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Aspects of Shiva that we can use in our Daily Life

Shiva led a life of contradictions, unmitigated wonder and beauty. When faced with difficulties, he had to tread gently, take a deep look into himself, sometimes go against his inherent nature, and change, when need be.

In the earliest and rather scant appearances, Shiva seems to have been a marginalized deity among the pantheon of gods, and yet he has become one of the most ubiquitous.

The Reluctant Family Man is a study of reflection, introspection and the necessity for taking responsibility through the life of Shiva.

Here are some aspects of Shiva’s life that we can use in our daily life.


Sati is Shiva’s first spouse, and with both his spouses, he has memorable exchanges and dialogue, illustrating the caring, sharing, quarrelling and forgiveness evident in these associations.

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The salubrious nature of marital squabbling is shown constantly in Shaivic myths. The fights are remarkable,where both parties threaten, browbeat and try to convince each other so that they can, eventually, come to a rapprochement.

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Shiva challenges conventionally prescribed gender norms and the patriarchal notion of a man having to always appear strong and resolute. Instead, he weeps copiously, wretchedly mourning his dead wife without caring what the world might think. His vulnerability and pathos are on full display.

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What is pleasantly surprising is the fact that Shiva can handle such a strong, almost insouciant wife (Parvati). In fact, Shiva is the only god who has an outspoken wife and perhaps the only deity who does not try to be dominant. Only a self-confident male can coexist with such a female.

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Loving spouses can repeatedly challenge each other if the marital relationship is to serve the function of promoting the mental growth of partners. Shiva and Parvati certainly don’t believe in the silent treatment that many couples have been guilty of from times immemorial. If something troubles them, they address it right away.

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Through Shiva’s attitude towards his wives, we can see him managing his ego. He is the great yogi, the great knower, and although he knows how to play supreme lord and master to an adoring Parvati, he also knows how to give in when she is his spouse and submit totally to her in her form as Devi.

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Do not put all your eggs in one basket. Have your own independent relationships other than the one you share with your partner. Shiva is known to go off with his cronies and partake of a relaxing hallucinogen, and indulge in ‘alone time’ and meditation. Parvati has her friends, Jaya and Vijaya, who help her in her ablutions and other aspects of life. They both also have their own ‘portfolios’ in the celestial world and keep very busy, away from each other. They give each other, as they say in today’s times, ‘space’.

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In a rather unique manner, Shiva epitomizes balance in his life choices, because not only is he Mahayogi, an ascetic, he is also Shankara, the beneficent married one. He balances two opposites.


In The Reluctant Family Man, Nilima Chitgopekar uses the life and personality of Shiva-his self-awareness, his marriage, his balance, his detachment, his contentment-to derive lessons that readers can practically apply to their own lives.

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