Mahashivratri, the 13th night of the waning moon. The Great Night of Shiva. Lord Shiva performs the tandava: the cosmic dance of time. The birth and death of the world comes to a full fruition through his dynamic movement. It is the origin point of the cycle of creation, preservation and destruction. A vigorous dance that destroys and regenerates.

If performed in a violent mood, it symbolises death; that creation is followed by destruction. Lord Shiva is ananda by nature. Bliss, personified. If he dances with joy, he enjoys his creation. Bliss. That elusive certain state of being that makes it all worth it. 

“So what’s your birthday wish?” he asks.


“What does that mean?”

“God knows.”

“I don’t believe in God.”

“I don’t blame you. I didn’t until recently either.”

“What changed?”

“I decided that it didn’t make sense to believe that this human experience business is an accident.”

“But when you look at the world; and at all of the injustice, pain and suffering, how can you believe that God exists?”

I think of Lord Shiva, framed in a dancing circle of flames as he dances the Nataraja in a depiction of the fleeting phenomenal world. Creator, maintainer and destroyer of the universe. The Supreme Being of timelessness and all eternity.

In one of his hands, he carries a drum. The sound of our saving grace. A sound that reminds us to wake up from our slumber to all that is around us and within us.

I’m the birthday girl. I’m turning 24. I’m young, I know, but I feel like I’m about a hundred and twenty. In the night sky, the crescent moon is smiling at me. The rest of the moon’s body is a faint shimmering imaginary glow. I wonder, what is the lunar lord smiling about?

“Would you like some company?” he asks.

I hesitate. Why do we all hesitate in that moment? Maybe because we’re not sure whether ‘Yes’ is the right answer. It might be. But it might not be. But we won’t know till we try. Maybe we should try. And maybe we shouldn’t. Who is to know what the right answer is?

As fate would have it, it is his birthday too. He is turning 34. We’ve already celebrated three birthdays together. The celebration of my birth. A celebration of his. A reminder that we’ve made it through another year. Special days need to be performed with rites. Our day is extra special.

I look at Lord Shiva’s lingam united with the yoni: a symbol of his supreme power in every area of human existence. The union of opposites in pure balance. Creation and destruction. Life and death. Light and dark. Good and evil. In apparent chaos, there is absolute order. There are no accidents in this world.

Man is made to be with woman. Even Lord Shiva, without his precious Shakti, is a lifeless corpse.

I don’t remember actually reading about it. But some part of my subconscious still remembers the text. Or maybe it’s just genetic memory. The scripture is older than everyone alive. How can a text that was written such a long time ago still apply to today? Because the level of technology in the world can change, but the human race; the human condition; that in itself does not change.

We humans are not rational beings. We often act in anger. When that happens, we become deluded and we lose our intelligence.

In circumstances like that, who is to say what is just?

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