śiva: a god of contrasts

by Jahnabi Barooah

एकैश्वर्ये स्थितो ‘पि प्रणतबहुफले य: स्वयं कृत्तिवासा:
कान्तासंमिश्रदेहो ‘पि अविषयमनसां य: परस्ताद्यतिनाम।
अष्टाभिर्यस्य कृत्स्नं जगदपि तनुभिर्बिभ्रतो न अभिमान:
सन्मार्गालोकनाय व्यपनयतु स वस्तामसीं वृत्तिमीश:।।
–मालविकाग्निमित्रे १।१

the verse quoted above is the opening verse of kālidāsa’s play mālavikāgnimitra. i translate it below:

The world’s sole sovereign,
he bestows riches abundant to the poor,
yet himself is clothed in deer skin.
His body is intertwined with his beloved,
yet he is superior than ascetics
who have mastered their senses.
Supporting the entire world
with his eight bodies,
he is not arrogant.
May He, the great lord, dispel
your dark ways,
and illuminate the virtuous path.

shiva_as_the_lord_of_dance_lacma_edit

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