Collection: Shiva as Ardh Narishwara

The captivating story of Shiva as Ardh narishwara. When his disciple, Bhrigu, one of the saptarishis, became very feminine because of his intense devotion to Shiva. He would go around Shiva 3 times first thing every morning. What happened when Parvati was irked that he was not going around her, and sat right next to Shiva!

Brighu became intensely devout about Shiva, that he became very feminine, because devotion is feminine. He became a great devotee of Shiva. So every day he comes and he wants to do, three times he wants to circumambulate Shiva. That means, he wants to do pradakshina three times. He doesn’t start his day without doing that. And Parvati is right here. By now, she is also a fully enlightened being. But he ignores her completely, and he goes only around Shiva, never around both of them.

So, Parvati felt little irked by this. So, one day, she sat close to him. Then Brighu came and, there was no way to go around Shiva without going around Parvati, so he asked her to move. This is the way of a devotee. They are not logical people, very feminine, but they are intense. Parvati said, “Why should I move?” He said, “I will go only around the Lord, not you.” Brighu saw there was not enough space for him to go around Shiva alone, so he converted himself into a mouse and went around Shiva alone ignoring Parvati or excluding Parvati from the circumambulation.

So, Shiva was just amused by this tiff that is going on between his wife and his devotee. So, he looked at the whole thing and he grabbed Parvati and put her on his lap, just to see what he will do. How is going to circumambulate Shiva without circumambulating Parvathi now, because she is sitting on his lap. Then Brighu transformed himself into a bird and went around just Shiva. Then Shiva was completely amused by this devotion, very pleased and also amused by the way the devotee is expressing himself, and the way Parvati is getting fired up, because of this discrimination.

So, Shiva said, okay let’s see what you will do, and he just merged her into a part of himself. Shiva has become half Parvati, and half – half woman, half man. This [self] is half man, half woman. If one knows how to nurture this [self] one to it’s fullest extent, this will become half-man half-woman and that is how it will be. So, this is called Ardhanari, where he is half-man and half-woman. So he made her a part of himself, just to see what the devotee will do. Now Brighu made himself into a bee and went around only the right leg. So, Shiva and Parvati, both of them laughed and they said, “This is not a man, he is too feminine. What he is dedicated to is everything to him, he is blind to everything else.” So he just buzzed around the right leg, refusing to go around the left leg, because this is Parvati.

Then, this childish way of devotion of Brighu was amusing and nice. But at the same time, Shiva did not want Brighu to be lost in his devotion and miss the ultimate nature of the existence. So he got into the yogic posture of Siddhasana, where there was no way for him to circumambulate his leg or any other part of his body. If he has to do it, he has to do it for both these principles of feminine and masculine. So, this is how this body became like this, that it is half male and half female. or masculine and feminine in equal proportions. If one knows how to nurture this [self] one, both will be fully active and alive in every human being.