Tonight is Maha Shivaratri. If there’s one Hindu god who’s both revered and looks a little bit like a rockstar, it’s Lord Shiva. He’s the annihilator of evil and the granter of wisdom. Here’s a quick look at 11 life lessons we can learn from this divine long-haired superhero who wears a snake around his neck among other things.
1. ‘Things’ Cant Make You ‘Happy’
Shiva is an ascetic, wearing animal skin on a body smeared with Ash. He wears no gold jewellery or silks like the other gods and goddesses. Yet, he reigns the universe. Just because one has little doesn’t mean one can’t live a powerful and productive life. To Shiva, being attached to wealth means being tied down, weighed down – physically, mentally and emotionally.
Shiva is the original master of the art of minimalism, I think. Focus on creating a life that brings out your inner happiness instead of working at a job you don’t like to buy the things you don’t need.
2. Don’t Be A Bystander
Lord Shiva doesnt tolerate injustice. Injustice to him is evil, and he is the destroyer of all things evil. Do something – doing nothing or saying nothing in the face of injustice and just keeping yourself out of trouble is not the way to live. Stand for something, be brave – it’s our spiritual duty.
3. Nothing Lasts Forever
Shiva is the embodiment of impermanence. We have a tendency to hoard things – possessions, people, relationships and, of course, feelings. But everything comes with an expiry date and nothing will last forever. We need to learn to move on and be ready to face whatever comes our way, with grace.
4. Respect Your Better Half
Parvati is always by Lord Shiva’s side. Lord Shiva is known as Ardhanarishwara (half man and half woman), and therefore, Parvati is an essential part of him. She is his Shakti and Shiva can never be apart from strength. Our spouse- wives or husbands, partners in life, are part of us and we need to treat them with absolute respect and love.
5. Master Anger Management
Shiva’s cool-headedness is integral to the well-being of the universe, as he represents the destructive aspect. Too little, and the old lingers and progress isn’t made; too much and the universe is reduced to ashes. When fighting life’s battles, anger is never the answer. It only leads to extreme actions, which achieves nothing. Being cool and calm will help us get a new perspective and win over our battles.
6. Free Yourself From Desire
Easier said than done. Obsessions lead to nothing but bad decisions. This is because obsession magnifies the desire to the point where we’re willing to do anything for it; we sacrifice reason to achieve our ends. Lord Shiva never obsesses over anything. He is free from all desire. This gives him the ability to make decisions from a place of wisdom.
7. Get A Hobby You Enjoy
Shiva as Nataraja is a powerful cosmic dancer. He dances the Tandava – a divine vigorous dance that is the source of the cycle of creation, preservation and dissolution. While the Rudra Tandava is of a violent nature, first as the creator and later as the destroyer of the universe, even of death itself; the Ananda Tandava is a happy dance. Shiva’s dance is the ultimate expression of his true nature.
Just like Shiva’s dance, expressing our own true nature should be one of our top priorities. Let’s never doubt that each of us has the capability to shock, inspire, and awe those around us with our own little dance, poem, story, song, art or sport!
8. Awaken, Rise Higher
Shivaratri is celebrated at midnight to celebrate Shiva. Why at night ? That is because Shiva comes to this world when it is enveloped in the darkness of ignorance —– when everyone has forgotten their true identity as beautiful souls, and instead believe they are mere bodies. This body-consciousness gives rise to vices such as lust, anger and greed, which are the root causes of all human suffering. Let’s rid ourselves of this malevolent ego – a cause of much bitterness and obstacles; the ruiner of relationships, ideas, and dreams.
Let’s rise above!