RUDRA ABISHEK: The Hindu ceremony that unites the finite with the infinite

Coinciding with the month of Shiva (Shravana), which this year lasts from the Full Moon of July (Guru Purnima) to the Full Moon of August, we talk about the ritual that connects the two fundamental principles of Hinduism: the time-bound recurring world of matter (Prarkriti, shakti, maya) and the timeless still world of the soul (Purusha, shiva, brahman).

This philosophical idea argues that the essence of me is God, that my soul (Atman) is like a drop of the ocean, a particle belonging to a higher entity, composed exactly by the same elements.
Rudra Abhishek is the most used means to invoke that energy of Shiva. The idea of God has no form, so a stone is used to symbolize that eternal aspect, without beginning or end, that is, the SOUL. Unlike other ceremonies that use statues and icons to represent different deities, Rudra Abhishek uses an element that express the infinite: the Shiva Lingam.

Picture from Ana Vega. 
Rudra Abhishek celebrated with the participants of the Jagruti Solidarity Trip of Photography 2018 in Rishikesh-India.

Offering the Lingam (the stone that symbolizes Shiva, the eternal, the soul) elements of Nature, such as water, milk, honey, flowers ..., we remember that, although willing to reconnect with our true SELF, we exist and belong to this time-limited and material world (Maya). The Lingam is placed on the Yoni ("womb" in Sanskrit), symbolizing our soul currently restricted to the cycle of life and death ... The five elements, of which any substance is composed, are represented in the same way.

Offerings to Shiva (Soul or Purusha) circumscribed to the material world (Prakriti or Nature). 
Rudra Abhishek held in Rishikesh-India.

Many are the benefits that are achieved through this ceremony, especially if it is carried out by experts in Vedic and Sanskrit teachings, people who are specialists in working with the energy generated and resulting from this ritual in the right way. There are many types of Rudra Abhishek, depending on the purpose of the ceremony (Sankalpa). However, a simpler ritual can be performed without much expertise or experience, focused on love and devotion, gratitude and awareness and, thus, for a few minutes, reminding our being that we are fragments of a Whole, detaching ourselves from our egocentricity and accepting our origin...

Shiva Lingam in the center, surrounded by flowers and other offerings. Ritual held in Rishikesh-India.

Understanding the mantra "Shivoham: I am Shiva" we can connect more deeply with this ceremony. I do not communicate outwards, I do it inwards. I do not talk to anyone other than myself. A ceremony to become aware and try to understand our existence and its ultimate meaning. And remember that ... "The unexamined life is not worth living"...

"All life is the result of energy and thus, we have a choice as to what energy we use in what we do, say and how we think".

*We apologize for possible errors made in translation. 

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