There may be an infinite number of attributes in the universe that would make Shiva unique, for there is none like him. But some of the things that have always enticed me are as follows:

  1. Shiva can be pleased simply by offering water or leaves of a plant [1]. More than his liking, this shows the height of his acceptance.
  2. Just like Shiva accepts the weakest plants — even the poisonous ones — he also accepts prayers from tamasic beings, including asuras. Few other forms of the Divine possess such unparalleled grace [2].
  3. Sacred stories teach us that even other forms of the Divine, including Rama, Krishna, Vishnu, and Devi, worship Shiva. The list of his devotees, of course, includes the gods, saints, humans, and lower life forms. In other words, he is accessible to all — from a bee to Brahma.
  4. He is easily pleased with both sakama and nishkama bhakti. He understands that many of us, the weak souls, may not be ready for his nishkama bhakti.
  5. Sanatana dharma considers Shiva the ultimate giver. The scriptures describe how he gave away the most impressive functions of the universe to Vishnu and kept nothing for himself.

[1] It is the rainy season, the time of the year when Shiva makes it easier for Hindus to offer him water. Consequently, his temples are more frequently visited by Hindus during the month of shravan. Remember that Shiva not only accepts water or leaves, he accepts flowers, sweet fruits, and vegetables as well!
[2] This should never be interpreted as, “Shiva is worshipped by mainly non-sattvic beings”; such interpretations suit only unthankful humans.

Edited on October 15, 2012.

Categories: Spirituality


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