Upside Down Siva and Ultimate Freedom
While I was in Denver last month, on Thursday May 7th, the day of the week in which the Guru and teachers are traditionally honored, I was drawn to buy a "murti" (sacred statue) of Siva doing a one-handed handstand. I bought this statue the very morning I was to demo this pose, unbeknowst to me...
The murti of Siva is now on my desk in front of me, where it is constantly in my peripheral vision, every time I sit at my computer. It is also to the left of the meditation alcove I built into a closet. I was drawn to this piece from the first moment I laid eyes on it, and so after receiving it in the mail, I wrote to Dr. Manoj Challam, from whom I purchased it, asking him to give me more insight into the meaning of this representation of Siva.
A primary focus of the week that Anusara Yoga teachers gathered in Denver was the study of the Siva Sutras with Dr. Paul Muller Ortega, a pre-eminent Siva scholar.
I have always been very drawn to Siva, and this particular murti was so unusual. It is an ecstatic representation of Siva. It is believed that murtis contain certain powers and can aid in our spiritual growth and transformation.
This is the information I received on my new murti:
"The upside down Siva represents Ultimate Freedom while embodied (Moksha Siva). This is represented by the mudra of the one hand going back. It is really a feeling of exhilaration that comes from an epiphany of a shift in identity. The wave has realized the oneness with the Ocean. The other hand holds the Damaru because time and space comes from us. Everything is Siva. An alchemical transformation of effortless Grace happens and the legs go upside down gracefully. There is no up, no down. Everything is Siva.
It is interesting that your murti has a crack on the robes of Siva. This represents the embodiment and human imperfection that Siva subjects us to. The Dance represents the Freedom and the Certainty upon realizing the Absolute.
These powerful murtis can lead us to great alchemical transformations, far beyond what our minds can fathom...Please use your murtis in your teachings..."
I was in awe of these comments and observations. They so resonated with me. It was no accident I bought this murti, on the day of the Guru, while I was in attendance with several of my teachers at this week-long training: my overall teacher in Anusara Yoga - John Friend - in addition to Betsey Downing, one of my first teachers, who taught me this pose and helped me refine my handstand, as well as my current teacher, Suzie Hurley. I was also surrounded by many in that room who have served as my teachers in various workshops. In fact, I was in a room full of peers that had first been my teachers!
It is also no accident I was asked to demo handstand - a pose I had not done for nearly 5 months because I was being monitored for a possible detached retina. And, it was no accident that John's tour this year is called: "Ultimate Freedom." It is also no accident all of this happened after one of the darkest years of my life, culminating in incredible growth...
Yes, when we are open to the Divine - messages come in so many miraculous ways!