the Soundarya Lahari by Adi Shankaracharya, it is said that the saint, who was a staunch proponent of Lord Shiva, established that there is Shiva, only Shiva and nothing but Shiva. But one day, while resting, he found that he could not move, and wailed, “I have no power (using the word shakti to designate power).”

The Goddess appeared before him, and asked, “What did you say? You have no Shakti? I thought you said there is only Shiva, and nothing but Shiva? So who is this Shakti?” Shankara, it is said, became abashed, and spontaneously sang the praise of the Goddess. That is Soundarya Lahari.

But we digress. The purpose of narrating that story is this: The power springs from Shakti. The role of Shiva is to direct that power. Shiva is the centre or wielder of Purpose. With a capital “P”.

Read: Celebrate Shivaratri with this awesome playlist

Without Shakti, Shiva is described as no different from a Shava, or lifeless body. Without Shiva, Shakti is a rampaging destructive entity. Together, they bring what Master Choa describes as “creative destruction” -- destruction for the purpose of regeneration, also called transmutation and spiritual transformation.

For instance, when the enraged Shiva, after the self immolation of his spouse Sati, created Bhadra Kali and Veerabhadra, the two went into a dance of death. There was much destruction, till Shiva was appeased and his anger spent. After that, the Devas approached him, and he revived Daksha.

Similarly, when Ganesha was killed, Parvati unleashed the dance of death till her anger was appeased. She only relented when the Devas revived her son, albeit with an elephant head.

Notice, in either case, that there is no “fresh” creation. There is only transformation. An elephant head + human body = Ganesha, and a goat’s head + human body = Daksha. Meaning, there is no role of Brahma. There is only Shiva’s creative transformation.

The creativity of Tandava

On the other hand, the Tandava of Lord Shiva, it is said to be creative. How can it be so?

The Shakti within our body is the kundalini energy. When it is released, without the presence of Shiva, it goes into a dance of destruction. It brooks no opposition, like a dam burst open. Wherever it finds blocks and obstacles, it creates its own path. Kundalini energy is fertilizer, it is creative, it is the Amrit of the Universe -- but it is distributed indiscriminately in the body among Devas and Asuras. Master Choa calls it unsafe awakening of the kundalini.

But when Lord Shiva does the dance, what happens is that the Kundalini is given creative direction. It knows where to flow. It is like the controlled opening of the dam’s sluice gates. The Amrit goes to the Devas, and there is creation.

Remember the myth? Mohini (a female guise of Lord Vishnu, the preserver) appears among the squabbling Devas and Asuras, takes charge of the Amrit, and distributes it to the Devas. Only the Devas. And catastrophe is averted.

Remember, Master Choa tells us that Power without Love manifests as cruelty. And Love without Power is impotent. So Shiva and Vishnu operated together in that tale. As they do in much of our mythology.

How can we use this knowledge in our lives? After all, this is not about mythology, but about spiritual purpose.

Creative destruction. We can use that. We can identify our biggest obstacles (spiritual, of course). What is it within us that is preventing us from progressing, from reaping the rewards of all our spiritual efforts? What is it that is in fact that is preventing us from putting in the right spiritual effort? Are we wasting energy? Are we “nourishing” the demons within us?

How to celebrate Mahashivratri

Are we floundering purposelessly? Even in our spiritual practice? Especially in our spiritual practice?

So let us invoke the deity of creative destruction, Lord Shiva, to destroy within us all these negativities and blocks. Let us be specific about what we want to be eliminated from our system, to obtain the best possible benefit of today’s energies.

Let us also be selective. Even if the energies are high today, let us not make a list of 100 negativities, but restrict ourselves to two or three crucial ones, especially ones where we seem to be making no headway.

Then let us do our practice, whatever it is, be it chanting the Maha Mrityunjaya or Om Namah Shivaya Om or salt water baths (or all of the above) or any other form of purification.

Having cleansed ourselves, let us then invoke for the blessings of spiritual progress, and do our meditations (or chants or any other form of energisation, depending on personal preferences and habits). If we are pranic healers, let us do Twin Hearts meditation, invoking the energy of Love within us, and giving form to “Mohini”. Let the divine energy spread throughout the body, going only to the Devas.

Then let us pray that these blessings are firmly and permanently anchored within our bodies, within each and every particle of our entity.

And let us thank Lord Shiva, Master Choa and all the higher beings for these blessings, and for all this information.

First Published: Mar 07, 2016 09:47 IST