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3.25.2007

Potency of Lord Shiva – Part 2

















Through the dance of Kali:

Another Goddess who draws my attention to the wild fury of Lord Shiva is the Goddess Kali. This play is different; it’s in the rhythm of bharatnatya. In the grace and the movement of the body. The Urdhva tandava is a form of expression, one that is matched only by Kali when she dances alongside Lord Shiva. It’s a different kind of mano laya, where this energetic Goddess redefines every step of grace and beauty. Where chemistry is a result of a power game at a superior level, where the drums resound into the air, followed by the rhythmic sounds of ghunguru as two feet merge into a single united sound of higher bliss. Where energy flows unlimited in the expression of abhinaya, when there is passion in the air, where there is mischief in the eyes as the Goddess challenges the Lord to His every step in dance!

The drums resound beat by beat,
The echo brings forth two wilder beings
The blazing fire reveals
Steady motion in sure steps
Energy slowly unleashed

A theatrical world of sound
Breaks open in reverberation
Among stone walls of an ancient temple
The tremors felt within the heart
As the drums bring forth this madness

Uncontrolled chemistry
The fire in their eyes it glows
The wilder nature of love
Their flowing hair envelops
Locking them into a potent spell

He moves His body effortlessly
Her grace gentle, beautiful and coy
In the darkness of the night
Their sure steps rhythmically hit the ground
Raising dust into the air

Their eyes meet their bodies’ move
They flow so graciously the world beholds
Their fiery eyes and their wavy hair
Makes them a complete potent pair
Locked in deep musical embrace

As the rhythm rises high,
The sounds of the drums thunder by
The earth shakes the world awake
To witness the rhythm of creation displayed
Raw power unadulterated it flows

3.19.2007

Potency of Lord Shiva – Part 1

















Lord Shiva is known to be a silent deity, potent and distant and fairly unattainable. It’s through the various forms of the Goddess that the nature of Lord Shiva is revealed. His passive self is brought out by the nature of three Goddesses who bring out various aspects of his otherwise silent potent self.

Through the force of the Ganges:

Standing in her waters one gets the sure feeling of her presence. Forceful, sure and sweeping cold, her energy is such that one can feel the excitement in her melting waters. A kind of chemistry that seems to be a song between the Ganges and Shiva
Gangadhara. Where the Lord can be heard in silent meditation among the mountains, the same mountain walls along whose sides she seems to play like a child. It’s like the sound of her anklets and her giggles can be heard as she lashes her waters down the hillsides. The charming Ganges has potent chemistry in her mind as she tries to disturb the Lord by washing his divine feet with her pure waters. A wild Ganges, excitable in her temperament, plays a charming game of Love in the very locks that release her mighty presence down to earth. Wild eyed, childlike, twinkling in the moonlight, a smile so charming and complete with a child like flirtation as she washes the world by trying to disturb the Lord in deep meditation.

He sits in silent meditation
Among the cold Himalayan mountains
His breath reverberating through its rocky walls
Brought down with the shimmering Ganges

Among these low sounds one listens
To the merry sounds of anklets
Of jingling bangles and earrings
Of a young dancing damsel
As she plays around her waters
Locked in his long dark hair.

A knot untied, a force unleashed
She giggles as she flows down
Potent chemistry released
The Lord silently lets go
Her waters to the earth they fall
O behold the charming lady flow

Wild fire between them
In a chilling night
Just the sounds in her waters reveal
The chemistry within
The force of love released.

Rasa lila among her waters
Rasa lila among the mountains
Music in my mind I behold
Of what the Lord held so close
Everlasting love let to profusely flow.

3.11.2007

Kailashnatha temple, poetry in stone



Kailashnatha temple, Kanchipuram

Kailashnatha temple, a creation out of love to Lord Shiva lies in the scorching heat of Tamil landscape. Built during the reign of the Pallavas, this temple survived the ravages of war torn Tamil Nadu. Inscriptions in this temple suggest that the Chalukyas attacked Kanchipuram and Pulakesin won the battle leaving a mark on this temple with his sword.

Imagine this landscape with armies lined up outside with fluttering flags declaring a Chalukyan victory over the Pallavas. Deep within the cool interiors of this temple, a King worships the black faceted Lingam for this victory.

The Pallava queens patronized the smaller shrines outside, hosting smaller Shiva lingas with the Somaskanda panel in the background. Pulakesin put his signature over these walls, declaring his victory but did not have the temple pulled down to dust and rubble. There was mutual cultural respect in religion though there was hatred on the political front. The worst they could have done is probably replace the idols in this temple with those "Made in Chalukya land".

It is a showcase of evolution in architecture, directly after the Shore temple at Mahabalipuram in chronological order, from the Art History perspective. The inscriptions tells stories of tantrik practices as well as stories of the devotion of the faithful who donated various sculptures to the making of this temple.

Among the most common depictions of Shiva visible here in order of presentation are the Somaskanda panel depicting the Lord sitting with Parvati and Somaskanda their little son. Following it is Bhikshatana, another huge depiction of the naked mendicant, who seduced the wives of the rishis in a Brahmanical village. The only other strong reference made beyond Shiva is that of Durga who is depicted with her leg resting on the Lion.

The Linga embedded within the main shrine chamber as well as the smaller chambers around the temple are made of polished black stone imported into Kanchipuram. The Lingam within the temple is faceted, and a little too large for the chamber it is placed within.

The main vimana or roof of the temple, has been renovated and bears no resemblance to the original structure, thanks to ASI( Archaeological survey of India). This temple is the second in series to be built with a tall vimana and a rather insignificant gopuram(entrance way). Its unique architecture also displays a Lingam being consecrated with the chamber of the gopuram, an element of architecture which was never reproduced later.

Walking through the peace surrounded by these ancient walls, one can breathe in fresh air, potent with stories of ancient Tantrik faith which are not necessarily evil as projected. This temple brings alive a believe in the Mother goddess and Lord Shiva, a mixture that is too intoxicating within these walls, if you are emotional enough to feel its presence.

3.02.2007

Varanasi – Along the Ganges

(Click the picture to enlarge)

An ancient city
Floating in deep waters
The land of light
The warmth penetrates
Into an over whelmed heart

Deep waters lash her by
As boats toss gently
Flowing down along her sides
Take with it life
Belief and love

The Ganges, sweet mother
Pure as she flows by
Covers the holy city
Taking the soul
Into her watery heavens

Oh sweet people
Don't you see
This beautiful city
Cradled in her lap
Tossing gently

The smoke from the pyre rise
Yet another soul departs
Where death is common site
Along her burning ghats
Reflect in her pure waters

A mirror to the self
A world departed
A world at hand
A cremation ground
A reality unfolds

And yet life moves on
With the vision of death
Burning into flames
A lamp I hold
A small flame of light

The Ganges in her motion
Sweeps the dust off my feet
Sweeps the ashes
The residue of lost life
Into her silent veil

And here Lord Shiva lies immersed
In her deep waters
His home his world
In a pure watery heaven
Along the Scindia Ghat

And as the sun departs
Leaving darkness to consume
The world rises up in flame
To worship the mother again
Yet another day

Smoke and incense rise
This time sweet fragrance
Cover the ghat now dotted
With lamp lights along her sides
And hymns fill in the ears

Fire for the soul departed
Fire to worship her waters
Fire the light for the living
Fire the way for the dead
Fire my guide through this dark life

The force I feel
Her wholesome self
The thundering sounds
As she wets me feet
A feeling sublime

A magical city
Where life meets death
Where illusion falls
Where reality strikes
And leaves me in a silent spell

Something about this land
Its potency its silence
Its faith its everlasting glory
Unshakable, a thick icy sheet
A curtain of illusion falls.

Aham Gangai Matha Namaskaromi.


Photo courtesy: Vaisnava.cz - The Hare Krishna inspiration
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