“Lord Shiva takes charge of reforming persons who are ghosts and demons, not to speak of others, who are godly; therefore he is the spiritual master of everyone, both the dull and demoniac and the highly learned Vaishnavas. It is also stated, vaishnavanam yatha shambhuh: Shambhu, Lord Shiva, is the greatest of all Vaishnavas.” (Shrila Prabhupada, Shrimad Bhagavatam, 4.2.2 Purport)
1. Ghosts and demons
“You want to rule the world? You want to acquire a mystic power, one that will enable you to dominate others? You want to perform a single yajna that will satisfy every desire, where you no longer need to return to the seat of worship for a long time?
“You should consider worshiping Lord Shiva. Since one of his names is Ashutosha, he is known to be easily pleased. As Goswami Tulsidas describes, people have been known to become great rulers after offering something as basic as a leaf towards a Shiva-linga. Pour some water over the deity and wait for the benefits to arrive.”
“You want to succeed in meditation? Need a role model for inspiration? Looking for some guidance on how to stay focused? Overwhelmed by the rules and regulations, thinking them to be too difficult to follow, maintain and sustain?
“Mahadeva is there to help. He is the most renounced person in the universe. Both literally and figuratively he has conquered kama, which is lust or material desire. No one holds a candle to him. He can live in the coldest of places, with nothing around him. He smears ashes on his body and his mind is always fixed in meditation.”
“My parents and grandparents told great stories when I was younger. I remember many of them to this day. There was this routine established, wherein I made specific requests while falling asleep. Though I knew a story from beginning to end, I still wanted to hear it again.
“I tell you, though, no one is better than Lord Shiva. He started his own sampradaya in the science of self-realization, dharma. He is fully aware of the truth, a tattva-darshi, and he can relay important historical events to people close to him.
“One of his storytelling adventures carries forward to this day. A version of the Ramayana, which is the story of Shri Rama, the avatara prince of the Almighty, has Mahadeva as the source. He first explained it to certain people, and they carried forward the tradition.”
4. Distressed husbands
“Having trouble in married life? Wife won’t listen to a word you say? Does she get angry at you for no apparent reason? Is there difficulty in the relationship, wherein you’re not sure what she wants from you, even though you are ready to provide everything?
“Whenever individuals are involved, the individuality eventually has to manifest. That means there will be disagreements from time to time. Although Mahadeva is the most respected personality, even his own wife won’t listen to his warnings. Sati travels to the home of her father, Prajapati Daksha. This is against the advice of her husband, Lord Shiva. There is nothing the destroyer can do to stop her, strong-willed as she is. What hope is there for any of us, then?”
Though he is sometimes described as a demigod to distinguish his position from that of Vishnu’s, it should be known that the husband of Parvati is a pure devotee who is also considered the greatest of the devotees of the Supreme Lord Vishnu.
This devotion manifests in a variety of ways, but primarily through meditation. Mahadeva prefers to worship the avatara of Vishnu known as Rama, and so he always repeats this name. It is said that those who pass away in the holy city of Kashi receive liberation through Shiva’s favor, as he whispers the name of Rama into their ear at the time of death.
He sings the glories of the Supreme Lord and he provides both explicit and implicit instruction. He is a role model on how to prioritize interests in life, though one should never imitate his amazing activities like drinking poison. He dutifully fulfills the role assigned to him to take care of the needs of those in the mode of ignorance, but he is never tainted by such contact.
Never by that contact tainted,
Despite picture of ignorance painted.
To the ghosts and demons role playing,
But in mind always with Vishnu staying.
At storytelling none surpassing,
Like tale of Rama passing.
Of the Vaishnavas the best,
All by his association blessed.
Categories: the five