Nature has its way of providing for balance in this Creation. For every aspect there exists an equal and opposite. Darkness is nothing but absence of Light. Similarly, Silence is nothing but the absence of Sound. It is only the duality in nature, the co-existence of positive and negative that gives meaning to the existence of the whole.
What if at any given time, there exists the entire positive and negative? Then the two will balance each other out completely resulting in a shunya, and yet it is poorna or complete. In other words, there would be everything yet nothing. The only form that could fit such a description is the formless â€“ Nirakaar, Para Brahma. This is the swaroop of Shiv.
In the words of Shankaracharya,
'Na Punyam Na Paapam
Na Saukhyam Na Dukham
Chidananda Rupa Shivoham Shivoham.'
What then is the dancing male form, or the half-man-half-woman, or a sadhu clad in loin cloth with body smeared in bhasma? Are Natraj, Ardhnareshwar and Neelkanth a myth? Let us dwell upon the infinite energy that is Shiv, lets go back to the beginning of Creation…
When Creation began, there existed just one supreme consciousness that manifested as Adi Shakti. From her emerged anything and everything; from her emerged Shiv. Interestingly, the first physical manifestation of Creation was the sound of Om which emerged from the damru of Shiv; his dance of Creation gave form to the Universe. Thus, what manifested was Shiv and the energy responsible for this manifestation was also Shiv.
Adi Shakti in all her glory then chose to be the consort of Shiv as Shakti or Parvati. While the entire Creation (including Shiv) draws its energy from Shakti, Shakti sans Shiv is just pure energy that needs a vehicle to channelize itself. The complete evolution thus becomes union of the two, Ardhanareshwar or Shiv who granted half his body to Shakti.
This evolution is seen as awakening of Kundalini in humans. The process involves rising up through the chakras, what rises up being Kundalini or Shakti, a semi-dormant force residing at the base chakra. For this to happen, Shiv seated at the highestchakra has to come down and unite with Shakti at every subsequent chakra. The Samudra Manthan where both amrit andvish were produced during the churning of the ocean is nothing but the awakening of Kundalini
Amrit is the union of Shiv-Shakti that bestows salvation. The vishor venom produced as an equal and opposite necessitates the role of the Guru in evolution. It was Shiv as Neelkanth who took in all the vish and preserved it in his throat, for maintaining the balance, for the existence of amrit, for facilitating evolution. In this sense, Guru too is not separate from Paramguru Shiv.
Shiv then becomes the transformer, the granter of salvation, 'dev-adi-dev Mahadev'. The first experience of this all-pervasive energy of Shiv lies in closing the eyes. When the eyes are shut, one experiences a vast limitless expanse of space, the chittakaash, wherein lies everything perceivable and unperceivable. Strangely though there exists no space between the eye and eyelid. That is, there is everything yet nothing.
The night of Mahashivratri has a special significance as the energy patterns of this day resonate with the energy of Shiv. For a spiritual aspirant this is the night of Sanatan Kriya and mantra sadhna. The Guru, who monitors the shishya at every step, gives him a specific mantra and kriya to practice at the right muhurat (time) on this night. The amazing psychic experiences that follow bring results worth the effort of several lifetimes, in just one night.
Har Har Mahadev.