Shiva Rudra - Tribute to the Red Eyed Lord

Lord Shiva Rudra along the Narmada

Rudra, the red eyed, gentle and fiery represents warmth and protection. Rudra, the red eyed shines through anything in the material world. Rudra the red eyed makes His presence felt no matter how uncanny the reality around. Rudra the red eyed, is there to be experienced if we try hard enough.

Fire is not as dangerous as it appears, Rudra is not as scary as he appears, Bhairava is not as violent as he is pictured. He is real, subtle and present in the pulse of life. What do I mean when I say this?

Rudra Shiva is not a treasure hunt or a well of information that once discovered is realized. No he is none of this. Rudra Shiva is the eye of life, the awakening being within myself, the consciousness, the fire of my soul, that has just started to burn. Rudra, the sound, brings vibration and heat of a higher kind, energy and life of a different nature, that needs to awaken, and mature with time. Rudra is vibration that if contemplated upon persistently reveals its nature slowly. Rudra, is the constant within us, the beat of the heart, the silenced thoughts that disappear to give way to pleasant imagination and high emotion when the Lord appears deep within the subconscious to be experienced. Rudra, is the light within, the sound energy within that silences all worry that clouds the imagination.

Rudra is that pulse within, you have it and I. We just need to try and He is there waiting to be awakened. Rudra is the blessing, he is the warmth and the fearlessness that makes us feel that this world, this maya is really quite trivial. Rudra is the subconscious that opens the inner world to us. Those ideas, those thoughts that I dont own, and those feelings that melt my heart pouring into tears that well out of my eyes, are these not an external expression of this awakening within myself?

My subconscious, the purity within me is where the Lord resides, as Bhikshatana, as Annapurni Mata, as Shankara, as Trayambaka, as Rudra. These are not just names attached with mythological stories, these are not just presentations of the Lord in human form, these are the very nature and energy of the supreme force Himself. And what if they appear within the vision of the subconscious to just bless the being, the human being, the limited human being that knows none, understands none, but fears all.

I am a speck in this ocean, I am a drop of life, and I am the 8th element, asleep lost and clouded in maya, I am part of Ashtamurti Shiva.

Om Bhavaya, Om Sarvaya, Om Isana, Om Tatpurusha, Om Rudra, Om Ughra, Om Bheema, Om Mahati, Om Paramaeshwar, the eight formed Lord, who represents the elements of water, fire, wind, ether, earth, sun, moon and my mind, O Sadayojata, O Sadashiva, the Lord of all the directions, the single pulse of energy that guides this world, O red eyed Rudra, I bow to you humbly for granting me this vision. The single energy center, the red eyed Lord, so clear and pure, so warm and enveloping, why then are you feared? Why then are you called terrific, why then are you considered so violent when all I can see is tenderness in your glowing eyes!

Om Rudraya devaya Namaha|

I bow to the Lord of the devas, to Rudra, to the creator of spiritual sound, that is involked in his names, the spiritual energy that vibrates within my being when I contemplate on his name. This devotion looks so small, so meak, so insignificant in front of your greatness, your form. To the fiery Lord of Love, warmth and peace, I bow humbly, and surrender to your presence deep within my subconscious, my real world, my core, that vibrates with the name of Rudra Trayambaka Shiva.

To see the sun, the moon and fire is one thing, but to feel the presence of the three eyed Lord Rudra is yet another. The core of red, the eye of light, the eye of life, the eye of fiery energy, the eye of divinity is in eternal abstraction, hard to explain but fulfilling and overwhelming to experience. Its the feeling of heightened emotion that results in heavy droplets of tears, that flow out like pearls falling through space, enhancing the bliss within so high that the minds knows nothing else. This awakens pulsating heat within the heart, heat that stays giving warmth of a flame that can beat the external cold without cover. This is ecstacy, this is emotion, this is beyond logic of the known kind, this is beyond blind faith, this is pure love, this is real.

Rudraya Devaya Namaha||

Photo courtesy: Creative commons - flickr.com


Prayashchita for life's miseries

I am not a killer, and yet I feel uncomfortable with myself. I have done no theft and yet I stand the biggest convict of my own principles, I have not broken law and yet my own laws to myself hold me responsible for imperfection. I stand guilty as my mind calls me a sinner, leaving me with regret and sorrow over my past deeds and life.

Being born human may not be as much a blessing as it appears to be a curse. Many mythologies indicate that divine beings, celestials and even super Gods have taken birth on earth to atone for their sins, having caused harm to others in heaven and other worlds.

Once born, one is faced with a life that doesn’t make much sense, doesn’t always deliver happiness, and leaves one confused over one's purpose of existence. The days of prayashchit are gone, the days of acute regret seem to be over and people are left with huge baggage of karma that follows them where ever they go. There are no answers because we don’t know what questions to ask, there is no peace because we do not know how to get rid of this baggage, there is no escape because these thoughts only come back to haunt us. There is only suffering because we know we are in the wrong and even if we are not, the lack of acceptance of reality doesn’t let us live in peace, and there is no escaping the mounting pressure the conscience puts on the self to clean itself out.

In a world where humans err, perform acts of sin unknowingly and try to cover up as much from the world of moral to save one's own self respect, there is only one thing that can bail the human mind out from the depths of misery.

Worship, sincere hardcore worship with bhakti, is the key to self resurrection. Like it or not, ritual helps because ritual is a methodology that purifies the soul, and nullifies the deeds that one performs knowingly or unknowingly. This is one of the root mechanisms of Hinduism, to be proven or believed is left to our ignorant judgment.

In a world where it may have become tough to trust anyone for the appropriate ritualistic bail out, where it becomes tough to even confess for prayashchit, the Lord leaves one door open to all those who want to clean themselves out. This cleaning is of the mind, which by now has become such a vast garbage yard and it has started to stink so much that it makes it difficult for anyone to survive with sanity, leave alone looking for happiness.

At this point, with deep humility the mind gives up. The ego surrenders, the heart break down and the mirror that once reflected the beauty of oneself cracks and falls to the ground. What stands naked, in misery is the inner core self, struck by the lightening of one’s own doing, faced with shame of one's own acts and tear loaded eyes that just have no vision left except that of acute disillusionment of one's own perfections.

That’s when the Lord takes over, as the Guru, as the maker, as the supreme form who divinely smiles down and blesses the convict giving them new life, and a method to be bailed out. That’s when Shiva Neelakantha drinks down all the poison of one's actions, Shiva Rudra burns down one's accumulated sins, Shiva Nataraja crushes one's own apasmara, Shiva Bhikshatana cleanses one of their vanity and reduces us to pure nakedness, Shiva Yogishwara presents the syllables of prayer that protects the soul.Shiva Vaitheshwara, the divine doctor rids us off our physical and mental ailments, Shiva Gangadhara purifies us with the holy waters of life, Shiva Mrityunjaya kills every fear known within our system, and Shiva Dakshinamurthy teaches us the way forward to a life of blissful worship.

As the Tripura Rahasya explains, the three cities of Anava Mala(egoism), Karma (bondage) and Maya(illusion) within one's human nature need to be destroyed. Destroying Anava Mala requires self surrender to Lord Shiva to acquire his grace in the form of Anugraha. Destruction of the second impurity karma is done through the consecration of one’s actions at the divine feet of the Lord, giving up the concept of “I am the doer” by developing the feeling of Nimita Bhava. Annihilation of the third impurity that is Maya happens through the deep contemplation and recitation of the Panchakshara, worship of the supreme Guru, hearing and the reflection of the attributes of Lord Shiva and his leelas. This awakens the presence of Lord Tripurantaka into one's consciousness.

At the end of every dark tunnel of karma, there is divine light of enlightenment that guides our souls to safety.


Bhakti, pulse in the dance of Lord Nataraja

I sit here in silence
Bursting with life,
Bursting with enthusiasm
As I mull over the presence
Of the Lord rediscovered
Yet there is no one
To share with, this little joy

My mind is elated
A world new it sees
Thats where the Lord dances
With ghouls jumping around in glee

The verses of a Nayanar
Flow through my mind

I bow to the bhakti of Karaikkal Ammaiyar

The verses sung by Karaikkal Ammaiyar Pey bring to light, the intriguing documentation of the workings of a cremation ground. What might appear to be a fearful place, with screaming ghosts pulling out the flesh of burning corpses as they dance around enjoying the meal is a definition that bhakti knows no place, and has no bias to situation. In the middle of this strange theater, Lord Shiva dances as Nataraja, the flames of the corpses light up his stage.

In another work, the tamil poetry of Thirumanthiram, brings to light a different Nataraja. He resides in the Sushumna nadi, his stage is none other but the zone on the forehead between our brow. When the individual spiritual awakening reaches its mark, Nataraja performs on the forehead stage of enlightenment, where the third eye awakens, and issues the light of union with Lord Nataraja.

Yet another reference says Nataraja is the essence of Shi Va Ya Na Ma. He is the energy, the pulse of the sacred syllables that one recites deep within their mind as he dances in the blooming lotus of the heart, the hrudaya kamalam.

I am surrounded by apasmara, I am unable to imagine the Lord, I am distracted by the many people and relationships I am tied into. I am distracted by this maya of which I am a part. I am unable to imagine beyond my capacity, the root essence of Lord Shiva Nataraja. I cry over my miserable state, I cry because I am born in Kaliyuga, I cry because I am not trying hard enough to know and realize the divine presence of Lord Shiva. I am conscious and yet am not. I am awake and yet am not. I observe and yet am blind, what worth am I then in this life?

Wake my soul O Lord Shiva, to the vibration of the sound of your damaru, create in me that zest and that rhythm to live. Burn my desires in the fire bowl you hold, burn me to ash when I merge with you Lord. Guide me to your feet, wash away my apasmara, my nature and my pulse is all but yours to hold. Smash my ego O Lord, I, the miserable apasmara lie below, graced by your divine feet, as you stand crushing my ego to dust. I see the swirl of your jata, i see the graceful ganges dance, I see the sun, the crescent moon, adorn your divine crown. I see the serpent twirl, a jewelled necklace round your neck, I see myself so far down away from this paradise.

And here I sit in silence, watching people around, there is no meaning to see, there is no music to life. I dream of the great Lord dance, the divine natya between my brow, the firey ring forms the third eye on my fore. The fire issues forth, the agni awakens within me, bringing life to Trayambaka the three eyed Lord, the sun and moon dance along. Such is the beauty of Shiva, divine auspitious and warm.

Bhakti delivers this experience,

Bhakti awakens the self,

Bhakti knows no place nor beauty in form.
Bhakti knows no gender
Bhakti knows no judgement.
Bhakti is all that is needed
at home or in a dark cremation ground.
Bhakti is beyond knowledge,

Bhakti is beyond wisdom,
Bhakti is all it takes to reach the kingdom of heaven.

Bhakti is the music
Bhakti is the song
Bhakti is that experience
To watch the great Lord perform.

Photo courtesy: Creative commons, Flickr.com - Ravages Photo stream


Lord Shiva Nataraja, the rhythm of life

The sun shines bright every morning
It never fails to kill the darkness

The clouds burst open into rain
They never fail to bring life giving water

The heart beats on in silent resonance
It never stops to rest a while

Lord Nataraja dances his natya
The world moves on brimming with life

We toil day in and out
In a constant earthly rhythm of karma

I breath my last only to come back
A rhythm of rebirth I cannot escape.

Rhythm, in the silent drumbeat of Lord Shiva, is the silent energy that comes alive to create various events in our lives. There is Shiva everywhere. In the rhythm of the day, in the rhythm of waking up, in that of toil, of worship, of our heart beat, of our regular breath, of an active mind, of action, of result... this is the rhythm of existence, this is the rhythm of creation. This is the sound of the living, this is the moment awoken, this is the presence of life force Shiva.

Rhythm, is sound, is character, that every heart beat pronounces, reminding us that we live on. This sound, the nature of this beat, is the core of the self in the subtle world. If this rhythm stops we cease to exist, we cease to live, we are just matter then... there is no life. This rhythm within the heart needs to bloom into hrudaya kamalam resonating with the very syllables of Lord Shiva.

Rhythm is in the breath, the breath of living that is constant, cool and refreshing, so subtle that we lack the consciousness to be aware of it. This is the rhythm of life, the pulse of living that we are so unaware of. It is this pulse that give the beat to the dance of the Lord Nataraja, the dance of creation, of existence, of live. The force of fresh air as it goes through the ida and the pingala merging them into one as one evolves.

Rhythm in worship is this subtle reality that grows within us. It pronounces the Lord's presence within the peaceful mind. In the rhythm of mantra comes the heart beat of a new life. In the rhythm of this mantra lies supreme concentration. In this rhythm all time stands still. In this rhythm Lord Shiva bless us all. In this rhythm, one can feel the growing presence of the Natya Raja. In this rhythm, he moves and awakens the soul, in this rhythm does one hear the eternal vibrations of OM. In this rhythm does the world of the Gods come alive. In this rhythm does one surrender to the Lord.

Rhythm is in dance, rhythm is in creation, rhythm is in karma, rhythm is in the presence of Lord Shiva as Shiva Nataraja in Abhaya, as he stands on apasmara and crushes ignorance, raising the subtle mind to the pranava mantra OM. The Nataraja Himself takes on this form, raising Himself to make us realize the beauty of this form, as the crescent moon dances on his head, tossing among the gentle locks on his jatamukuta.

The working of this world, the life in every creature, the prosperity of the thriving human race, the immortality of the souls through constant rebirth... this is the pulse of Shiva, the maker, the preserver, the destroyer, this is the rhythm of the universe that finally rests within Him.

Lord Nataraja is the personification of this rhythm, of the pulse, of the element, of the essence Om Na Ma Shi Va Ya.

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A Magical dance with Chidambaram Nataraja
A reflection on Lord Shiva
Expression in Abhinaya, the art of Bharata

With the Lord of Chidambaram, I dance