Shiva, 'the destroyer' among the Hindu trinity (of gods), is depicted in many contradictory manners. He is an ascetic who wears animal skin, his body smeared with ashes. Contradictory to his wild nature, he is also depicted as having a family, with a beautiful wife and two children. There are many more such varied representations of Shiva, the most prominent of these being the Linga and the Nataraja. The author, Devdutt Pattanaik, introduces the readers to these varied aspects and representations, and then sets about interpreting them. He explains the different anomalies and conflicts in beliefs, things that might puzzle people who are not familiar with Hindu culture and religious symbolism.
The author has taken up seven aspects of Shiva worship from Hinduism, which are nothing but seven different forms of Shiva worship. Shiva is worshipped in many forms, as the Lingeshwara, Kala Bhairava, Sundareshwara, Shankara, and Nataraja, and the author goes into each form and analyzes what it represents. He also discusses Shivas two sons, Ganesha and Karthikeya. He goes into the symbolism behind these forms and provides his interpretation. This book serves as a nice introduction to Shaivite concepts and explains many stories, both known and unknown, the symbolism, and rituals and the reasons behind Hindu worship.
©2011 Devdutt Pattanaik (P)2012 Devdutt Pattanaik/ booksTALK audiobooks & Westland