Always there has been one – the sacred sound Om* which is the Timeless, Formless One – Lord Shiva/Mahesh (the God of gods).
Shiva is made of two halves. Typically, right side is Purusha or the masculine component while the left side is Prakriti (Nature) or the feminine component. Hence, Shiva is also known as Ardhnarishwara – literally the Half Woman God and embodies the masculine and feminine energies of the universe.
In the beginning, Lord Vishnu slept and from his navel appeared Lord Brahma. Together, they constitute the Trimurti (or the Hindu trinity)
- Brahma: The Creator
- Vishnu: The Preserver
- Mahesh: The Destroyer/Transformer
Brahma had the task of creating the three worlds: Heaven (Swarg lok), Earth (Bhu lok) and the Netherworld (Patal lok). When Brahma realized his creations did not represent the feminine component of the universe, he requisitioned Shiva’s help. Shiva detached his half – the feminine energy that is Shakti or Power and gave her to Brahma in his creation.
Shiva spent eons alone without his counterpart, withdrawing from the world, meditating. But he needed to engage with the world for there was still much to be done. Only his other half, Shakti could persuade him to re-engage with the universe. Once Brahma’s task of creation was complete, Shakti began her journey to return to her counterpart, Shiva. This union became possible only after centuries of separation, hardships, trials and tribulations – the oldest (and best) love story ever. When Shiva finally accepted and married Parvati or Goddess Shakti, they were two yet one. Just as She is incomplete without Him, so is He without Her – She is His strength and He the engagement with the world without being attached to it. Upon marriage to Shakti, Shiva made the transition from the hermit to the householder and through example, they demonstrate the code of conduct and the ideal way of life.
With this union, the trinity of the Tridev (the Three Gods) and the Tridevis (the three Goddesses) was complete:
- Brahma, the Creator with his wife Saraswati, the Goddess of Knowledge;
- Vishnu, the Preserver/Sustainer with his wife Lakshmi, the Goddess of Wealth; along with
- Shiva, the Destroyer/Transformer and his wife Parvati, the Goddess of Power.
Shiva as the Destroyer helps us to overcome/destroy Ahankar or excessive pride (in our achievements and capabilities) as well as fear (of imagined reality and death) by realizing that the power (Shakti) to do so, resides within us. When we accept and understand the philosophy of Shiva and harness Shakti that is present within each of us – we become One with Them and achieve Moksha (liberation).
This is inspired by the Daily Post’s Discover Challenge – One Two Three and is an attempt to summarize my own inadequate, incomplete and superficial understanding of a complex, often contradictory, confusing, conflicting yet boundless, limitless philosophy that is utterly compelling and fascinating. I can only attempt to grasp and understand the edges of the real truth.
“There is no real truth, belief is everything.” Anonymous
Note: *Om pronounced AUM is also believed by many to represent the trinity:
- A: Brahma
- U: Vishnu
- M: Mahesh
Thank you for reading. Comments, thoughts and views are very welcome.