Saturday, 19 July 2008

I’m in love…

This time, the story starts when my “Book of Shiva” arrived from Amazon.com. I picked it up, brought it to my ashram to read while waiting for the full-moon class starting… and was captivated by He whose matted hair contained the flows of Mother Gangga.
I don’t know what to say about “The Book of Shiva”, other than I am renewing my love to Shiva. I mean, I love and adhere to all aspects of the Trinity, and I bow to the power of Vishnu to preserve the world (next time, there will be a post about Lord Krishna. God willing). But Lord Shiva… I don’t know. 

There’s something within that Hermit of Kailash that amazes me. Perhaps His matted hair, from which Mother Gangga flows. Perhaps His hermit stage. Not His snake… not His snake… (I respect snakes, but only because they’re part of the ecosystem, thank you very much).

But one thing for sure that makes me admire Shiva: His love to Lady Uma/Parvati. So beautiful, so sweet… A while ago, I wept the first time I learned that He too was broken hearted when Sati (the previous incarnation of Parvati) died. Now, after reading the story again here, my heart was crushed again.




Shiva is the God who knows the pain of separation. And the way Shiva expressed His feelings as He watched the All-Mother Uma turned into Kali to defeat demon Raktabija: “It pained me to see my Uma like this. I wept when she howled like a wild beast… and turned on the blood-spawns.”
Kudos to Saurav Mohapatra’s script and Deepak Chopra’s ideas. I really love the painting-like arts inside of the book – Tayade, Singh, and Subramanian did amazing works. My favourite part was when Shiva stopped the enraging Kali:
“Uma, this cannot be. You must fight her.” 



And then, the most beautiful painting, as He holds Uma’s unconscious form and said: 

“The Sleeper slumbered again. For it was Uma who opened her eyes. Perhaps it was the fatigue of battle that quelled the primal will. Perhaps it was the power of the All-Mother. But sometimes I like to think…maybe… Just maybe… it was me.”




 Sweet, romantic Shiva…
 
My only nitpick is that Shiva was shown smiling only in 1-2 panels, particularly when Uma was around. I mean, yes – Shiva has the dark Rudra side, the destructive side. But He also has His sweet, beautiful side. The Dance of Life, or Nataraj, is danced with love. His love: sweet, tender, beautiful love. Such spirit is not really shown here, hence might mislead new readers or those who are not familiar with the Vedic tradition, thinking that Shiva is 'only' an all-angry God who destroys everything.

Personally, I would rather have the book cover depicting the benevolent Shiva, He who smiles peacefully as He watches the world from the top of Kailash. But I understand why from the sale point of view, the artists and creator preferred the scarier form of Shiva. Here’s the hope for the second volume, where Shiva is depicted with gentler smile, as sweet and gentle as He gazes lovingly at Lady Parvati.

By the way, I understand that many a friend of mine have difficulties understanding the iconography of Vedic cosmology. It’s hard to understand it if we use only day-to-day common sense; for how could we love the very horrible form of Kali as She slays the demons? Ah… but I have no time now to explain. I am, too, still learning… but I understand why I love Her. Why Shiva loves Her. Perhaps, later I will share with you. Perhaps later…

As the closing note, this comic format (aside from the often-too-serious depiction of Shiva) is favourable to me. I as I read Mohapatra’s script… I felt like I was reading Gail Simone’s take on Wonder Woman, as the Amazing Amazon had her inner monologue. Interesting. 

Pic 1: Book of Shiva, amazon.com
Pic 2: Shiva and Parvati, His Shakti, from Stephen Knapp’s site

1 comment:

R.R.Sathiya said...

excellent,marvelous theorm. what ever you told is correct dear freind. In Tamil we say "Anbe Sivam" means Love means Shiva. He is the perfect male tutor to give half body to beloved wife and respect forceful young daughter (ganga wife of santhanu) by holding on head and allow apt freedom to the goodness of family and world. om sivaya namah