“Shivoham” by Meera Kumar
(Inspiration: Dr Shankar Rajaraman’s class on “Form and Content in Sanskrit poetry”)


Emerging from Sati’s pyre, Shiva’s rage, remorse and rampage rose, reverberating through universes, and himavan recouped from mainavati, her womb impregnated with the seed of shakthi- an incineration;an incarnation.

Shiva sank in sorrow, a purusha devoid of prakrithi, a mere form lacking content, a mortal of meaninglessness.

With a heart frozen much like his abode, a chitta which was no longer a translucent crystal to reflect the satva that reveled within. It had been her spirit that illuminated his budhi, it had been her shudhi that awoke his siddhi.

No longer a deerodhattha nayaka, an actor unaware of his actions- depressed, disenchanted dismembered and dismayed- how could the moorthi of samhara denounce himself? How could maheswara the destroyer deprive, put to an end, fume in his own flames his very being.

Millenniums passed in ihaloka and in that of para, the purusha was apoorna- a decaying, decomposing destitute.

Betrayed. Her each step around the homakunda, she had held another’s hand. Sapthapathi. To belong to another in this janma and the next seven, condemning one man for another, alliance over allegiance.

Giving in, to the many pleas of his boothaganas, the chaotic demons of his own creation, seeking his shakthi in her renewed form, the lord of the three worlds, adorned in ash and adept in admonishing, ascended Himavans abode, to meet the persistent penchant of Haimavati’s penance.

Oshadhiprastha, much like it’s princess, gleamed in golden glow to welcome the much awaited groom. To an enchanted parvathi, Himavam elaborated the virtues of her husband.

“Evam vadini devarasau parsve pithruthonmukhi/
Lilakamala patrani ganayamaasa parvathi//”
(While listening to his virtues from them, a bashful parvathi gazed longingly at the lotus petals she held in her hands)

With great festivities and festoons was his dubiousness met, as he chanced upon her pleasing pertinence.
It occurred to him that while it was indeed the same shakthi that adorned sati and parvathi, the two couldn’t have been farther from each other. Sati was shudhi, satva and swathanthra; Parvathi was prakrthi, pathivratha, patni. While Sati spellbound her lord with her stature’s stupor, a pertinent parvathi perused:

“Maddhye na kadina, stave na garima, dehe na va kantima, sronau na prathima, gatau na jadima, netre na va vakrima/ lasye na dradhima, na vaci prathima, hasye na va sphatima pranesya tatapi majjati mana mayyeva kim kaaranam?”

(My figure shows no curvitude, my breasts show no altitude, my body has no pulchritude, my hips no altitude, my walk suggests no grevitude, my eyes no magnitude, my charm revels no plentitude, my speech no aptitude, and my laugh no lattitude- why in the world has my lover given his heart to me and me only?

The Lord, pleased yet impermeable, in his desperate attempts to revitalise the dheeraprashantha swaroopa, enquired to his bride the reason for her resolve in a man who has stooped to an adhamanayaka- a mere garland of grief. Why has she chosen him of all worthy suitors as her prananayaka?

In the light of her limited wisdom, devi replied.

There are four kinds of nayakas in the world’s stage. The ones who strive for artha, seek possession- Iam not one to be possessed. The second kind, are the ones who look for kama. They seek pleasure in their possessions- Iam not a meal to be enjoyed piecemeal.Thou art,my lord,has won over kama. The dharmishtas on the otherhand, in order to overcome their dilemmas seek the sacred knowledge of tradition. Their deformed desire is to denounce responsibility- I am not one to be decried. The moksharthis are the ones who are at the brink of self actualisation. They are the seekers of the highest realm, but not finders- Iam not to be sought or found.

What remains of me, is all that you feel is lost in you my lord. What remains is eeshwara, my only true nayaka- beyond form and content, word and meaning, mind and matter.

Manobudhirahankarachittaninaham shivoham shivoham.
(Not the heart, mind, ego or awareness, my true nature is that of shiva)

United in that pure consciousness, intertwined like word and meaning, now revels the parents of this jagath, parvathi parameswarau.