Thursday, October 20, 2011

Obama. Shiva. God of Destruction.

Indian-Americansupset at Newsweek's depiction of Obama as a Hindu god

Last updated at 9:15 PM on 22nd November 2010

An Indian-American group has expressed outrage at Newsweek magazine for depicting President Obama as the Hindu deity Lord Shiva the destroyer on its recent cover.

Obama, fresh off a visit to India, is shown with multiple arms juggling issues from his administration as he balances on one leg.

The headline reads 'God of All Things' with the subtitle, 'Why the Modern Presidency May be too Much for One Person to Handle'.

Obama is depicted juggling housing, the economy, the world and more
Obama is depicted juggling housing, the economy, the world and more

In Hindiusm Shiva is the destroyer of all things and also responsible for rebirth. Thus Shiva oversees the circle of life

Shiva is often manifested as Lord Nataraja, who has many arms and balances on one leg in a dance of destruction

Obama is depicted as Nataraja.

Rajan Zed, president of the Universal Society of Hinduism in Nevada, said in a statement to Sify news that Lord Siva was a highly revered major deity in Hinduism meant to be worshipped and not to be used indecorously or thrown around loosely in reimagined versions for dramatic effects.

He urged Newsweek to publish a disclaimer about the cover on its website and include a proper explanation of the Hindu gods with the next issue.

Suhag Shukla of the Washington-based Hindu-American Foundation told FoxNews that her group doesn't think Newsweek meant to be malicious, but believes 'the cover was in line with the media's comfort of utilizing Hindu symbols or deities to symbolize an issue.'

Zed said that Hindus understood that the purpose of Newsweek was not to denigrate Hinduism...

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Shiva is the god of the yogis, self-controlled and celibate, while at the same time a lover of his spouse (shakti). Lord Shiva is the destroyer of the world, following Brahma the creator and Vishnu the preserver, after which Brahma again creates the world and so on. Shiva is responsible for change both in the form of death and destruction and in the positive sense of destroying the ego, the false identification with the form. This also includes the shedding of old habits and attachments.
All that has a beginning by necessity must have an end. In destruction, truly nothing is destroyed but the illusion of individuality. Thus the power of destruction associated with Lord Shiva has great purifying power, both on a more personal level when problems make us see reality more clearly, as on a more universal level. Destruction opens the path for a new creation of the universe, a new opportunity for the beauty and drama of universal illusion to unfold. As Satyam, Shivam, Sundaram or Truth, Goodness and Beauty, Shiva represents the most essential goodness.

While of course many hindu deities are associated with different paths of yoga and meditation, in Shiva the art of meditation takes its most absolute form. In meditation, not only mind is stopped, everything is dropped. In deep meditation or samadhi, even the object of the meditation (like a mantra) is transformed into its formless essence, which is the essence of everything and everyone. Thus Shiva stands for letting go of everything in the world of forms. The path of Lord Shiva is the path of the ascetic yogi.

Forms of Shiva
Shiva has many forms, which are visible in his Panchavaktra form with 5 heads, a combination of all Shiva energies : Aghora (resides in the creamation grounds), Ishana (most often appears as the shivalingam), Tat Purusha (meditating), Varna Deva (the eternal Shiva) and Saddyojat or Braddha Rudra (the old wrathful form). The last also forms the connection to the Rudraksha mala - a rosary made of the dried fruits of the Rudraksha tree.
Shiva NatarajAnother form is the Nataraj. Shiva Nataraj's dance represents both the destruction and the creation of the universe and reveals the cycles of death, birth and rebirth. His Dance of Bliss is for the welfare of the world. In the pose of Nataraj, the King of Dance is giving darshan to his beloved devotees within the "Hall of Consciousness", which is the heart of man. Under his feet, Shiva crushes the demon of ignorance called Apasmara Purusha, caused by forgetfulness. One hand is stretched across his chest and points towards the uplifted foot, indicating the release from earthly bondage of the devotee. The fire represents the final destruction of creation, but the dance of the Nataraj is also an act of creation, which arouses dormant energies and scatters the ashes of the universe in a pattern that will be the design of the ensuing creation.

Yet another manifestation of Lord Shiva is said to be Hanuman, the ultimate karma yogi, in never-ending selfless service to Ram. The fact that this is not really clear can be perfectly explained by the understanding that a true karma yogi will never take the credit for his acts, as they would otherwise not be entirely selfless. The ego would still get the credit. So, in order to respect Shiva as a true karma yogi, let us not pay too much attention to this manifestation.

Mahamrityunyaya ShivaThe Mahamrityunyaya form of Shiva is the great conqueror of death. The Mahamrityunjaya mantra is one of the two main mantras of the Vedas, next to the Gayatri mantra. It is chanted to remove death and disease. This form of Shiva also is the being of pure joy, referring to the unconditioned enjoyment of the perfectly peaceful mind. That is the true nature of the divine elixir that this Shiva offers his devotees in no less than four hands.

Another main form of Shiva is Ardhnarishwara, half Shiva, half Shakti. Also related to Shiva is Indra.

Attributes of Lord Shiva
Shiva's main attributes are :
  • the trident that represents the three gunas
  • the snakes that show he is beyond the power of death and poison and also stand for the Kundalini energy.
  • the sound of Shiva's two-sided drum maintains the rhythm of the heartbeat and creates the sound AUM in the overtones.
  • the vehicle of Shiva is the white bull called Nandi (the joyful).
  • Shiva is often seated on a tiger skin or wears a tiger skin, with the tiger representing the mind.
  • Shiva lives on Mount Kailasa in the Himalayas.

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