Hindu God Shiva, The Destroyer, comes in many forms. One such important form and his most fear invoking is that of Bhairava, the annihilator of evil. This fierce form is manifested when demons make themselves present and are in need of destruction. Shiva in this form is often depicted draped in serpents as jewelry, wrapped bare naked in tiger skin, and decorated in a ritual adornment of human bones riding atop his divine vehicle, a dog named Shvan. His frightful characteristics as banisher of evil are almost indistinguishable from Hindu Goddess of Death Kali. He is seen with devastatingly angry eyes, sharp teeth, and carrying a noose, trident, and skull within his hands. In this form he is said to embody the very essence of fear itself, often forcing those who come upon him to confront their most terrifying sources of fear
The origination of Shiva as Bhairava is said to have been by Shiva himself in order to chastise Brahma, the great creator of the Universe. Legend has it that Brahma lusted after his own daughter and created four heads in order to constantly be able to see her. His desires for his daughter caused her shame and she is said to have ascended to the heavens in escape. Brahma then created a fifth head and insisted on her letting him live with her. Upon hearing of this, Shiva used his sword to rid Brahma of his new fifth head. Seeing this as an act of killing, Shiva was punished to walk the earth as a beggar carrying around the fifth head of Brahma until he was forgiven of his sin, in which case the skull of Brahma would finally fall from his hands. Many did not recognize Shiva in his naked and violent beggars form as he howled and danced in madness.
Finally one day as Shiva enters the holy city of Varanasi, the skull falls from his blackened hands and he is rid of Brahmas curse.
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.
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