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Friday, June 01, 2007

Who is Shiva

Who is Siva?

Understanding God As He is worshiped at Kauai's Hindu Temple

God Siva is among the most mysterious, complex, compassionate and
profound conceptions of the one Supreme Being to be found in the
religions of mankind. He is looked upon as the Creator, Preserver and
Destroyer of all existence, the Cosmic Dancer who animates the
universe from within. He is honored as Pure Love, Light, Energy and
Consciousness. He is contemplated as the timeless, formless and
spaceless Absolute Reality. In all three of these perfections is Siva
revered in Kauai's Hindu temple.

In Ways to Siva, curator Joseph Dye Lahendro wrote: "Who is Siva? What
is Siva? To His devotees, Siva is everything: He is the root and
support of the universe; He is the creative-destructive flow of life
that rushes through it. He is motion and calm, male and female, light
and dark, ascetic and lover, everything and its opposite. Siva is an
ambiguous God who embodies, defines and reconciles within Himself all
of life's processes and paradoxes. Siva is existence. He embodies the
structure of the universe."

Living with Siva, by Sivaya Subramuniyaswami, explains, "Siva dances
in the atoms throughout this universe. Siva dances energetically,
eternally. Siva is eternal movement. His mind is all-pervasive, and
thus He sees and knows everything in all spheres simultaneously and
without effort. Siva is the Self, and He is the energy we put forth to
know the Self. He is the mystery which makes us see Him as separate
from us. He is the energy of life, the power in the wind. He is the
dissolution called death, the peace of motionless air. He is the great
force of the ocean and the stillness on a calm lake. Siva is All and
in all. Our great God Siva is beyond time, beyond space, beyond form
and form's creation, and yet He uses time and causes form. He is in
the sky, in the clouds, in the swirling galaxies. Siva's cosmic dance
of creation, preservation and dissolution is happening this very
moment in every atom of the cosmos. God Siva is immanent, with a
beautiful human-like form which can actually be seen and has been seen
by many mystics in visions." Twenty centuries ago Rishi Tirumular, a
South Indian saint, praised Siva's dance: "In all worlds He is, the
Holy Lord. In darkness He is, light He is. In sun He is, in moon He
is. Everywhere He is. The Lord is in all creation. None knows His
coming and going. He is distant. He is near. Multiple He is. One He
is. Water, earth, sky, fire and wind, the spark within the body--all
these He is. He is the walking soul here below. Deathless He is."

The religion of Siva: Those who worship Lord Siva are Saivites, and
their religion is called Saivite Hinduism. Saivism represents roughly
half, perhaps somewhat more, of Hinduism's one billion members. It
shares more common ground than differences with other denominations.
Scholars tell us Saivite Hinduism is mankind's oldest religion, the
venerable Sanatana Dharma. They trace its roots back 6,000 years and
more to the Indus Valley civilization. But sacred writings and legend
tell us that there never was a time when Saivism did not exist. Its
grandeur derives from a sweet tolerance for the views of others,
coupled with a practical culture, an emphasis on personal spiritual
effort and experience, the perception that God is everywhere present,
and therefore no aspect of life may be divided from religion, and a
joyous devotion to the one God which all men worship and which it
knows as Siva, "the Auspicious One," and the knowledge that Truth lies
within man himself.

The four sacred Vedas, mankind's oldest scriptures, intone, "To Rudra
[Siva], Lord of sacrifice, of hymns and balmy medicines, we pray for
joy and health and strength. He shines in splendor like the sun,
refulgent as bright gold is He, the good, the best among the Gods (Rig
Veda 43.4­5)." "He is God, hidden in all beings, their inmost soul who
is in all. He watches the works of creation, lives in all things,
watches all things. He is pure consciousness, beyond the three
conditions of nature (Yajur Veda, Svet.U.6.11)." "There the eye goes
not, nor words, nor mind. We know not. We cannot understand how He can
be explained. He is above the known, and He is above the unknown (Sama
Veda, Kena U. 1.3)." "Fire is His head, the sun and moon His eyes,
space His ears, the Vedas His speech, the wind His breath, the
universe His heart. From His feet the Earth has originated. Verily, He
is the inner Self of all beings. (Atharva Veda, Mund.U. 2.1.4)."


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Welcome to the spirituality blog

This blog is an offshoot of a website that I had conceived as a result of the spiritual grace and resultant inspiration during Shivaratri Y2K (http://www.jyotirlinga.com) on the joy of Shiva Bhakti and my quest for spiritual progress. Not finding the time (yep, bad excuse!), this blog suits me fine in quickly adding content... my spiritual forays and thoughts - helps log them too. My spiritual journey started with Hinduism and it's simple stories/ teachings as far back as when I was a 2nd grader, with Lord Shiva and has now found convergence with Advaitism / Duality. The Advaitism gurus like Bhagwan Ramana Maharishi, Nisargadatta Maharaj; they have provided that spiritual boost of energy in many lagging moments and have tremendously influenced me ... little baby steps at a time... that will hopefully all lead upto a final crescendo. The merits of satsangh are many!

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