||Sri Ramakrishna Sharanam||
Aum Namo Narayanaya
Man has often been referred to as a social animal arising from his obsession to mingle and be in the company of others.Mass use of social networking sites and the unprecedented boom in the telecommunications sector give overwhelming evidence in favour of this theory. This inclination has given rise to an order which has made societies the superior vena cava of existence.
The sense of community and support system derived from such a platform has lent many positive thoughts and elements to one’s development, but it may have also been the greenhouse for many of the base characteristics bearing fruit now.
On a broad level though, the mass mobilising and solidarity within the framework of a community has sparked many a revolution and renaissance over the years. This collective is virtually underestimated and underplayed in its ability to significantly influence the mental and psychological tendencies of an individual.
We have become trains on the rail tracks of society and you have to conform to the tracks for fear of being derailed. This fear has compromised the intrinsic value system of many and has shifted the moral baseline out of existence.
Public school offers a mosaic of experiences to people; and young malleable minds often take a beating from bullies – pretentious, wealthy and ego-inflated bodies which have tempered them into the persons they are now. The root of envy, hatred and jealousy can often find their source from experiences in the early impressionable stages of our life. This continues even in the grown-up stage when as adults, one is unable to stomach the progress of another; becomes jealous; and develops envy and hatred whilst becoming extremely competitive to keep up with the “Jones’s”.
It was a wonderful editorial written by Chief Editor Siva Naidoo in the local tabloid The Makhulu News that touched on how parents should get more involved with the schooling of their children. Parents often think their jobs are done simply by getting the child to the school. However, placing a child unshielded within the environment of a school can either make or break their personality. The child should be equipped and shielded with the DNA of our dharma which comes with a matrix of core values and morals that define him a human being. Often without this configuration, man only has a human body but behaves like an animal.
|Nataraja- Shiva in Motion|
February is often celebrated as the month of love, playing host to Valentine’s Day. Many shopping malls and town squares turn red, adorned with hearts and icons of love. In the midst of this great jamboree of love, rises a festival like an edifice of hope that sheds inspiration for our problems.
The great night of Shiva, Maha Shivarathri takes centre stage across all three worlds, paying homage to the great Lord Shiva. Normally steeped in deep meditation and at times raged with fire and dance as Rudra and Nadaraja for the benefit of His devotee and the universe.
Maheshwara as He is also commonly known gives us two techniques to interact with society so that we may live in community with much pleasure.
|Lord Shiva drinks the poison|
When the churning of the ocean took place, many good things came out and were taken by the devas. But when a pot of poison came out which was detrimental to everyone and nobody was willing to take it, they all summoned Lord Shiva through prayer. Shiva, who is always there at His devotee's side in times of need, willingly drank the poison, and that remained in His throat which became blue, hence the name Neelakanta (blue-throathed one).
The Lord demonstrates through this action, that society may churn out many good and bad things. People may praise you or hurl abuse at you. We should all be Yogis, or as Shree Krishna in the Bhagavat Gita says “stithaprajnas”. We should not be moved by good or bad. We must maintain a neutral stance. And like Lord Shiva, never digest the poisons of society - take it and hold it in the throat so that our well being is not affected.
In another incident, Daksha the father of Sati alienated Himself from her because against His wishes she wanted to marry Shiva whom He regarded as a dirty ascetic roaming aimlessly in the company of ghouls and goblins.
He was performing a huge yajna and with intent excluded Shiva and Sati from the ceremony. Sati felt a huge urge to attend this powerful prayer. She consulted Her husband on the matter and He gave the advice that one should not attend a function if you were not invited. Disregarding His advice, She attended anyway. Upon arrival, She was livid to see how Her husband had been humiliated and disrespected, as all the other Gods and Goddesses were there except Shiva.
Unable to handle this, She immediately threw herself into the fire, killing Herself. This episode teaches us a very important lesson. We should never force ourselves into any circle of friends or social circles where you are not welcome or not invited. In doing so, you will need to comprise your values and principles to fit in and ultimately will only lead to your own pain and suffering.
If someone or people don’t want to interact with you or people speak ill of you, be like our great Shiva Perumaan, take it all with a smile and keep it in your throat. Never degenerate to hate, envy and other base values. Show love and compassion always. Find joy and peace within yourself. Become your own best friend.
In this month of February, may we prepare ourselves with care to affix our personalities with the qualities of Shiva and utilise this practically to make our existence auspicious and sublime is my sincere prayer.
With love and prayers always