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The Significance of Shiva

A follow up to an earlier blog about the mythology behind the Tree pose. The river Ganga descended from the heavens to wash away the sins of Bhagiratha’s ancestors. The Ganga would plunge from the heavens and head to planet Earth, but to prevent the destruction of Mother Earth (such was the force of the Ganga), she was held safely by Shiva in his matted locks. Then, the river Ganga was released from Shiva's hair to meet the needs of the country.

There is a mythical analogy of Shiva receiving the tumultuous river Ganga in his matted locks, as she flowed down from the higher realms before reaching the earth. Ganga here represents the descent of a river of divine knowledge and grace. If the matted locks of Shiva had not buffered the fall of this river, the full force of her descent would have crushed the earth. Shiva was the first guru to become a vessel for the descent of divine grace, therefore he is known as Adi-guru (the first guru). Without Shiva, and later his wife Parvati, we would never had known the magic of Yoga. The knowledge of Yoga was passed down to us in a way that we could comprehend. Without Shiva, the divine knowledge of Yoga would have overwhelmed us all.

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