WHY WE WORSHIP SIVA
(BY UMESH CHANDRA CHAKRAVARTY)
From time immemorial the Hindus are worshipping God Siva who is master of truth, beauty and bliss. From the highest Himalayas on the north down to Rameswar in the south and from Chandranath
hill on the east to Dwarka on the west the whole of India is filled up with Siva-temples here and there. So it is quite needless to give any acquaintance of God Siva to the Indians whom they are ever-familiar with. Their ins and outs are ever-filled up with the attributes of Siva and hearts ever spring with joy in His very worship! This Siva-worship is not only an object of outward form of Hindu-worship, but the Greatest Saint Acharya Sankara who perfectly realised within himself the true meaning of Indian worship of God Siva, declared quite clearly in one of the hymns called “Nirvana Shatkam” as follows:—”I am beyond all imaginations and forms, I do not obey any sense but all senses obey Me; there is nothing without Me, I am Siva Himself in the very Shape of Soul and Joy. This is the real description of Siva, the worshippers who proceed in their way with this true acquaintance of the worshipped
are surely blessed. His worship required no particular arrangement,—He is ever satisfied with two little prayers and offerings,—a drop of water, a leaf of bel and cheek-slap sounds only please Him the most. We have no second thing to offer to Him, the Atman or Soul is the only object of His offer. In His well-known hymn of salutation we find the following expression:—’We bow Thee down O God, full of infinite welfare and calmness and the root cause of all the three worlds. I offer my soul unto Thee. Thou God of gods and Goal of all.” Surrendering of the Self is His only mode of worship, which transform an earthly being to Divine being full of heavenly bliss. Hence a blessed holy person sing most loudly the highly esteemed song “Am Siva Himself am Siva Himself in the very shape of Soul and Joy!”
Siva worship does not require the exact image of Siva as depicted in the hymn of Holy Scripture, but it prefers a bright symbol of Divinity widely known as “Siva-Lingam”!
[paragraph continues] What is Lingam? We must think deeply and make out its real explanation. Lingam means sign or symbol. Worship of Such Divine Symbol is a current usage amongst all nations of the world. The Hindus worship Lingam, the Bouddhas, Stupa, the Mahomedans, a Blue Stone Pulpit in Kaba and the Christians a Cross Staff; thus almost every great nation worships a Divine symbol of whatever shape it may be. The modern historians are of opinion that the Buddhistic Stupa or Pagoda was transformed into Siva Lingam by mighty influence of Acharya Sankara. But actually the worship of Siva Lingam is being practised by the Hindus from unknown pre-historic time. We find the origin of its history in the last chapter of ‘Dharma Samhita’ of ‘Siva Maha Puranam’ that when the world was totally destroyed and there was nothing but unending flood of water and three original representations of Godhood namely Brahma, Vishnu and Rudra, Brahma and Vishnu requested Rudra most fervently for recreation of the universe. Rudra gladly consented and immersed Himself in a long deep meditation. Some thousand years being passed in this way and
finding no possibility of creation by Him, Vishnu asked Brahma to perform the task, who finished it instantly. Rudra then rose from the meditation and finding everything already created by Brahma, because fired with wrath and at once attempted to destroy. At this Brahma and Vishnu came before Him and extinguished His wrath by entreaties, and singing long prayer ire His praise. Easily pleased He was gladdened instantly with that and with the request of Brahma and others, He threw off His fiery vigour produced through wrath unto the Sun, who got the splendid illumination to light up the world. The Divine Vigour of God Siva, placed thus in the Sun is worshipped thrice a day by all as Gavatri, Savitri and Saraswati. Thereafter Siva who secured endless life seeds for the creation through long meditation, put off the Lingam or Symbol which is the stock of life-seeds and threw it down on the earth. Thus being thrown off it began to expand both downward and upward and made unbearable horror to the world. Vishnu went downward and Brahma upward to get two ends of the same but being utterly unsuccessful were staying quite unhappy. At this
moment some words were heard to be uttered in the Ethereal plane that “If this blazing Symbol of Divine vigour be worshipped by all it would be pleased and the horrible temper would be transformed into broad calmness to the entire welfare of the world. By worshipping the Symbol all would worship God Siva. Thereupon all did the same whole-heartedly and happiness of the world was restored for ever and the worshippers were filled up with the spirit of Divinity and fully realised within themselves the perfect Godhood of Siva.
THREE DIVINE FORMS
From the very time of this well-known fact about the origin of Effulgent and Eternal Lingam or Symbol, the Hindus have been worshipping God Siva in Pure and Divine Symbol. Siva is not only the lord of destruction, a description in the ‘Sivastakam’ composed by Acharya Sankara gives out the perfectness of God Siva in three Divine forms for three divisions of work, namely Brahma as Creator, Vishnu as Supporter and Rudra as Destroyer. His symbol is ever-embraced by the Symbol of Nature, the World Mother. Here lies a very high idea of Hindu system of worship which express
as clear as daylight the true meaning of worshipping Fatherhood and Motherhood of God symbolized together. Everyone being the child of Father God and Mother Nature possesses full right to worship what symbolize Them both. Is it not? Yes, actually this is the universal system of worship not at all confined in any country, community or sect. This is quite natural just as a child pays its due respect to the father and mother.
In other words it is the worship of Self or Atman and the realization of Godhood within the worshipper himself. The spinal column standing on the plexus which is triangular in form is the symbol of that worship. From the plexus right up comes the hollow canal called Susumna or Antarasunya and from the left and the right sides come two fine nerves known as Ida and Pingala coiled round this hollow canal or the spinal column forming vertebra. These are the upper end or terminus of the hollow canal wherein to be found a mesh work of fine nerve tissues which is on the central part of the brain, otherwise called cerebellum apart from cerebrum and medulla oblongata. In mythological language this mesh or network of tissues is called the
thousand petalled lotus or Sahasrar.
This is what we find in physiological structures. Inside the hollow canal known as Susumna three concentric nerve tissues equally hollow inside are also mentioned in the book. The first or the outer one is called Vazra-naree or Indra-naree. The second one inside the first casing is called Surya-naree or Solar canal and still further inside another hollow canal mentioned is known as Brahmanaree or the hollow canal for Divinity.
This whole physiological representation is symbolized in stone image known as Sthanu and Gauripatta. The worshipper is to unloosen a bit of clog or small globule on the top of the Sthanu and then the worship will begin, because it is supposed that the internal passage to the higher plane is naturally blocked up which must be removed, so that the internal flow or the passage of energy might come up to the highest plane known as Sahasrar. To put in Psychological language the Atman or the Ego which is supposed to be inside the hollow canal or Susumna of the person is to be worshipped or meditated upon. From
the down plexus six stages are mentioned as lotuses. These lotuses and stages are to be traversed by rigid meditation upon one’s own Self and the adjoining nerve tissues of the centre are called particular lotuses. We have Muludhara, Swadhisthana, Manipura; Bisuddha Chakra, Anahata, Ajna Chakra and Sahasrar. Thus worshipping these representations one is worshipping his Ownself or Ego. Hence no rigid ritualities are ordained neither any caste distinction nor speciality of persons are required. Every person can worship Siva quite independently. It is the most non-sectarian, non-bigoted form of worship. This worship is the worthy self projection or super-imposition of one’s own Self or Adhyas of the Atman as symbolized in some material casing or stone representation.
Now in the Bamachari period when everything was explained out through the symbol of creative agencies known as Brahma-Vija and Sristhi Vija, the vertebra or the Sthanu is called the male symbol or Phallus of creation and the plexus or Gouripatta is called the female symbol or Phallus of production. Thus the creative aspect of the original idea is well-preserved in the
representation which form an alter mode of explanation. The Sthanu is the representation of the Eternal column or Image known as Jyotirmoy or Effulgent Image and the Gouripatta is represented receptivity of the Divine Energy which brings forth the creation. In Common parlance it is called Firmament and Earth or Creative Father and Mother in procreation.
March 2, 1930.
From The A. B. Patrika