That day was different while I had been to a temple with my friends on a school tour. For my lucky charm, it was a Shiva temple. We visited every corner of the temple, enjoyed viewing the arts in the sculptures and listened to the historical stories of the temple. Fortunately, I got a company with one of the priests of the temple who easily got closer to me and we spoke a lot. Walking along the various Shrines of the temple, he asked me “what is Shiva according to you?”
I stood blank as I felt it was a question far beyond my knowledge and I really couldn’t frame out an answer. He started answering me his questions himself.
“Shiva is the ultimate power. Yet we simply regard Shiva as per Shiva tattva.” It sounded totally new to me and I exclaimed him “Where to search for Shiva Tattva?” He laughed at me on my innocence and answered me that it is nothing to be searched for, rather it was not any framework or rules to follow. “It can be simply attained through meditation. Shiva is nothing but the inner state we could experience. It is a state between being awake or dreaming or sleeping. It is a glimpse of the fourth state experienced from neither sleeping nor dreaming and it can give us the best rest possible which is not attained by sleeping.”
Now I was even more confused and went speechless. I broke the silence in some minutes and asked him, “So is it that Meditation is Shiva?” for which he nodded a big ‘NO’.
“Shiva tattva is something beyond words and it can only be felt. Innocence and intelligence together is Shiva. Shiva is embodied in such a way that though he is the Lord of the Universe, he does not owe any jewels or clothes for himself. He is a combination of Rudra and Bholenath which means fierce and innocence together.”
I felt like I understood something and started listening eagerly to each and word from him. “Shiva was given a form to make it understandable for the innocent people. He is an unfathomable divine energy actually having no form. The most common form of Shiva that was created to rely his powers on the Universe is the Nataraja form which symbolizes the functioning of the Universe. The form created for Shiva has a drum in his hands. This is to symbolize that the world is full of rhythms, ups and downs.”
I nodded as I agreed to his point regarding the Nataraja form, the stories of which I had heard from my Granny. I had even started loving Bharatham because of this dancing form of Shiva. I asked him, “Is there any other forms of Shiva that is more popular and important?”
He nodded yes as we stopped in front of the Shrine of Lord Shri Bhairava, a form which is full of terror including Shiva’s weapons and a dog as his vector. We worshipped him and the continued our talk. He pointed out to this form of Shiva and started continuing, ”In general, Shiva also holds a Trishul in his hands. This is to symbolize that he has the power to destroy all the evils of life. It is also believed that, Shiva can destroy the three types of pain, physical, spiritual and ethereal pains that can arise in one’s life.”
We felt greatly relaxed as we were speaking so much about Shiva. I was really enjoying this company at the temple and learnt a lot. It was almost time to leave while we were too enthusiastic in our conversation. I asked him. “So how could one attain Shiva in one’s life?”
He appreciated my eagerness for giving a greater continuation towards his words and explained me, “Chanting his divine name is one way of expressing your love for the divine. The Lord Shiva is commonly chanted by the famous Panjaakshara which is “OM NAMA SHIVAYA”. This could be split in the following ways for understanding it. ‘OM’ is regarded as the ultimate vibration of the universe. NA,MA,SHI,VA,YA represents the five supreme powers that constitute the universe such as the Earth, Water, Fire, Air and Ether. Thus, the mantra for chanting Shiva is simply a representation of the existence of various powers of the Universe. OM is the sound of peace, joy and love thereby constituting the Universe.”
I wondered at the various unknown things that was in day-to-day practice of life. I decided to teach others the meaning behind each and every little thing about Shiva so that they understand the supremacy of Shiva. Rather, I said to myself that I should learn more about Shiva before I could teach others. With a greater feeling of contentment, I ended up the tour and reached back home where I exclaimed every incident to my granny and started learning more form her.