ॐ ॐ ॐWe are blessed to be offering this class in Tiruvannamalai, South India,
an ancient place of pilgrimage and devotion.
The Legend of Arunachala Shiva:
Holy Hill of Tiruvannamalai
In one of the root legends of ancient India...The Gods Vishnu and Brahma were rocking the universe, quarreling as to who was the superior Deity. To restore equilibrium, Shiva appeared as a flaming lingam, and challenged them to find his source. Brahma took the form of a swan, and flew to the sky, ascending toward the heavens to find the top of the flame, while Vishnu became the boar Varaha, and sought its base in the depths of the earth. Neither Brahma nor Vishnu could find the source and were humbled by the infinity of this flame and bowed to Shiva.
Arunachala (Annamalai) or red mountain in Tiruvannamalai, India, is recognized as a lingam, and the embodiment of Shiva as Infinite Light, described in this ancient legend.
Lingodbhava: Siva appearance as flaming Lingam
Perhaps Shiva represents the flame of Life, without beginning or end… everywhere, always, eternal, forever and ever and ever…
Siva is often depicted as half female/half male
Shiva (Siva in Sanskrit) is an aspect of the Hindu Trinity of Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva.
Shiva rules tamas guna, the aspect of Mystery manifesting as the experience of matter.
The Sanskrit word Shiva means auspicious, and refers to the scintillating divine qualities of our life on earth. The brilliance of the light of seeing, tasting, touching... of consciousness experiencing embodiment. The agony and ecstasy of each moment, as our amazing lives unfold.
Shiva is the light of life...the brilliance of consciousness...that illuminates each instant of our experience. At times we are Shiva taking the form of Vishnu as the the boar Varaha
infused with His strength, spelunking the deep dark caves of the infinite possibility of pain and suffering that our human experience offers.
Often we become the Swan of creative possibility, of Brahma and his Shakti Saraswati soaring to the sublime ecstatic heights of embodied experience. We are the cutting edge of the unfolding of infinite possibility expressed in the unique dimension of Earthly experience.
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Last winter, I arrived in India angry with pie in the sky religiosity that worshiped gods in heavens and stood by helplessly letting the Earth go to Hell. I offered my pain to Dakshinamurti (Shiva as Guru) and was blessed with the realization that Shiva is the Earth!
As westerners coming from a monotheistic tradition we mistake images which personify Shiva for Shiva... Pre-biblical spirituality was animistic and pantheistic. It reflected a natural world of omnipresent mystery, splendor and intelligence, where all of nature, all of life, all creation was sacred.
Monotheism extracts God from the Earth, and offers a pie in the sky God...With God in heaven... somewhere??? You can do as you like on earth. Traditionally Lord Shiva has been worshiped as rocks, and trees, mountains and rivers, worshiped as the earth her self. He is usually worshiped as an earthy phallus, ancient banyon tree, holy river, cobra and bull.
Shiva's manifest form is feminine Shakti. Shakti is prakritti... Nature...
The Self-Sacrifice of The Goddess as This Sacred Creation. This Sacred Earth!
In Hinduism the Cow personifies the sacredness of all life on earth, and the generosity of the Universe in sustaining our lives. In South India the Cow stands at the highest and most visible place in many temples, to remind us to cherish all life as our own...
Please don't laugh at our Sacred Cows, monkeys, rats, ants, trees, rivers, mountains, etc.... Mother Earth... and please consider cultivating a vegetarian diet, to do a little more, to live your prayers, for future generations.
ॐ ॐ ॐTo cherish and to serve the Earth is to worship Shiva.
The beauty of life that we love so much is Shiva.
Our own life, which we cherish so selfishly, is Shiva.
Look no further, everything you are seeking, you already have!
Aum Namah Shivaya!