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Learn to Quiet Your Anxious Mind with Shiva as Dakshinamurthy

The practice of yoga in the United States has been on a constant rise over the last 30 years since its introduction in the 1980s as a wonderful form of physical health and well being regardless of its original religious context.   As of January 2012 it was estimated that over 20 million Americans regularly practiced yoga as both a form of exercise and spiritual release, up from around 4 million in 2001.

It is no question that given the swelling numbers many have found value in the practice to both their physical and mental health.  Today yoga is even used as cancer treatment to decrease symptoms of depression, insomnia, pain, and fatigue in patients.  Hatha yoga specifically has become very popular in the west for its incorporation of physical exercise, breathing control, and meditation.  If you are looking for a way to reduce stress, symptoms of tiredness, increase general mood, and to get your body in shape, yoga is a great practice for all age groups and gender.

Slowing down and taking the time to become in touch with ones body can be a highly fulfilling practice as we all struggle with the stresses of daily living in our modern fast paced society.   As the Buddha said,

“Meditate. Live Purely.  Be quiet.  Do your work with mastery.  Like the moon, come out from behind the clouds!  Shine.” 

Almost all of us have a special place we hold dear and go to clear our heads and think…a favorite park bench, out for a run, sitting with our toes in the sand.  But what many don’t realize is that it isn’t the destination that is key, but actually the state of mind that place brings to you.  Instead of escaping somewhere external, try yoga and meditation.  Anyone can develop inner peace, without really going anywhere but in.

To help with your practice, add a Dakshinamurthy statue by Lotus Sculpture to your meditation corner.  Shiva in the form of universal teacher, Dakshinamurthy, can help guide you in your path to inner awakening.

The Origins of Ganesh & His Elephant Head

“Shiva returned and fitted the elephant head on the child’s body and breathed new life into the boy.”

Bronze Parvati statue with her sons Ganesh and Murugan
Bronze Parvati statue with her sons Ganesh and Murugan 36″

In Hindu mythology, traditional stories have been passed down for generations regarding the birth of Ganesh and the reason behind his elephant head. Ganesh is the son of Lord Shiva, the Destroyer and Restorer, and his wife Parvati, an incarnation of the Great Mother Goddess, Devi. They lived high in the Himalaya Mountains, where Lord Shiva was away for many years at a time, creating, destroying, and preserving life. While Shiva was absent, Parvati became very bored and lonely, and her motherly instincts made her yearn for a son.

Legend says that Parvati decided to create a baby by scrubbing her skin with sandal paste and mixed it with clay to mold a figure of a boy. She used her powers to breathe life into the clay mold and instantly fell in love with the boy. One day, while Shiva was still away, Parvati asked her son to guard the entrance to her room and let no one enter, while she took a bath. Unannounced, Lord Shiva returned home and was refused entry by this boy who was a complete stranger. Irritated by the child’s insolence, a battle ensued and Shiva cut off the head of his young son with his trident.

When Parvati discovered her headless son, she was stricken with such grief that she threatened to destroy the heavens and earth. With the balance of the entire Universe at stake, Shiva wanted to console his wife and bring his son back to life. Lord Shiva and his troops set out into the forest to find anyone sleeping with their head facing north (the auspicious direction associated with wisdom). The first living being they came upon was a baby elephant and took its head. Shiva returned and fitted the elephant head on the child’s body and breathed new life into the boy. His wife’s reaction was one of enchantment and she declared this boy was even better than her first creation. They named their son Ganesh. Lord Shiva praised his son for his courage by being made Lord of New Beginnings and guardian of entrances. Ganesh is worshiped at the beginning of any new undertaking to reach success and a safe journey.

Ganesh Chaturthi is the celebration to honor the birthday of the Lord of Beginnings. It falls on the fourth day after the new moon in the month of Bhadrapada (August – September).

Shiva as Dhakshinamurti Quotes

Dhakshinamurti, Shiva as the south facing lord
Bronze Shiva as Dhakshinamurti, the south facing lord

“Salutations to Lord Dakshinamurti, the abode of all wisdom, teacher of the whole world, healing those who suffer from the disease of samsara.
Salutations to Lord Dakshinamurti, who is the meaning of “Om“, whose form is pure knowledge, who is taintless and utterly silent.”

“I extol Dakshinamurthy, the handsome youth who has transmitted the truth of Parabrahm by silent speech; who is surrounded by a host of venerable sages as disciples, all absorbed and established in meditation upon Brahman; who is the Supreme Teacher; who displays the sacred sign of fusion of the soul with the Absolute — the joining of forefinger and thumb — the paragon of bliss; who has a resplendent face replete with the rapture of the Self-Existent.”

“May this obeisance be directed to the Blessed Dakshinamurti to Him who takes the guise of the auspicious Guru, to Him whose eight-fold Form is this entire motionless and mobile cosmos, manifesting as earth, water, fire, air, ether, the sun, the moon and the soul; beyond whom, all-pervading and supreme, there exists nothing else for those who truly search!”

“Let us Praise Dakshinamurthy, the Supreme Father,
who is ‘having the Opening to Delight’,
who Delights in the Self alone,
who is the Embodiment of Delight,
who is with a Hand (with fingers closed in the fashion of) Sealing in
Brahman (as it were),
who is the pre-eminent among Spiritual Masters abiding surrounded,
by the foremost among spiritual disciples, who are Rishis resting in
Brahman,
who is a small boy,
who is of the Form of the Supreme Brahman, and
who denoted (the Supreme Brahman) by the Expounding that is Silence.”

“A young guru, imparting knowledge of Brahman through silence, surrounded by rishis who are firmly established in wisdom.
Teacher of teachers, whose gesture signifies wisdom, whose nature is fullness, smiling, reveling in himself, I worship that Lord Dakshinamurti.
Seated on the ground under the banyan tree, bestowing knowledge to all the rishis who have assembled near him…
teacher of the three worlds, destroyer of the miseries of birth and death, I bow to that Lord.”

Shiva, Lord Nataraja Quotes

Bronze Shiva Nataraja statue

“Because You love the Burning -ground, I have made a Burning-ground of
my heart – That You, Dark One, hunter of the Burning-ground, May dance
Your eternal dance.”
~ Bengali Hymn~
Nataraja in Puja ceremony
Bronze Nataraja statue in puja ceremony

“The source of all movement,
Shiva’s dance,
Gives rhythm to the universe.
He dances in evil places,
In sacred,
He creates and preserves,
Destroys and releases.
We are part of this dance
This eternal rhythm,
And woe to us if, blinded
By illusions,
We detach ourselves
From the dancing cosmos,
This universal harmony…”
Ruth Peel

“O my Lord, Thy hand holding the sacred drum has made and ordered the heavens and earth and other worlds and innumerable souls.  Thy lifted hand protects both the conscious and unconscious order of thy creation.  All these worlds are transformed by Thy hand bearing fire.  Thy sacred foot, planted on the ground, gives an abode to the tired soul struggling in the toils of causality.  It is Thy lifted foot that grants eternal bliss to those that approach Thee.  These Five-Actions are indeed Thy Handiwork..”
~ Chidambara Mummani Kovai~
Hindu God Shiva Nataraja statue
4 Foot tall Dancing Shiva as Lord Nataraja

O Lord Nataraja of Chidambaram,
King Dancer of Thillai Ambalam,
Beloved consort of Sivakami Sundari,
Bhuvanesvari, Rajarajesvari,
Destroyer of sin, bestower of prosperity,
Remover of suffering, giver of Immortality,
Sivaya Nama Om Sivaya Namah,
Sivaya Nama Om Namah Sivaya.

Holder of Trident, drinker of poison,
Master of Yogis, ruler in the Sun,
Dweller in Kailas, rider of Nandi
Destroyer of Cupid, Lord of Siddhi,
The three-eyed Lord, the five-faced God,
The blue-necked God, the God of gods,
Sivaya Nama Om Sivaya Namah,
Sivaya Nama Om Namah Sivaya.

Thou art my Guru and sole-refuge,
Salutations unto Thee O Lord of Mercy,
Bless me with Thy shower of Grace,
Let me behold Thy benign face,
Let me merge in Thee for ever,
This is my real fervent prayer.
Sivaya Nama Om Sivaya Namah,
Sivaya Nama Om Namah Sivaya.

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