Shiva In The Himalays:
home sweet home
Lord Shiva (or Shiv, Shiv ji in Hindi ) is one of the most prominent gods in the crowded Indian pantheon. He is one of the most complex characters among Indian Gods and maybe that is what makes him so interesting. This complexity is well known throughout the long Indian tradition where he started as a peripheral god bythe name of Rudra, living outside of society and gradually he grew into the center of Indian hearts.
What do I mean by saying peripheral? Firstly, when we look at Vedic hymns there were much more significant gods and goddesses and secondly, Shiva at that time was known as a god who have no interest in socializing and mingling with other gods. All he wanted was to stay as far as he could from the city. However, even though his status changed he never lost his controversial nature and attitude with regard to fundamental codes of Indian society.
Shiva is deeply associated with the Indian Himalayas, so when you will be travelling in this region you will be aware that you are wondering in Shiva’s domain, Shiva’s castle and home. As most of the Indian Mythologies (especially the Shiva Purans) refer to the Himalayas as “the abode of Shiva”
Lord Shiva feels at home on the Himalayan Ridge which is quiet and peaceful. Shiva can meditate in The Himalayas without being disturbed by human needs and desires. Here he is left alone to achieve Moksha ( we can refer here to the term as an enlightenment but not at all in the way we know it from the Buddhist terminology).
Shiva in the Himalayas- Don’t disturb him in his peaceful state of mind:
This is the place where he comes to relax but not in the sense of “I had busy day and need to unwind”. The Himalayan mountains are the only place for Shiva where he can meditate so he can achieve the highest of all goals, Moksha. Even the gods are afraid to disturb him while he is meditating. There is a famous story from the Purans, The Indian Mythology that the gods had to arrange Shiva a bride, the daughter of Himalaya – Parvati. Unfortunately for them it was while Shiva was in a deep meditation in the Himalayas. No one dared to go there to persuade him to get married. After long discussion over who the messenger would be, Kama, the lord of love was chosen.
The main reason Kama was chosen was due to a powerful weapon he possessed. The magical bow and arrows that when used could make anyone fall in love immediately. So Kama went off to shoot the message of love at Shiva to make him leave the mountains to get married and to start living a ‘regular life’. To make a long story short, Shiva discovered the plan and he opened his third eye and fired a flame of fire at Kama which burned him to ashes.
(Just for the spoiler, eventually Shiva married Paravati and they even had a child together who became one of the most celebrated Indian Gods called Ganesha)
The conclusion from this story is that the Himalayan Ridge is the place where Lord Shiva meditates and it is the place where he rejects those humanly things and focus on higher goals. The Himalaya is the place where Shiva accumulates his Tapas (inner strength which arises out of asceticism). It can also be considered as an abode of conflict between codes of society to the codes of the Indian renunciation.
Of course there is much more about the connection of Shiv Ji to the Himalaya, but that is for another post…
So when you have a change to enter the highest ridge in the world with your backpack and getting ready to hike remember that this is the home of Shiva and he doesn’t like to be disturbed.