Have you ever thought of creative ways of telling your child about God?
I closed my eyes and took a deep breath as I prepared myself to talk about the Lord of the Lords- Shiva. For a few moments as I sat in silence, the name Shiva captivated me and a mystic feeling surged all over me. My little daughter could feel the sacred variance already. She sat along with me in Silence.
We began by reciting the universal mantra “Aum Namah Shivaya”. She was well aware of this as a part of her prayer lessons. (with the context to “Aum Namah Shiva”- I honor the divinity that resides within me)
Shiva, the Mahadeva is one of the potent deities of Hindus. He is the omniscient yogi who lives on Mount Kailash. He is the householder of Goddess Parvati and his two sons Lord Ganesha and Lord Kartikeya.
His Iconic attributes, third eye on his forehead, the snake- Vasuki around his neck, the adorning crescent moon, the holy river Ganga flowing from his hair with weapon Trishula and damaru, the musical instrument.
She was familiar with the picture of Lord Shiva in our Prayer room and pointed towards it as I was explaining. As I continued, she paused me with a question -”Is Shivaratri Shiva’s birthday?” I pondered then - was it the festival preparations at home that made her ask this question. I then explained to her that Shivaratri - The Great night of Shiva is very auspicious for the following reasons:
- This was the day Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati were married.
- Shiva performed the Tandava - The cosmic dance
- It is also said that Lord Shiva saved the world from the poison that emerged from the churning of sea.
- On the Maharatri, Shiva's devotees keep vigil throughout the night.
As I looked at her, she smiled at me and said, I want to meet Shiva and thank him for protecting us. At that moment, I did not have an answer and also didn’t want to disappoint her. I told her, Yes of course you can thank him by offering ‘bilva’ leaves and giving him a holy bath in milk (Abhishekam) on Shivaratri and meet him yourself.
I convinced her to dress her as the Lord and to my surprise, she agreed instantly. I was excited about dressing her up like the Lord. Yes, we clicked pictures and that night while I was transferring those pictures, she peeped in to ask -“Doesn't Shiva lives in the mountains?”. I knew she was not just happy with getting her picture clicked. The next morning, my few hours of sleeplessness were more than suitably rewarded when she said “Amma, I am sure the Lord Shiva would love this”. I hugged her tight and said, of course baby.
Even lessons about God can be learnt the fun way!
The photographs are original and have been contributed by the author.