It was such an eventful day today. We celebrated Mahashivratri like never before. Dhvani and Avani were dressed up as Lord Shiva & Maa Parvati . We arranged for a play date where few of their friends were invited. The dress code was Shiva or Parvati. The girls did abhishekam for the tiny brass Shiva idol. It was an artifact I picked up 8 years back from the colorful markets of Jaipur.
The kids were engrossed in the ritual. First, dousing the shiva statue with honey, milk, curd, and water. And then showering it with haldi, kumkum, chandan, and flowers later. They had a great time. The activity turned out to be interesting and engaging during the day. In short, it was a tiny winy (but successful) attempt to keep the girls busy on a day off from school.
It all started on Friday when I told the girls that they have no school on Monday since it was Mahashivratri. This triggered endless questions as to what is Shivratri? What do we do on Shivaratri etc. I first tried to answer their queries by showing them various pics and clips of Shiva on my phone. I thought the discussion would be over with that. However, it ended with the kids demanding that they themselves wanted to get dressed as Parvati & Shiva. I couldn’t say no.
Stories about Lord Shiva have always been my favorite. Since childhood I have had a great fascination for Shiva Stories. While reading his stories or watching the TV shows, I have always felt that Shiva had been a very unconventional deity, who makes and breaks all the social customs and moral codes to express his state of freedom, and yet he is a family man.
There is no protocol for his worship. No set of rules or rigid practices to get his grace. Just pouring water on Shivalinga is enough to please him. A fascinating deity he is. He carries an aura of mystery around him. So basically I am someone who is super influenced by his mystic charm and hence I often find myself narrating Shiva tales to my girls. Undoubtedly, these fables have amazing life lessons one can teach kids.
As I was drawing the third eye on Dhvani’s forehead, she asked me why I was doing that? In trying to explain her, it occurred to me that like Shiva every human has a third eye. The wisdom eye, if you will. During crisis period in our lives, it’s our wisdom that helps us navigate through the tough time. You just need to know when to use it.
“Why is there blue color on Shiva’s throat?” Asked Avani. Kids observe everything, don’t they?
“He drank the poison churned out of the ocean which made his throat blue.“ I told her.
Lord Shiva is also called Neelkanth. The incident teaches us not to let the bad energies overpower us. We are in a world with many such energies threatening and testing us all the time. It is for us to learn ourselves and teach our kids how not to let those negative energies rob off our inner peace.
It was tricky to create a half moon on Dhvani’s head. While I was doing my Jugaad, pop came Dhvani’s next query, “Why is there a moon on Shiva’s head?”
I explained that the reason Shiva wears a moon is that it signifies peace. Irrespective of the situations, the mind has to be kept calm.
Needless to say, Shiva’s adorable Nandi wasn’t going to go unnoticed by the girls. No, we didn’t redo a Nandi during the play date. The girls are familiar with Nandi since Bal Ganesh is one of their old favorites. They have seen clips of Ganesha’s encounter with Nandi numerous times. Nandi — the bull — is Shiva’s ‘vahana’. He is the dearest to Shiva. This is an illustration that teaches us to keep doing our ‘karma’ without expecting anything in return, and that Lord Shiva will be always there to bestow his grace upon us.
Why does Shiva live in dark cold mountains? Why isn’t he wearing a sweater? Doesn’t he feel cold? It’s so tough to satisfy a curios kids inquiries. But these are often reminders disguised as innocent queries. Maybe Lord Shiva is being rhetorical (a famous greek way to teach) through kids.
Shiva teaches us to follow our duties wisely, but to stay away from the illusions of this world, called ‘Maya’. This is essential because there’s nothing true here, except death. Being attached to this mortal world will never let us achieve our ultimate goal, i.e., ‘moksha’.
These lessons might be too deep for kids to understand at this early age however these are extremely important for us parents to imbibe these extracts into our lives so that we can transfer these to our children as and when they have the capacity to understand the significance of the same. These will undoubtedly bring peace in our lives, in turn making our children’s lives better. The deepest secrets of Lord Shiva’s persona has a lot to offer.
So gear up and narrate these beautiful mystical stories to your kids, relearning the beautiful life lessons these stories teach us and passing them on to your children making their world a beautiful place.
Fire is His head, the sun and the moon His eyes, space His ears, the Vedas His speech, the wind His breath, the universe His heart. From His feet, the Earth has originated. Verily, He is the inner self of all beings.