The Story of Shiva and Shakti
Shiva and Shakti symbolise the masculine and feminine principles in the universe and within each of us. Hinduism has beautiful stories about the incarnation of Shiva and Shakti on earth. These divine energies went to earth and manifested as the divine couple Shiva and Sati. This story illustrates the importance of balanced masculine and feminine energies on the planet and in ourselves.
At some point in history, earth was a barren place. The divine feminine had left earth. Nothing was growing, no green luscious nature, no animals were roaming the earth, there was hardly anything left to eat for the population. Shiva was on earth at this time, meditating on Mountain Kailash. He was in deep meditation. Which are the qualities of the divine masculine. The space holder, witness of the emptiness. Shiva’s stillness reflected the state of the planet.
Brahma asks the Divine Feminine To Return To Earth
Brahma (the creator), Vishnu (the preserver) were observing earth and felt sad with the current state of the planet. “We need to bring back the divine feminine to earth or it will cease to exist,” the Gods agreed. Brahma wanted Shiva (divine masculine) to get married as this will restore the balance. Vishnu advised him to beg Maha Deva (The great Goddess) to take birth on earth and become Shiva’s partner.
And boy, Brahma needed a lot of courage. Pure feminine energy or shakti, is WILD. It’s pure life force energy, chaotic, crazy, expansive, unpredictable and intense. Shakti energy is the energy that makes your heart beat, that makes plants grows, that makes your body move and sing. Brahma was trembling as he faced Maha Deva. They know how powerful the feminine is and that it needs to be approached with respect and honor.
“Maha Deva, we beg you to return to planet earth. It’s empty, dry and nothing is growing there,” the Gods asked. Maha Deva tuned in and felt the despair of the people of earth. “Brahma, Vishnu, I’ll go back to planet earth, become Shiva’s wife and make it beautiful again. But only on 1 condition: if I don’t feel seen, honored or respected, I will leave earth again.”
Sati dreams of Shiva
Brahma followed Vishnu’s advice and the great goddess was born into an important priest family (Brahmins). Her father was Daksha. Daksha called his daughter Sati. From a very young age, Sati was a having dreams of this blue man with dreadlocks. She didn’t know who this was and started drawing pictures of this man. Daksha found one of the drawings and was shocked to see the image. A blue man with a snake around his neck, covered in ashes, meditating, only wearing tiger fur to cover his private parts. He knew who this man was and didn’t like this outcast.
The years went by and Sati became obsessed with this man visiting her dreams. In the middle of the night she woke up and uttered the sounds: “Shi – va”
She started chanting and singing songs in praise of lord shiva. While her friends were playing, she’d sit under a tree chanting ‘om namah shivaya”.
Sati grew up and her parents wanted her to marry someone equal to her. A respected brahmin, priest, for instance, would be worthy of her love. Not an outlaw like Shiva, who does nothing than meditate all day on mountain Kailash, doing strict yogic practices. He doesn’t have any possessions or wealth.
Brahma saw that Daksha wanted to keep Shiva away from Sati, so he came to earth and convinced him to let her daughter keep working on herself so she would become an energetic match for Shiva.
Sati was inspired that finally she would meet the man of her dreams. She left home and went to the forest. By the riverbank of Ganga, she started fasting and chanting sacred shiva mantras. Her whole being was concentrated on shiva.
“Is there a woman out there who’ll be yogini when i’m a yogi and a housewife when I’m a householder?”
Meanwhile in space, Brahma and Vishnu were delighted to see Sati doing yogic practices to win Shiva’s heart. They decided to go to Shiva on Mountain Kailash and bring him out of his meditation. “O Shiva, you too should accept a loving woman for an eternal companion. Like Vishnu who is together with Lakshmi and me and Saraswati,” said Brahma.
Shiva smiled and was quiet for some time. “I am willing to marry, but I am a renunciate. I can’t believe there’s a woman who will be a yogini when I practice yoga and a loving housewife when I am a householder.”
Brahma was delighted and said “O Shiva, Daksha’ s daughter Sati is a woman like that.” “Where is she?” Shiva asked. “She’s in the forest, doing severe yogic practices and tuning into your energy.”
Shiva felt Sati’s energy and went to her. He found her, meditating under a tree in front of a Shiva lingam (a statue that represents the divine masculine).
“Daughter of Daksha, I am pleased by your devotion.” Sati blinked her eyes open and couldn’t believe it was Shiva in front of her.
They embraced and immediately felt the strong connection between them. It’s as if there was no time and space only pure presence and energy. They married and all life on earth started to flourish again.
The feminine had returned and was seen by the masculine. After the wedding, Shiva took Sati to Mount Kailash where they made tantric love for months. As they were both whole, pure masculine and pure feminine energy, they didn’t feel the need to orgasm, as reaching a peak orgasm implies that there is somewhere to get to, an end goal. Whole beings already arrived in the present and don’t have any desire for the present moment to be different. Shiva witnessed Satis wild movements and waves of ecstasy. Together they were in orgasmic bliss for weeks. Earth started flourishing again.
The big ceremony of Daksha
One day, Sati heard that her father Daksha was performing a big ceremony. She waited for the invitation. The ceremony approached, and she couldn’t believe her father forgot to invite her and Shiva. She went to Shiva and told him about the mistake. “Shiva, let’s go to the ceremony and confront my father, I am so mad that he didn’t invite us”.
Shiva looked lovingly at her. “Sati, your father doesn’t like me. We have been deliberately overlooked.” Sati persisted “That’s not possible, let’s go to the ceremony.” Shiva knew nothing good would come out of this, but he respects Sati, the divine feminine, as she is his equal. “I won’t come, but I will call Nandi the Bull, my servant, and he will take you to the ceremony.”
Sati climbed on Nandi and went to her father’s palace. Daksha had been preparing this ceremony for weeks and the palace was full of flowers, incense and a big pile of wood that was gonna be put on fire for the offering.
He saw his daughter entering the palace and was disappointed to see her. Sati reminded him of his failure, that his only daughter married this outcast, living on a mountain, doing yoga with hardly any clothes on and other practices he disapproved of. A disgrace to his family of priests.
As he was lighting the pile of wood on fire, Sati was enraged to see her father ignoring her. She wasn’t seen, respected or honored as she entered the ceremony.
She pushed away all the people in the palace so she could stand in front of her father. “How can you forget to invite your only daughter to your biggest ceremony?” Sati yelled.
“Sati, I’ve had enough of your behavior. You married this outlaw yogi and you expect me to invite the two of you to this holy occasion? I don’t want to see Shiva or you ever again! I only approved of your marriage because Brahma convinced me to do so.”
Sati stood speechless with shame and anger. “You don’t respect me or my choices, I will cast off this body of mine as a worthless corpse.”
She fixed her mind on Maha Deva and asked that she could be reborn into family with a father who respects her. Without any hesitation she jumped into the pile of burning wood and her body went up into flames.
Virabhadra rises out of the fury of Shiva
Shiva, meditating on Mountain Kailash, immediately felt that Sati had left earth. He was furious. He plucked out 2 of his dreadlocks and threw them onto the ground. One dreadlock fell on the floor, and the powerful warrior Virabhadra came out of the ground. He had one mission: to kill Daksha. The other dreadlock gave birth to the terrible Kali, who doesn’t let anyone live who is out of alignment with the truth.
Without hesitation, Virabhadra and Kali rushed to the palace to kill Daksha and his following. Virabhadra chopped off Daksha’s head. Shiva arrived at the palace as well, to find Sati’s burned corpse. He picked up her remainings and roamed around Northern India. As he mourned throughout the country, pieces of Sati’s body fell on the floor. Important temples have been built on these places. In Rishikesh you have a temple where the chest of Sati fell, supposedly.
Back at Mountain Kailash, Shiva went into deep stillness again.
Sati true to her word, was immediately reborn as Parvati. This time, her new father loved and respected her. But the story of Parvati and Shiva (and their son Ganesha) is for another time.
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