This chapter focuses on the relationships which Shiva shared with his wives. What is remarkable is that all his wives- Sati, Parvati and Ganga- were very powerful goddesses and it is fascinating to see how a Great God and Goddess manage their relationship.
Though Shiva emerges as a family man and shares very beautiful relationships with his wives, he is brought into this circle reluctantly. Shiva in his original ascetic form, his form in which he is deeply engrossed in meditation, wants to evolve his consciousness through detachment from the Maya (Illusions) of the world.
However Parvati meditates to Shiva for thousands of years to request him to open his eyes, and devote some of his time helping with the matters of the material world. She conveys to him that though he might be evolved, and understands his meditation and control over self is the way to Purnatva – most of the world is still in need of guidance on how to achieve Fulfillment in this life. Hence driven because of his love for Parvati, Shiva comes back into the fold to help the material world out of their delusions
The Secrets to the Art of Love
Intellectualism allows Egalitarianism(Equality):
The first notable secret is to pick a partner who matches you in your intellectual and maturity levels. Throughout the Myths of Shiva, and through various narratives that I share in my Video course, we see that Shiva both with Parvati and Sati is always involved in deep intellectual debate, they share their thoughts on several worldly matters, and Shiva consults them endlessly on the several reforms he must make in the world. Only a man who has attained fulfillment would be able to handle, love and live with a wife as headstrong as Parvati. This understanding between the couple makes them an ideal couple.
Discipline in inducing Passion and Excitement:
Once Shiva is bought into the scheme of family life. He ensures that adequate time is dedicated to it. We can see through the scriptures Shiva spending adequate time on his relationship, whether it being through playing sports, riding through the forests with Parvati or playing several board games with her. Some of these might seem as unexpected engagements for a god of the Greatness of Shiva, but he realized they have great value in nurturing his relationships.
Attachment in the Presence of Detachment:
Shiva is known as being detached, he is the ultimate Vairagi and yet we can clearly see in a family scenario that there is a level of attachment as well, which makes it clear that detachment does not mean, not caring or indifference as it is very often misunderstood. Whether it is the episode with Sati or Parvati he detaches himself and yet he is there for them. He goes into the mountains while he is with Parvati to discover himself, but he continues to take care of the matters of the world that are of adequate importance. He comes back to check on her at Periodic intervals, as we can see when he clashes with his son Ganesha(which we shall cover in a later topic). His attachment leads him to become furious and grieve on Sati’s death, but he ultimately through years of meditation is able to detach himself to come back to contribute to the world.
Proof from the Purana’s
Quotation from the Skanda Puran III(U).17.26-28: “Usually Shiva and Parvati are depicted as a couple who seem to have an egalitarian relationship . They are seen diverting themselves in varied ways such as playing and sporting, engaged in aquatic sports, playing on the swing, gathering flowers, playing on the lute, painting, drawing pictures, adorning each other, even talking about topics of learning such as the Agamas, abstruse (not easy to understand) philosophical treatises, and discussing the incidence and events of the world.”
Dr. Nilima Chitgopekar
The Shiva Experience
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