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The Story of Shiva and the Goddess Ganga

Shiva bronze statue
Bronze statue of Lord Shiva bringing the Goddess Ganga down to the earth in his matted hair

Most of the images and sculpture of Lord Shiva depict the River Ganga flowing from his matted hair. As with all symbols within Hindu iconography there is an interesting tale behind Shiva and the Hindu goddess Ganga. According to Hindu mythology, there was a powerful king in India named Sagar. He decided to conduct Ashwamedha Yagya, a horse sacrifice, to declare his supremacy over the gods. The king of Heaven, Indra grew jealous of King Sagar and decided to steal the ritual horse. Indra successfully abducted the horse and tied him in the ashram of Sage Kapil, who was silently meditating for many years. King Sagar ordered his 60,000 sons to search and find his sacrificial horse. After a long search they found the horse tied at the ashram and began assaulting the great sage thinking he was the culprit who stole the horse. The sage awoke from his trance and in his anger started to destroy all the sons of king Sagar who were accosting him. Anshuman, the grandson of King Sagar, pleaded for forgiveness. The sage told him that he could save his life by bringing the sacred river Ganga down from the heavens to purify the souls of him and his ancestors and help them to attain nirvana.

King Dilip, son of Anshuman pleaded with Lord Brahma to help them bring the Ganga to earth. He failed to appease Brahma so he passed the task to his son, Bhagiratha. Bhagiratha was able to please Brahma, who ordered Ganga to descent to Earth. The furious Ganga felt this as an insult and decided to destroy Earth with her force while descending from heaven. Bhagiratha was warned by Brahma that earth will not be able to hold Ganga while descending from heaven, so he must seek the help of Lord Shiva, the only one who can withstand the power of Ganga. Bhagiratha pleaded with Lord Shiva to help him and Shiva agreed to receive Ganga in his matted locks. Ganga was arrogant and tried to drown Shiva by pushing him to the core of the earth, but the mighty Shiva easily held her in his locks.   Shiva’s tie was so strong that Ganga became helpless.

Lord Shiva wanted to teach Ganga a lesson, but instead released her in seven streams as he was satisfied with the prayers of Bhagiratha. The seven streams of Ganga are Bhagirathi, Janhvi, Bhilangana, Mandakini, Rishiganga, Saraswati and Alaknanda. Ganga became calm and followed Bhagiratha, who lead her to his ancestors and with her purity, released their souls.
There are a number of legends associated with Ganga and the different names she has at different places. This is but one.

Ganga is considered to be the most sacred river in India and it originates from the depths of Gangotri glacier. Ganga, otherwise known as Ganges, brings purity to human life. By bathing in her sacred waters one is purified to the core of their being.

Bhagiratha’s great effort in bringing Ganga to earth is known as “Bhagiratha Prayatna”. What would you consider to be the noble quality of Bhagiratha – his strong affection to his ancestors or his determination to meet any challenges to attain the ultimate goal?

Hindu God Shiva: Destroyer & Creator

Hindu God Shiva as Lord of Dance Nataraja
Shiva destroys and creates the world anew as the Lord of Dance, Nataraja!

When many first hear of the Hindu God of Destruction, Shiva, they automatically think of something evil or alarming.  They think him something to be feared.    Yet, his powers are constructive, not just destructive.   He brings about necessary and beneficial transformation.   It can be said that the world is in a constant state of flux.   Just as life is given at birth, so too must it eventually cease to exist.   In that same regard, the world is constantly evolving and partaking in birth, deaths, and rebirths.

Hindus believe that Hindu God Shiva is responsible for the destruction of the universe in order that he may then re-create it into a more perfect form.  They believe that even now he infiltrates the world in order to shed illusion and destroy the worlds many imperfections.  Not only is he the Destroyer, he can also be thought of as a god of change or formation, causing a constant cycle of destruction and creation in order to bring about necessary good.

There is no doubt that the world as we know it houses many flaws.    In order to bring about real change, Hindus look to Shiva to re-create the world in a better image.  Worshipers look to him for guidance in ridding their troubles.  They may pray upon a Shiva statue so that he may bring about renewal in the world.  Many worship Shiva as their primary God.   Join Hindu’s around the world in worshiping Hindu God Shiva for both his destructive and constructive qualities.

Bring a Shiva or other Hindu statues into your home or place of worship from Lotus Sculpture.

The Hindu God Ayyappan, Son of Shiva & Vishnu

Hindu God Ayyappan
View the Bronze 15 inch Statue of the Hindu God Ayyappan

The legend and history are intermingled in the genesis of the Hindu God Ayyappan. It is believed that Ayyappan was born as progeny of the union of the Hindu God Vishnu and the Hindu God Shiva. Vishnu appeared as Mohini, the beautiful enchantress – the alluring damsel appearing at the time of the churning of the Ocean Of Milk to entice the asuras and divide the nectar (Arnrith) among the Devas themselves. Shiva succumbed to the beauty of Mohini and Ayyappan was born out of this union. Hence his other name Harihara Putra (HARI-Shiva, HARA-Vishnu, PUTRA-Son). Ayyappan is regarded as the third son of Shiva, the other two being Ganesha and Murugan.

Ayyappan, the Celibate God of Kerala, is host to every religious trend and practice the Hindu faith ever manifested in its entire history. His temple is unique in India, in that there is no distinction of caste or religion in determining who can enter it. Non-Hindus are equally welcome.

Avatar of Shiva: Virabhadra the Ferocious

Like many of the Hindu deities, Hindu God Shiva is said to have many Avatars.  One such Avatar is that of Virabhadra.  Virabhadra is said to have been born when Shiva grabbed a lock of his own hair and threw it upon the ground.  He was a powerful being created by Shivas wrath when we wanted to destroy Dakshas Yagna, or fire sacrifice.

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Legend has it that Dashkas youngest daughter Sati set her sights on Shiva at a young age.  When she was at an age to marry, Dashka invited all the gods and princes together to find a suttor for her, leaving out Shiva.  Furious that he did not invite the one she loved, Sati threw her wreath into the air calling upon Shiva.  Shiva appeared with the wreath around his neck, forcing Dashka to allow her to marry her.  Disapproving of the match however, Dashka again omitted Shivas attendance to a great fire sacrifice.  Sati, out of fury, confronted her father.  She condemned his actions and fell dead at her father’s feet.

When Shiva heard of this, he became enraged.  Out of anger, her tore out a lock of his hair that with glowing with his furious energy.  At this moment Virabhadra was born. His tall menacing body had a thousand arms, 3 burning eyes, and fiery hair.  He was draped in skulls and carried unfathomable weapon.  Shiva instructed him to destroy the fire sacrifice of Daksha and sever Daksha’s head.  Vuraghadra is a said to be a tremendous warrior causing other gods to flee the battle field whenever he appears.  No gods are a match to his fury and strength in battle.

To Learn More About the Hindu Gods CLICK HERE

Chakras, Colors & Hindu Gods: A Closer Look at the Hindu System

Chakras, their colors and position on the body
Chakras, their colors and position on the body

The word chakra is derived from Sanskrit, meaning “wheel”, or “circle of life”. They consist of seven main energy centers found in the body and is associated with a variety of colors, symbols and Hindu gods. In Hinduism, the continuous flow of energy throughout the chakras is referred to as “Shakti”. The concept of chakra was first mentioned in the ancient sacred Hindu text, The Vedas, but also plays an important role in Tibetan Buddhism.
Chakras are located along the spine and influence different nerve systems, organs and glands with their energy. These vortexes of energy are originated from Brahman, according to Hindu beliefs. It is presumed that as Shakti flows from one chakra point to another it exhausts the body and soul. The energy that becomes coiled in the base of the spine (root chakra) is called Kundalini. The spiritual goal is to awaken and release the Kundalini in order to attain a greater consciousness and merge it with the Infinite consciousness of Brahman. Through meditation and Kundalini yoga, the energy can pass back up the spine until it reaches the top of the head (crown chakra), producing a mystical experience.

“Kundalini yoga consists of active and passive asana-based kriyas, pranayama, and meditations which target the whole body system (nervous system, glands, mental faculties, and chakras) to develop awareness, consciousness and spiritual strength.” –Yogi Bhajan

Chakras & Colors:
1. Muladhara: The Root Chakra – located at base of the spine. Associated with red. It affects your confidence, trust in life and self-esteem. It is from here that our base instincts arise; the need to survive or the fight or flight reflex. Hindu God –Lord Ganesh and Brahman.
2. Swadhisthana: The Sacral Chakra – located below the navel. Associated with orange. It affects sexual desires, attractions and the need to procreate. Other emotions, such as, anger, fear and hatred stem from this chakra. Hindu God –Lord Vishnu
3. Manipura: The Solar Plexus Chakra – located at the bottom of the breast bone. Associated with bright yellow. It affects the lower back, digestive system, liver and gall bladder. Feelings that are associated with this chakra, include, determination, self-acceptance and will power. It is here that instinctual emotion translates to more complex emotions. Hindu God –Maharudra Shiva
4. Anahata: The Heart Chakra – located at the center of the chest. Associated with green. Feelings associated with this location are love, compassion, emotional security, forgiveness and loving kindness. Hindu God –Ishvara
5. Vishuddha: The Throat Chakra – located at the throat, over the larynx. Associated with blue. It is the source of our ability to communicate, and express creativity and individuality. Hindu God – Sadashiva
6. Ajna: The Third Eye Chakra – located at front of the head in between eye brows. Associated with indigo. The mind, as the sense organ and action organ are associated with this chakra. Feelings associated with this chakra are spirituality, awareness, and sense of time. Hindu God -Ardhanarishvara –an androgynous form of Hindu god Lord Shiva and Parvati, also known as Devi and Shakti
7. Sahasrara: The Crown Chakra – located at the top of the head. Associated with purple, or gold. It is from this chakra that all others emanate. It relates to pure consciousness. In Hindu literature, it is known as “the supreme center of contact with God.” Here liberated ones abide in communion with the Self. Hindu God – Lord Shiva

The Hindu Gods and Chakras
The Hindu Gods and Chakras

“Good for the body is the work of the body, good for the soul the work of the soul, and good for either the work of the other”. –Henry David Thoreau

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