Shiva – A multimillennial marker of India’s social construct

21 Jan

As much a religious person I am, I think its time, especially so in India that we take religion out of religious texts and put them in philosophy or sociology classes. I dont know when is that going to happen, but sooner is better. I think we are at least a generation away from that happening as a natural transition. Natural transition will be when religious conservatives will ask academia to take religion and save it in its purest form or say in its entirety.

ImageLets come back to the Shiva. Oh! what a topic it is, what a character it is. Quintessentially a tribal creation dating back to earliest civilizations, Shiva is a concept as wide as multidimensionality of Hinduism and as singular as singularity of physics. Since we have sample of Shiva’s representation from past several millenniums, he therefore becomes a more than decent marker of social change throughout Indian history. One, just have to run a radio-dating on such a marker. Taking liberty and furthering my radioactive analogy; in totality the half life of Shiva as a concept is just wonderful.

When we talk about Shiva, the comparison with other members of holy trinity will always be around the corner. No discussion on either Shiva, Vishnu or Brahmaa is complete without putting them together in one frame. More importantly, the comparison of Shiva and Vishnu is always enlightening to both the trained and untrained. Like the above two paragraphs, the idea highlighted in this para deserves a blog, no, a thesis, no… several thesis on its own. But just to highlight the difference between Shiva and Vishnu; both made different kind of transitions through different epochs of Indian history. Shiva did have advantage of early start, because the unrefined nature of early concepts helped it to travel far and wide.

So, how come, am I writing about it today? Thanks to a photo blog on which I stumbled upon, which has several pictures from the Shaivism branch of hinduism.

Indeed an interesting photo blog and the picture used in this post is also from that blog, as the original post does not refer to the artist, I am unable to do so.


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