Before reading the book, I thought it would be a general description of Bhagwan Shiva. As I started reading the book, it made my interest grow. This book was absolutely unlike any other as far as the content was concerned. But for such a deep subject, the language was too simple, i.e., no stylish English. Maybe the author’s intention was to keep the simplistic language aimed at attracting a wider readership.
The author, Anshul Pandey, says he has highlighted Shiva taking the Avatar. But how can he take Avtar if he is eternal, which is the truth? But the painstakingly done research by the author came up with ninety-six avatars of Shiva. It definitely has been a long and tedious research done with patience as the content is placed. Mentioning Adi Shankracharya as an avatar of Shiva and citing evidence from the Puranas is also new to me.
The author has mentioned twenty-nine avatars of Bhagwan Vishnu, which we never knew about; the Mundi avatar was new to me; I had never heard about it. He has given a proper reference from the Shiv Puran on this.
The minor details, such as Shiva wearing symbols that ordinary mortals would never choose, are significant because they convey a special message to humanity.
Different sects of Shaivism are mentioned. Generally, we believe that one who worshipped Shiva is known as Shaiva. Shaivism has many factional dimensions; twelve types of Shaivism are mentioned, of which very few know. The origin of Naga Sadhu, the mystical behavior of Aghoris, and the typical practices of Naths are all intriguing. Also, Kapaliks and their strange practices are just worth reading. The real abode of Shiva is not Kailash but Mahakailash, which is a novel concept. This was not mentioned in any other Shaiva literature, and the author has provided proper sources as evidence.
The symbols of Tripund, Bhasma, the meaning of Pashupatinath, the meaning and importance of Om Namah Shivay, and the story of the Shiv Lingam are all very interesting. The importance of Panchakshri, or the “Om Namah Shivay mantra, which is a very powerful enough to attain nearness to Shiva, is also discussed. Chants like “Om Namah Shivay can create wonders. Even just listening to the chanting of this mantra makes one feel the peace within.
The story of the origin of Rudraksha and its importance is mentioned. These small points should draw the attention of people reading this book.
The Tridev, or supreme divinity, is one, but their functions are separate due to the nature of their jobs.
People are confused as to who is greater among the three. But no one is bigger than others, as the Scriptures say that the three are the same, with mutual respect for each other, and they dislike comparison. They want to be acknowledged as one and the same.
Some important Shiva temples around Kashi are also described.
Before taking Avtar, Shiva was in the form of a lingam. Its origin is also described, which is very interesting. All the misconceptions are debunked on Shiva Lingam. He has given proper references from Scripture, which ends the debate on misperceptions about Shiva Lingam.
The exalted point of this book is about the misconceptions about Shiva consuming intoxicants, as people consider Shiva a drug addict. The author has cleared the misguided people as to why Shiva taking Charas, Ganja, Cannabis, or any such drug is utter nonsense. Not one of our scriptures has ever stated this utter rubbish that Shiva used drugs to intoxicate people. Many smaller details make this book worth reading.
Shiva presented Sudarshan to Shiva. Sudarshan chakra is owned by Vishnu, but it was Shiva who gave him that chakra.
Jalandhar and Andhak are Shivansh, but Mangal and Jwar are also Ansh or a part of Shiva that many of us are unaware of.
The upcoming book will cover many more interesting topics. I hope that the sequel will cover all the remaining facets of Shiva. The author, Anshul Pandey, has also mentioned that part two of his book is also coming out shortly, as the first part was a huge success, and I am waiting for that to come out soon.
Yuvraj Pokharna is a Surat-based independent journalist and columnist.