The family is the first and most important unit of society. The need for a well-knit and fundamentally strong family can never be over stressed. The Shiv parivar, or Lord Shiva’s family is an interesting and perfect example in Hindu tradition. Each member is different in dress , temperament, looks and actions, yet live with mutual love and respect and are strongly united.
Shiva is the renunciate and dresses in tiger skin and snakes for ornaments. Parvati is a perfect picture of a devoted wife and dresses beautifully along with bejewelled ornaments . The elder son Kartikeya is a warrior and the younger son Ganesh is a remover of obstacles . Even their vehicles are inimical to each other, Kartikeya’s peacock is the sworn enemy of Shiva’s snakes, whereas Parvati’s lion always wants Shiva’s bull for breakfast. Ganesha’s mouse is no match to Shiva’s bull or Parvati’s lion, the mouse lives underground while Kartikeya’s peacock flies and the lion lives in a cave! Their food , likes and dislikes, skills ,capabilities and aims are different, yet there is no aggression. Thus, giving a message of living intelligently, mobilising the good qualities and the handicaps of others in the family for common good. An interesting example comes to mind of the movie Lagaan where the hero uses a cripple in his team to spin-ball to victory in cricket.
When a couple sees Ishwar tatwa (Divine essence) in each other then the perception is divinely harmonious, but if they see each other only as physical bodies, then the perception being finite and low gives finite and low results. The glory of a family is that we are loved for ourselves, rather, in spite of ourselves. Swami Chinmayananda ji once wrote to bless a newly married couple, “ Remember, the other word for Marriage is Sacrifice.”
Prarthna Saran is President, Chinmaya Mission, Delhi.