Absolutist thinking is a vicious falsehood, creates only confusion.
Accepting the gods from one point of view is just accepting reality. Following the gods is learning their ways and habits.
Is there any way you can get to know someone better than by living with them? Sometimes you only learn what someone can share with you by simply accepting them in your life and continuing to interact with them.
Going through a traumatic ordeal with them, perhaps. Surviving a disaster? Ah, Shiva will bring trauma. His roar is your roar. When you just want to tell the world off and start trashing things, Shiva is with you, and he also is the one who brings that shocking moment when you realize how out of control you are. That “OMG! I’m acting crazy” moment.
Does Shiva “use” us to do his bidding? No. He only dances with us. The gods in Hindu understanding don’t use people as servants. They guide people and influence events. They make no effort to gain rulership of what they already govern anyway. They are the structure of reality. They are the originators of your flesh and blood. They don’t have to dominate anything, they are everything.
I just asked my kids what their take on Shiva is. My ten year old said, “He’s a yogi, an ascetic, and in his form as Nataraja he is a dancer. It’s said he has two regular eyes and on his forehead he has a third eye, and if he ever opens it, the whole world will be destroyed. And my seven year old said, “He has the Ganga trapped in his hair.” They are both right. Shiva can be both a cosmic force and a yogi in retreat upon his mountain. He can be every yogi. They see him more personally. All children see the gods personally, and their view is clearer in general than most adult views.
And through the stories of the mythology. Through the stories of the mythology and their own imagination. If they don’t become preoccupied with nursing their emotional wounds as I did when a child, they can’t resist imagining what those amazing characters might do.
Deepak Chopras son Gotham has started a whole line of comic books adapted from Hindu mythology. There is even one called the Sadhu.
So, do we need to know more about Shiva or should I move onto ritual?
Your thoughts are welcome. Be well friends.