“Why is there so much of sorrow on this earth?”
If you ask them, the haridasas tell
a very different kind of a story. That is: –

Poison in the wound of Lord Shiva’s neck festered.
He couldn’t tell the others of this pain, and suffered.
“O Shiva, O Shiva, I can’t die, I can’t live. O this pain,”
At the time of Shivaratri, He found an opportunity.
No one was around, and our Lord Shiva
Plucked his wound and threw it down.
He sang happily, I am not guilty, I have no guilt,
and lived happily in his Kailasa.

The wound became the earth, and the earth this world!
The little worms in the wound became the creatures of this world
The creatures became the human beings.
And the brain of the human beings developed.
And as it developed they sought the neck of Shiva to consume.
Thus-
Their hunger became a craving.
That craving became a mandara tree.
That tree grew to the space beyond the Kailasa.
That one tree, which made
The earth, the heaven and the Kailasa one.
Bore a flower, oh a sweet fragrant flower, in the Kailasa.

Lord Shiva, inhaling its fragrance, said–
“What is this scent of the earth?
The odor of the medicine on the wound?
I don’t like it.” He said it for sure!
What does it mean?
One who inhaled might be a god.
But shouldn’t a god have a god’s responsibility?
The mandara tree grew out of the earth,
and the earth was made of the god’s wound,
and it is but natural that the flower
had the original smell of the wound.

Please listen to the story further:
The mandara flower ripened into a fruit.
One day, in Her forgetfulness
Parvathi ate it. Should Shiva clap His hands,
and say, “Oh, you ate it! Didn’t you! You did
eat the fruit of the earth!”

The earth of the world in the body of Parvathi!
Forget the gods, their ways are different.
They make images out of the earth of their body.
But, what of us?

Listen further.

As Parvathi ate the fruit,
the celestial world was afflicted with hunger.
An insatiable hunger.
Now,
whatever we grow on this earth
turns its face to Kailasa
and reaches the heaven.
Just as we need air
gods need the warmth
of our devotion and our fear.
Till the smokes of our yaga
reach them the gods are orphaned.
Yet,
they pretend to show mercy for us!

Even now, the day on which
man remembers the original wound,
when the other gods are not around,
it is said,
Lord Shiva peeps down.
Listening to the mournful lament of man
His heart melts in kindness,
makes the mandara tree blossom and fill
with flowers and fruits
and gives us a free entertainment, it is said.
Or, it might be like this,
the blossomed leaves and flowers
are fences that prevent us from climbing up.

The mess of Shivaratri
is the moral of this story.

1989