In India as we celebrate Mahashivratri; a festival in honour of Hindu God, Lord Shiva, I would like to touch upon what lessons on growth and success mindset Shiva has to offer the humankind.
Shiva is the symbol of destruction amidst the three Hindu deities i.e. Brahma-the creator, Vishnu-the preserver and Shiva-the destroyer. However, the dissolving force is inherent in life as destruction is quintessential for creation. The paradoxical character of the Shiva has been unveiled over the years by various scriptures and it is precisely this ironic coexistence of destruction and creation that attributes power to the deity. Lord Shiva’s silence and stillness is captured through his deep meditative practises in the lofty Himalyas on one hand while his ferocious character is reflected through his proverbial anger. Shiva, hence is a projection of the possibility of dichotomy in personalities that each of us carries.
However, I am quite intrigued by the symbolic representations of Shiva’s accessories and appearance and the life lessons that they are meant to teach us.
Wisdom: The crescent moon is a reflection of self-regulation of one’s thoughts and behaviours. It indicates perfect control on one’s mind. Hence, while in pursuit of our dreams and goals, we need to internalize this characteristic of control on one’s thoughts and the ability to discern the right from wrong, to understand the environment and self as well as to have insights into the true nature of one’s being and the potentiality for becoming.
Vigilance: One of the pivotal characteristics of an individual who is striving to achieve his goals and successes is his ability to stay alert, aware and conscious of all the possibilities for learning that his environment has to offer to him. Shiva’s Snake hence is a representation of ‘the eagerness to learn. In the process of challenging adversities, we too need to be vigilant in order to identify the continuous opportunities for learning and breaking through our deadlocks. This would be possible by staying as alert and aware of the subjective reality as Shiva’s snake always is.
Coexistence: The Shiva’s trident which signifies the mutual coexistence of waking, dreaming and sleeping or creation, maintenance and destruction or the past, present and future; is also a reflection of how human beings continue to live through various states of consciousness amidst the challenges of life. The Trishul is polyvalent i.e. has the property of thwarting several associated poisons or providing immunity against many different stresses that an individual. It hence is faced with. It is a reflection of an inherent capacity an individual to remove many different negative qualities which inhibit his evolution over time.
Insight: While walking the path of unravelling the seemingly intangible goals in life it is essential for the human mind to believe in the infinite possibilities for growth and accomplishment. Shiva’s third eye depicts the ability to see beyond what is apparent and vanishes all possible ignorance and evil. This is the kind of perception that allows an individual towards self-realization and to believe in the latent potentialities through acquired knowledge and wisdom.
Innovation: It is the capacity of the human mind to think through ideas and develop them into innovations that keep it going. However, the process of discovery and innovation is rhythmic, the pattern of which is eternally swinging between high and low energy levels, temperaments, successes and failures. Shiva’s damru is a reflection of such a rhythm with its pulse racing across frequencies. It symbolizes the Universe which is always expanding and collapsing. It is through continuous growth oriented strategies that an individual exhausts his energies, but it is also through such an exhaustion or collapse that a person finds ways and means towards novel creations. Creativity is hence at its best reflected through the strides of ups and downs.
Networking: It is only obvious that in the era of globalisation Networking is the key element determining success and achievement of one’s goals in life. It is by walking the path of righteousness that one develops a network with people which provides prospects for tangible social and professional support. In the 21st century, an era with a plethora of opportunities, the potentiality of an individual to go farther is contingent upon the vehicle he chooses and that vehicle better be the one that can carry a lot of weight along the way. Shiva’s bull i.e. Nandi is symbolic of its strength and load bearing capacity; a vehicle that determined to carry its master irrespective of where he went and in turn received his protection from the destruction that may have been caused by consuming the poison i.e. halahala (reflective of the poison of evil politics among people).