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What Is Shiva Meditation?

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  • Written By: Dee S.
  • Edited By: Angela B.
  • Last Modified Date: 07 July 2014
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Shiva meditation is meditation typically focused on the Hindu deity Shiva. It can be focused on a physical object depicting Shiva, such as a statue or painting. It may involve a series of chants, or a mantra, calling on the deity. Shiva is known as the destroyer deity and, through Shiva meditation, is thought to remove or destroy negative thoughts of evil, ignorance and selfishness from the person meditating.

One way to engage in Shiva meditation is through deep focus on a physical object. Often, a statue or painting of the deity is used as the object of focus. These depictions of Shiva generally show him as a young and handsome man, often one who is meditating. Some people meditate by staring at the object while repeating Shiva’s name. Those who believe in the deity’s powers say his name must be repeated with purposeful understanding, rather than mindlessness, if one is to receive the full power of the meditation.

Another way to participate in Shiva mediation is to chant a phrase or mantra. The most common one uses the Sanskrit wording, Om Namah Shivaya.” This mantra may be translated into English as, “I bow to Shiva.” It also may be translated to mean, “Om and salutations to what I am becoming.” Most scholars and meditation leaders believe these translations are only loosely based on the Sanskrit, because there is no direct translation.

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The translation is based on the idea that Shiva will transform the person who is meditating on the destroyer deity. Through Shiva meditation, he or she will be free from fears of destruction. This may mean the person will be free from evil and free from other negative human qualities, such as ignorance and selfishness. In some cases, the person will even be free from the fear of death, the ultimate form of destruction.

To perform a full Shiva meditation, the practitioner will sit in a comfortable yoga pose. These poses may include a cross-legged position called lotus or rock, a position in which one sits on bent legs. From there, the practitioner will gently close his or her eyes. Many people then begin to bring their thoughts inward, to an area in the mind known as the third eye. Chanting the mantra to Shiva then begins.

Many people engaging in Shiva meditation will hold a series of beads, called a mala. A full mala contains 108 beads. A person who completes a full meditation will repeat the mantra 108 times, at a minimum. In some cases, a person may repeat the mantra up to 1,080 times.

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