Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Guide. Pattanaik's Calendar Art: Part D (Shiva, Devi)

These two videos come from Devdutt Pattanaik's Seven Secrets from Hindu Calendar Art. The Vishnu video is continued in the next part.

4-2. Shiva's Secret Part 2 (15 min.)


5. Devi's Secret (17 min.)


Shiva the householder

[About Shiva's marriage to Sati and her death:] In rage, Shiva beheaded his father-in-law after destroying his sacrificial altar. Here he played the role of a conventional destroyer — destroying a social order that made no sense to him."

[He then tells of Shiva's rejection of Kama, and how Parvati persisted until he became her husband.] "With this, he became the householder. He became Shankara."

"Parvati begged Shiva to accept worldly ways and be a more presentable groom. He indulged her and became a beautiful god, Somasundara, as beautiful as the moon, and married the Goddess."

"Judgment is impossible without standards. For the hermit, these standards may seem cultural delusions, but for the householder, these are essential cornerstones of civilization."

More stories of Shiva

[DP tells the story of Shiva drinking the poison at the time of the churning of the Ocean. He also tells the story of Shiva preventing Yama from killing young Markandeya.]

[About Shiva catching Ganga as she fell:] "Shiva symbolically takes the role of the yogi, one who is able to control the mind so that it is not a slave of matter."

"The moon was once cursed with a wasting disease and so it took shelter on Shiva's head. Contact with Shiva helped the waning moon wax again, for Shiva is the source of all potency. That is why the crescent moon is always shown on Shiva's forehead."

[Shiva dancing:] This posture is the famous Tandava, which essentially means the more aggressive masculine form of dance, distinguishing it from Lasya, the more enchanting feminine form of dance."

Kartikeya: son of Shiva

[DP tells the story of Kartikeya's birth from Shiva's super-potent sperm. He also discusses Kartikeya's wives; in north India, he is unmarried, but in south India he has two wives:] "They are Devasena, daughter of Indra, the god of the sky, and Valli, daughter of a local tribal chieftain." 

[DP discusses Kartikeya' refusal to associate with women in the north, while:] In the south, he is worshipped wither as Kumara, the bachelor, or Subramanium, the married god."

Shiva-Linga

[An image of two crisscrossing triangle:] This is a geometrical representation of the union of material and spiritual reality. The upward pointing triangle, like a mountain, represents stability, stillness, and God. The downward pointing triangle, like a waterfall, represents instability, movement, and Goddess. When they are separate they look like Shiva's rattle-drum. But when united, they form a six-pointed star. These are yantras or geometrical communications of metaphysical ideas."

[Shiva-linga:] The upwardly protruding pillar is conceptually the same as the upward-pointing triangle. The trough below on which the pillar stands is conceptually the same as the downward-pointing triangle. Thus, it is the union of the changing truth of matter (downward pointing triangle / yoni) and the unchanging truth of the spirit (upward pointing triangle / linga)."

"Pots without stable bases hang on top of the Shiva-linga. The base is punctured so that water drips continuously, to remind us that worldly life is about movement and life ebbs with each passing moment as water flows out of a broken pot. We have to use this finite time we have with us to disccover the truth of spirit and matter, how when they engage there is creation and how when they disengage there is destruction."





Devi's Secret: Desire and Destiny Create Life

"This is Kanyakumari, the virgin goddess, and her temple is located in the southern tip of India."

[She was to marry Shiva, and he was traveling to her from the north in one night, reaching her before dawn. But the gods made a rooster crow, and Shiva turned back.] "The goddess, bedecked in bridal finery, waited and waited for the groom who would never come. All the food that had been cooked for the wedding feast went to waste. In rate she kicked the pots and pans and wiped her face of make-up. That is why the sea and sands on the southern tip of India are so multicolored."

"The goddess is a symbol of the material world. We want this world to be like a mother so that it can feed us; we want this world to be like a warrior so that it can defend us. So, the Goddess and her many diminutive doubles, the goddesses of households and villages, are mothers and warriors, loving and fearful."

"Man begs the goddess to allow herself to become domesticated and become a mother. But he knows she is wild and dangerous and can strike him down any time."

"Under her feet grovels a demon. Who is this demon? This demon is man who seeks to destroy nature to establish his settlement. He is that part of man that seeks to dominate the forest and make the goddess his mistress."

[DP analyzes an image of Lakshmi to show all the goodness and bounty shown there. He then analyzes Bhagavati, a goddess of Kerala who is both the wild goddess and the goddess Parvati.] Bhagavati is a local form of Shakti, the goddess of power.

[DP analyzes the Goddess shown as Kamakshi with Kama's sugarcane bow and flower arrow.]

"A man's desire is fulfilled by engaging with the world. From the world come wealth, knowledge, and power. Man can take all this from the Goddess, but the Goddess also asks him to give some things in return. She may be the object, the observation, but she demands that the subject, the observer, engage with her not with the language fo domination, but with the language of love."

"The axe is the symbol of death and division. The axe kills and separates the flesh from the soul."

"The noose, however, binds: it binds the flesh to the soul and it binds all living creatures to their fate. No one can escape fate. Even death is no escape from fate. The noose of fate forces us to live another life until it is time for us to fulfill our destiny."

"Durga is the most popular form of Shakti. She is both power and love. Her face is made up like a bride but she carries in her arms weapons of war. As a bride, she is love; as a warrior, she is power. As a bride, she satisfies desires; as a warrior she overpowers destiny."

"Durga embodies both power and love — the sense of being taken care of. That is why she is called the mother."

"Shakti is also our mind. Our mind is, by nature, wild and unfettered, but over time, we domesticate it with values and rules in our desire for a better life."

"The mind, in sacred literature, is distinguished from the soul because the mind is restless while the soul is restful. The mind can dominate and be affectionate; it seems domination of affection. The soul witnesses the domination and the affection."

"The demon is the observer-mind who forgets that she provides for him like a mother and a bride, and seeks to control her as a slave. Some have identified this demon as th ego, which craves power, domination, and validation, and is greedy for attention and glory."

[DP tells the story of Vaishno-Devi: a lusty ascetic chases her, and she beheads him. He repents and worships her.] "Thus he who seeks to dominate the Goddess can surrender to her. In other words, the one who chases desires can also submit to destiny."

[He mentions Hanuman's connection to the Goddess in the form of Sita.]

"Nothing is absolute. The forest transforms into a field and back into a forest again. The bride becomes a warrior, the killer becomes a mother, the tormentor becomes a guardian, the animal becomes god."

"Some are wild, some are gentle, some are loving, some are horrific. Each one is an aspect of the Goddess. These are the Mahavidyas, or embodiments of great wisdom."

"Wealth creates power, power can become love, domination can turn to affection, violence can give way to pleasure. And while she transforms, the Goddess stimulates transformation. Sometimes one can be Shiva, comfortable with the way things are, and sometimes one can be Vishnu, determined the change things for the better."

"Shiva is called Hara and Vishnu is called Hari. Hari-Hara is the merged form of Shiva and Vishnu. These are the observers of life."

"Shiva's form implies the absence of society. He accepts life as it is without attempting to control or change it. Vishnu's form implies the existence of a society and a code of culture. He turns the forest into a field and a garden. The Goddess is that world around us — the one who stimulates us and the one we respond to as Hari or Hara. She makes us desire, she enforces destiny."



Mahavidyas


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