Shiva – The Complete Man
Lord Shiva is the all-important figure in Hindu mythology, who holds the title of being the Destroyer of the Universe. But despite his terrifying and angry forms such as Bhairava and Veerabhadra, to name just a few, he also has the reputation of being the ideal man among all the Hindu gods. His union with Parvati is touted as the most glorious, purest and most divine among the heavenly matches and every woman secretly wishes to have a husband like him. In fact, many women in India as well as across the world observe a fast on Monday to please him, so that he will bless them with a husband like him.
Every Monday, Indian women wake up early morning, take a bath, prepare prasad (food to be offered to the Lord) and conduct the ritual of pouring milk on the shivlinga (a symbol of Shiva) and then pray and offer the prasad along with fruits and flowers, to appease him. A fast is observed for the entire day, which may be broken in the evening with light vegetarian dinner. The fast is said to be the ultimate way to find the perfect match and is followed by not only single women, but even married ladies in a bid to ensure happiness in their marriage and the long life of their husbands. Nowadays, as times are changing and men and women strive to be equal in every aspect, even men join their women in this fast to show their solidarity, love and support for their wife and to ask Shiva for her long life and a blissful marital union. But the question that arises is, why is it about the three-eyed, fierce God and what makes him the most virtuous husband?
Shiva is also worshipped and loved by his female devotees for the fact that he treats Parvati as his best friend and equal and shares everything with her, even his thoughts and emotions and asks for her advice on every matter.
Despite India being known for its patriarchal society, Shiva’s fame as the perfect husband supersedes the narrow-minded and chauvinist beliefs. The society believes it is imperative for men to hold more importance than women, however, Shiva’s macho image is not diminished in the least by his blatant and open display of equality in the relationship for his wife Parvati.
Shiva is known to be the most passionate, loving, virile, patient and understanding husband out of the myriad gods in Hindu mythology. Unlike other polygamous gods, he is entirely devoted to his wife Parvati and dotes on her completely. In fact, when his first wife Sati died, he was so lost in his grief and sorrow for her that he did not pay the slightest attention to her reincarnation, Parvati, and preferred to be absorbed in a meditative trance. It was only after the God of love, Kamadeva, intervened that Shiva opened his eye and looked at the reincarnation of his beloved wife and fell in love with her, again!
Shiva’s perfection as a husband and lover has earned him the status of Ardhnarishwar, which depicts him in his divine union with his wife Parvati. In fact the cosmic union of Shiva and Shakti (another name for Parvati), similar to the yin-yang principle, celebrates this very union of male and female and recognises the power of both forces in the creation of the Universe.
Any doubt still whether Shiva sets the benchmark for our husbands or not?