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Siva

siva

Of all the beings of the overmind, of all the gods, Siva has always seemed to me the most sympathetic, the most congenial, the most adorable.

His sole activity, dancing, seems so much more appropriate for a god than turning a potter’s wheel like Chnum or separating heaven and earth like Jehovah. Other gods are busy creating, or strenuously fighting demons. Siva just smiles, and his smile is always victorious.

Those who try to disturb his peace he puts out of action by looking at them with his third eye, a more dignified way and less harmful than throwing bolts of lightning like Zeus or hammers like Thor. Although his dance is nonstop, it is only a part of him which dances a part of his joy; the other part sits immobile in perennial mediation on the snowy summits of the Himalayas. Here he is absolute. Mute, alone, pure blissful awareness concentrated on itself. Other gods sit behind pearly gates, on golden thrones or silken cushions, in splendid Valhallas surrounded by heavenly hosts or beautiful dancing girls. Siva sits alone on a tiger skin, and when he comes to earth he comes as a beggar. He has no jewels to distribute to his faithful except Rudraksha berries and wears only his symbolical tiger skin and serpents. That is why he is the god of the ascetics, the wandering beggars, the monks of Hinduism in search of the absolute.

His ascetism does not prevent him from getting married, and in every one of his numerous temples in South India the marriage festival is celebrated every year with pilgrimages and processions, fireworks and rejoicing. His bride is of course the Divine Mother, paragon of beauty and a model spouse. In her he has vested all power. He himself exercises none, being pure purusha, spirit, consciousness without motion, bliss reposing in itself, naked ecstasy. That is why he is worshipped by those longing for mukti, for their transcendence.

In spite of the transcosmic depth of his meditation, in spite of the physical unapproachability of his refuge behind and above the symbolical 30-metre snowdrifts, Siva is approachable – in and through the depths of our meditation, the power of our concentration. It is true that some ancient stories tell of meditations lasting for thousands of years before Siva was moved to answer, “Ask me a boon, my child, your meditation is pleasing to me”. But there are also cases when he went almost immediately to the help of his devotees.

I like a god whom you can approach simply by meditating, though there are others who insist that you repent of your sins, be circumcised or baptized, file your teeth, or die on a battlefield to be accepted into the inner circle. But with Siva you just close your eyes, become pure self-awareness as he is, and he is already there – to bless you, to embrace you, to invite you to sit with him on the summits of being, and then – at that moment in eternity – you also are Siva, unending bliss, absolute felicity.

Te Ana Vava (Medhananda)

(Medhananda was born in Germany and became a judge of the High Court at Frankfurt.  He then lived in Tahiti for several years. In 1949 he wrote to Sri Aurobindo and joined the Sri Aurobindo Ashram in 1952.  He was given the work of Librarian of Sri Aurobindo Library by the Mother.)

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