August 10, 2002
11:41 PM   Subscribe

"When Shiva holds the center of the stage, the role of the personalized Brahman is colored with death and destruction. Shiva's stern asceticism casts a blight over the fields of rebirth. His presence negates and transcends the kaleidoscope of sufferings and joys. Nevertheless, he bestows wisdom and peace and is not only terrible but profoundly benign. Shiva's nature at once transcends and includes all the polarities of the living world." "Shiva opens his third eye only in anger, and the offender is burnt to cinders.
posted by sudama (26 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Er, Shiva.
posted by sudama at 11:42 PM on August 10, 2002

And your point is?
posted by y2karl at 11:50 PM on August 10, 2002

Hey, can I post a couple of meaningless random links to sites about Odin, now?
posted by nyxxxx at 12:08 AM on August 11, 2002

Robert Oppenheimer mentioned Shiva when he was talking about the atom bomb, I believe.

Shiva is also a level boss in Streets of Rage 2.
posted by insomnyuk at 12:22 AM on August 11, 2002

I came up with two cheeky responses, am I allowed to post both before the thread is deleted?
(1) T-Shirts are also available if you don’t have the gumption to make your own.
(2) Third members of spiritual trinities don’t get all the respect they deserve. Who’s your favorite?
posted by Gary at 12:24 AM on August 11, 2002

There is a point to this thread though, its the thing sudama linked to in his follow up.
posted by insomnyuk at 12:27 AM on August 11, 2002

I don't see why you guys are so down on this post. The follow-up link is pretty cool, and I'd much rather read about Shiva (or Odin) than Martha Stewart or Bruce Springsteen, both of whom I'm sick to death of.

sudama, you might like this too: Shiva - The Sensuous Yogi
posted by homunculus at 12:37 AM on August 11, 2002

I thought that they were nice links, sudama. It's always good to be aware of different cultures and religions, if only to have the wisdom to reassess your own life.
posted by SeizeTheDay at 12:38 AM on August 11, 2002

This link might have been a bit more interesting if the poster had given the audience a reason to care about Shiva. Granted, many links need little more than their content to explain their relevance (ie. civil liberties, terrorists, friday flash). However, some of these more obscure links might need more of an introduction (posting an excerpt of the article works in many cases, but not this one). Sudama, tell us why we need to read about Shiva.
posted by udeups at 12:40 AM on August 11, 2002

Sudama, tell us why we need to read about Shiva.

Enlightenment, my friend. Do you really need a reason to be educated? Does every aspect of life need some sort of explanation to be of relevance to you? I don't mean to sound mean. But quite honestly, Shiva, and Hinduism, play a great role in over 1 billion lives in the world. Perhaps the better question is, "Tell us why we don't need to read about Shiva?"
posted by SeizeTheDay at 12:49 AM on August 11, 2002

I think someone will be sitting Shiva for this post . . .wait--wrong religions, sorry! ;-)
posted by RunsWithBandageScissors at 12:49 AM on August 11, 2002

you don't have to read about shiva, but you may want to. before you are cleansed with fire i mean.
posted by rhyax at 12:49 AM on August 11, 2002

posted by quonsar at 12:53 AM on August 11, 2002

There are a billion Hindus? I know there are a billion Indians, but they aren't all Hindu.
posted by insomnyuk at 1:00 AM on August 11, 2002

Hindu 81.3%, Muslim 12%, Christian 2.3%, Sikh 1.9%, other groups including Buddhist, Jain, Parsi 2.5% (2000) says the cia.
posted by rhyax at 1:15 AM on August 11, 2002

Funny, maybe it's the hour but I read the initial posting as a critique of metafilter, since the initial 'Shiva' was a link here. The quote 'Shiva opens his third eye only in anger, and the offender is burnt to cinders' seemed to be born out in that context by the first few withering responses...
posted by Animus at 1:16 AM on August 11, 2002

Oppenheimer's apocalyptic quote 'Now I am become death, the destroyer of worlds' on the first successful testing of the atomic bomb is spoken by Shiva in the Bhagavad Gita.

There was an excellent programme on the BBC last night on the Bhagavad Gita, 'a book with no plot, no story', detailing how it has been appropriated by movements for both peace and violence (as have most religious texts of course).
posted by gravelshoes at 3:58 AM on August 11, 2002

The Indian month of Shravan started last Friday, it's a month dedicated to Lord Shiv. Which happens to one of the most auspicious months in the Indian calender.

The Gita which gravelshoes refers to is a conversation that took place between Lord Krishna (an avtar of Lord Vishnu) and his cousin Arjun, this takes place right before the big battle in the book called Mahabharat. Arjun is reluctant to fight against his cousins, uncles and grand uncles. The battle is between the Pandavs, Arjun and his brothers and the Kouravs, which consisted of Duryodhan and his 99 other siblings. Krishna who is a lord, and made a promise not to lift a weapon during the battle, is Arjun's charioter, and his talk with Arjun on the battlefield right before the battle is what Gita contains.

As for Shiv, well he is "the" god in Hinduism. Everything, I mean everything comes from Shiv. Shiv created the other two main gods, Brahma and Vishnu, created the universe in his mouth. Vishnu was given the role of the protector. Brahma is given the role of imparting knowledge. Shiv is responsible for creation, establishment, destruction, oblivion, which together form the syllable Om. The Vedas tell us that Shiv is the Supreme Being, not Brahma as he is commonly believed to be.
posted by riffola at 7:26 AM on August 11, 2002

I did question the point of this post, and was going to provide some links re my favorite Hindu deity Ganesha, polytheism and the obligatory Simpsons--who goof on all the major religions--reference, but upon review, I see riffola has supplied enough serious context as to render my original question inoperable.

Me, I'm not goofing on anyone's religion. I'm going canoeing instead.;)
posted by y2karl at 7:50 AM on August 11, 2002

Here is another good article on Ganesha, The Destroyer of Obstacles.
posted by homunculus at 9:44 AM on August 11, 2002

er, something about dancing... like, the true lord of the dance! take THAT michael flatley, keke :)
posted by kliuless at 10:03 AM on August 11, 2002

Here's a previous discussion about Hanuman. I wonder how that kid is doing now.
posted by homunculus at 10:16 AM on August 11, 2002

I didn't know Shiva was also referred to as Rudra. Some of the most powerful texts of Tibetan Buddhism are about the conquering of Rudra.

I don't mean to start some kind of deitistical pissing match. I'm just interested in the connection there if there is any. Shiva seems to be a heavy deity on the verge of union of destruction/creation, pain/pleasure, but still based on the premise of duality. Perhaps this is the key.

According to some of those Tibetan texts I mentioned, Rudra is an evil sucker who killed his guru, ate his mother's corpse from the inside in the grave... pretty much the pinnacle of evil. He's eventually eaten, or entered, and processed into liberation. It all stemmed from a misunderstanding between him, a fellow pupil, and his master.
posted by mblandi at 10:42 PM on August 11, 2002

A couple annoying corrections, if I may: "I have become death, the destroyer of worlds" is said by Krishna (an incarnation of Vishnu), not by Shiva. While there would be about a billion Hindus identified by census as such, not all of them self-identify that way -- in India, the census counts everyone as "Hindu" if they're neither Muslim, Christian, Sikh, Zoroastrian, Jain, Buddhist or Jew. A huge chunk of those people do not worship Shiva.

My favourite neglected third deity is either Brahma or Shakti. The Hindu trinity is usually identified as Brahma (the creator), Vishnu (the preserver) and Shiva (the destroyer), but almost nobody ever worships Brahma. Whereas far more Indians worship Shakti (the goddess who is Shiva's consort), but for some reason she doesn't get a spot in the "official" trinity.
posted by ramakrishna at 8:40 AM on August 12, 2002

People don't worship Brahma, because he was cursed by either Vishnu or Shiv, that he would not be worshipped on earth anymore.
posted by riffola at 6:21 PM on August 12, 2002

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