The Death and the Dance

The cosmic dance of Lord Shiva                   Lord Shiva is one of the prominent and most worshipped God in Hinduism. Basically, Hinduism described the existence of the universe with three main philosophies : 1) Brahma, the symbolism for creation, 2) Vishnu, the symbolism for sustaining force of the universe and 3) Shiva, the symbolism for destruction. One of the most interesting feature of Hinduism lies in worshipping even the destructor , Lord Shiva !!! The philosophy behind the depiction of Shiva runs around ‘death’ , the final result of destruction and burial ground is where he lives in. Lord Shiva is portrayed in every picture with symbols of destruction or ‘death causing elements’ in the world like fire (in third eye), snake ( around neck), Trishul ( a weapon in hand), whirling water (on his head), poison ( in the neck) and a demon (under his feet) etc. Apart from these elements, Shiva is also portrayed with musical features like ‘Dhamarukam’ in one hand with musical performers around him and a dancing posture (NATRAJ) and his dance is very popularly known as ‘Shiva Thandavam’ with a perfect rhythm.

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Ganesh Festival

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             Ganesh festival in India conveys the understanding of the universe by the age old rishis and reminds every Hindu devotee about his position in the universe. In fact, Lord Ganesha was mentioned in the oldest of vedas, Rigveda. By that time, still there are no concepts like Trimurti (Brahma, Vishnu and Maheswara) and man used to worship Nature around him. That means even before the life forces of Nature were viewed as Trimurthis in Hinduism, Lord Ganesha was considered as the universal force dwelling in the center of the Galaxy. He is the representation of the central force that binds our whole galaxy, the Milkyway in Hindu mythology. Hence, in the festival pooja, Ganapathi is made to sit in the center and a special construction called ‘Palavelli’ is hanged over his head and all kind of round objects (fruits) are tied to palavelli. Here palavelli signifies our galaxy and the different fruits hanging over palavelli represents different planets all rotating the central force of the galaxy, Lord Ganesha. On conducting festival, we remind ourselves the setup of the galaxy itself and giant forces operating around the universe and helps us to be in conscious that we are part of this grandest universe. This concept of oneness and interconnection of the universe to our life are significant features in the festival pooja. We conduct pooja by offering different flowers and leaves in this Nature thanking the very central force,Lord Ganesha, for creating the habituated life giving environment. Because all planets in the galaxy revolve and rotate, we also do pradikshana ( revolving) and atma pradakshina (rotation) in the pooja symbolizing that we are also one of many planets like objects in the universe. This feeling of oneness with universe is the real Bhakthi and is embedded in Ganesh festival.

The Philosophy of Life

         Truth can be pursued only by two persons in this world, one is a scientist and the other is a saint. In the strict sense, science will not give direct perception of the truth, but a saint can directly experience the truth through his own means. Science is some thing like a geometrical concept of asymptote .That means it tries to reach the goal but never reaches. Thus, the science progress will be nearer to the truth but never reaches the truth, because truth can only be experienced but cannot be understood through intellectual means. There is no feeling or direct experience of facts in the study of science.

The one important common point that both scientist and saint will accept is that our sensory perception is very limited and hence it is necessary to transcend the knowledge beyond senses to understand this universe. The only difference is their technique to do that. Science reaches to transcendental knowledge through reasoning and expresses the facts in the language of mathematics and equations where as a saint tries to experience directly the transcendental state and not so much interested to express it as he knows that it can only be experienced but cannot be expressed in a complete sense. But in the history these mystical facts were expressed in poetic language , cautiously stressing the limitedness of any kind of expression regarding the truth very well.

This article is my small effort to synthesize both their views to understand the truth.

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