Yoga with Melissa 145 Shiva Stories Seeing the Divine Within

by Melissa West on September 29, 2012


The day that Shiva and Parvati were to be married finally arrived and all the Gods came to Mount Kailash to accompany Shiva on the procession to Parvati’s family home.

As the procession arrived at the family home, Menaka, Parvati’s Mother rushed out, saying, “Let me see Shiva! Let me see the son-in-law that my daughter Parvati worked so hard performing tapas to obtain Shiva as a husband. He must be sooooo handsome!” The first person that Menaka saw was Vishvavasu, the king of the Gandharvas.

Vashvavasu was very handsome and at first, Menaka thought that he was Shiva. But when she awa told that he was only a singer who entertained Shiva, she thought that Shiva would be even more handsome.

Next she saw Kubera, the God of wealth and she thought, this must be Shiva. He was even more attractive than the first man. Then came Varuna, the God of the Oceans, a fair complexioned man, and Menaka thought he was even more attractive than Kubera! But this was not Menaka’s son in law either. Nor was her son-in-law to be the great God Yama, the Lord of death who was even more handsome than Varuna!

Of course the handsome Gods Indra (the leader of the Gods and the God of War and thunderstorms), Surya (the God of the Sun), Chandra (the God of the Moon) all passed by, but Narade told them they were not Shiva, but simply Shiva’s assistants. Menaka’s joy knew no bounds! If they were simply Shiva’s assistants, imagine how amazing Shiva was going to be???

Finally Shiva arrived and Narada pointed him out to Menaka. At the sight of Shiva, Menaka fainted. Shiva was surrounded by ghosts, their complexions were dark and they made scary noises! Shiva himself rode on a bull! He had three eyes, five faces and ten arms and his face was smeared with ashes, while a moon adorned his forehead. He was dressed in a tiger’s skin and a garland of skulls hung around his neck.

No wonder Menaka fainted. When she recovered she began to argue, “No way is my daughter going to marry this man!” Even Vishnu could not pacify Menaka.

Finally Narada asked Shiva to display himself in his beautiful form and Shiva obliged. This form is usually only exhibited to those who are faithful to Shiva. Everyone was charmed by this beautiful form, even Menaka. His body shone like a thousand suns and a crown sparkled on his head. His clothes glittered and the lustre of his jewels put the stars to shame.

Menaka begged for forgiveness for her foolishness and the wedding went on.

What does this story teach us? How many times do we judge a book by its cover instead of seeing the divine that exists within each and every person. Sometimes we have to look deeper but it does exist.

In today’s class we will practice poses in honour of the God’s that showed up in Shiva’s procession as well as re-enact the story through yoga postures, mudra and breath.
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