Subj: shiva
Date: 8/22/00 12:12:47 PM Pacific Daylight Time

Kent, you probably have gotten dozens of emails like this today, but here is another one -

" I am become Death [Shiva], the destroyer of worlds..."

Physicist Robert Oppenheimer - Supervising Scientist Manhattan Project
on 16 July 1945 at 0529 HRS, in the Jornada del Muerto desert near the Trinity site in the White Sands Missile Range .... quoting from the Bhagavad-Gita upon witnessing first atomic detonation by mankind.

Shiva is the destroyer - destroyer of ignorance, desire, ego, and death.

+ Shiva : His vehicle is the while bull - Nandi. His consort is Devi - Parvati. They have two sons. Ganesh (God with Elephant head) is one of them. Shiva is the god of destruction - of all evil.

+ Shiva-Bhiksatana Murti : Once when Bramha was very arrogant, Shiva cut Bramha's fifth head. Consequently, in order to expiate the sin, Shiva had to wander about the worlds carrying the skull of Brahma (which had stuck to his hand) for twelve years, begging his food in it.

+ Shiva Dakshina-murti : Shiva with his two lower hands represents a divine teacher of music (sangita), holy scriptures (shastra), divine wisdom (dnyana), yoga. However, the uplifted hand exhibiting the deer, shows that he is also the lord of the wilderness, the divine huntsman (Pashupati). And the two roles are linked - for both are roles of destruction. This is because arts, yoga, wisdom and the scriptures lift the heart to union with the transcendent principle and so break the bonds that bind the world.

+ Shiva Nataraja : (king of dancers) - the cosmic dancer. He is here the embodiment and manifestation of the eternal energy in five activities (pancha - kriya)

1. Creation, pouring forth, unfolding (srushti)

2. Maintenance or duration (sthiti)

3. Destruction or taking back (samhara)

4. Concealing, veiling, hiding the transcendental essence behind the garb of appearance (tirobhava)

5. Favouring, bestowing grace through a manifestation that accepts the devotee (anugraha)

The god is dancing on the dwarfish body of the demon Apasmara purusha representing ignorance, the destruction of which brings enlightenment, true wisdom and release from the bondage of existences.

Shiva's upper right hand carries a small drum, shaped like an hourglass; for sound was the first element to evolve in the unfolding of the universe.

The upper left hand, in half moon gesture (ardhachandra mudra), bears a tongue of flame; the element of the final destruction of the universe.

Thus, the two upper hands symbolize the balance of creation and destruction.

The lower right hand in the fear-not gesture (abhaya mudra), bestows protection.

The lower left hand, in the outstretched elephant trunk posture (gaja-hasta), points to the lifted foot as the refuge of salvation of the devotee.

The right foot planted on the back of the demon Apasmara-purusha symbolizes destruction of ignorance.

The lifted left foot symbolizes the release of ignorant. It therefore is worshiped, in order to gain union with the god and therewith enlightenment.

Thus, the two feet denote the continuous circulation of consciousness into and out of the condition of ignorance.

The ring of fire (prabha mandala) surrounding the figure symbolizes the dance of nature (prakruti), which is the life force of the universe and its creatures, and within which there is taking place eternally the dance of the prime mover, the Lord God.

+ Shiva Maheshwara : (Shiva in his manifestation of the Great Lord) Three headed Shiva. The left head is male (aspect of anger and force of destruction) and the right head is female (world mothering principle). The centre head is of the world-supporting, transcendent, undifferentiated essence.