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Cosmic Soulmates

Engaged in the eternal dance of the universe!

TAGS: WHERNTO: heedism  erudite  notions 

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While I tend to be agnostic, there are many aspects of various religions I admire, a viewpoint which permits one to not hold arrogant perspectives like 'my religion is better than yours'. This competitive attitude has been largely responsible throughout history for barbaric behaviour in the name of God who would be least appreciative of having One's 'children' slaughtering 'children' - with self-proclaimed Christians mutually slaughtering self-proclaimed Muslims mutually slaughtering self-proclaimed Hindus mutually slaughtering self-proclaimed whatevers etc etc

This is not religion - it is politics … and of the worse kind.

I have found, when properly interpreted, there is much beauty in pretty well all religions. The faiths I have some idea about include Hindu, Buddhist, Christian, Jain, Bahai and of course Zen (which isn't really a faith, I suppose).

One of the most endearing descriptions of God, I have ever seen, is by Sister Nivedita (Margaret E. Noble) regarding Shiva. In the Hindu trinity, Brahma is the Creator, Vishnu the Preserver and Shiva is the Destroyer. Now you may think that makes Shiva a rather nasty sort of fellow, messing up the work of the others, but one must be clear about what this guy is really doing and Nivedita presents Shiva's character in a memorable way. For brevity I have summarized and rephrased parts of her writing:

In wild and lonely places, one may chance on the Great God. Once seen, there is no mistaking Him. Yet He has no look of being rich or powerful. His skin is covered with white wood-ashes. His clothing is but the religious wanderer's yellow cloth. In one hand he carries the begging bowl, in the others His tall staff, crowned with the trident.

High amongst the Himalayas is Shiva throned, rapt in silence, absorbed in his own eternal meditation. He is full of radiance and can cast no shadow. With each breath of His, it is said, worlds are created and destroyed! Yet He has nothing of His own, for in all these that He has created, there is nothing - not kingship, nor wealth, nor power that could for a moment tempt Him to claim it. One desire alone, has He, to destroy the ignorance of souls, to dispel the darkness so that in all the worlds, there is no longer blindness and sin.

It is by the face of the Great God, that we may know Him. One look is enough: that radiance of knowledge, one glance from the pity and tenderness in His benign eyes. It is impossible to think of the Great God as being angry. He sees only two things, insight and want of insight. Whatever be our sin and error, He longs only to reveal to us its cause, that we may not be left to wander in the dark. His is the infinite compassion.

In matters of the world, He is but simple, asking nothing in worship. His offerings are only bael leaves and water. And He will accept these in any form: the tears of the sorrowful are to Him like the pure water of his offering.

He keeps for Himself only those who would otherwise wander unclaimed. He rides, not on horse or elephant, but on a shabby old bull. Because the serpents were rejected by all others, did He allow them to twine about His neck. And amongst human beings, all the crooked and hunchbacked and lame and squint-eyed, He regards as His very own. For loneliness and deformity and poverty are passwords sufficient to the heart of the Great God. And He, who asks nothing in return, He the Lord of the Animals, who refuses none that come to Him sincerely, He will give His very Self, with all its sweetness and illumination, merely on the plea of our longing or our need.

Now, I hope you don't, for a moment, think this guy's a sissy. I would give a path of wide respect to anyone who can create and destroy entire worlds with a single breath! All the other gods certainly did!

Ever the destroyer of Ignorance, Shiva arises to slay our 'beloved', which is our vanity, our greed, and our fear. In the middle of His brow shines the great Third Eye of spiritual vision with which He pierces all hypocrisy and sham. With one glance, He can burn to ashes, that which is untrue, for though simple in worldly matters, in spiritual things He can never be deceived.

Yet, this is only half the story of the divine. In Shiva manifests the concept of perceptive knowledge, known as Jnana. However, standing with him is his consort, Maha Shakti, the Primal Force. Together, He and She, Insight and Strength are perpetually entwined, each part of the other, each honoring the other, and together giving meaning to existence itself … cosmic soulmates engaged in the eternal dance of the universe!