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AN OMEN OF THE TURMOIL TO COME

A GIANT STATUE OF SHIVA DISAPPEARS INTO THE WATERS OF A STORM

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In the Mahabharata (a major Sanskrit Epic), Shiva is depicted as "the standard of invincibility, might, and terror", as well as a figure of honor, delight, and brilliance. He is both Benefactor and Destroyer. When looking at the horror of the floods that hit India this summer, some may say that Shiva was in his Destroyer aspect.

Last June, treacherous floods and heavy rainfall followed a monsoon that hit Northern Indian state of Uttarakhand, near the foothills of the Himalayas. Authorities say that the death count so far is 5,000 people - and that number is expected to rise. Several houses, bridges and buildings on the coastline have collapsed. The Indian Meterological department recorded a record rainfall of 385 mm during the first few weeks of June, which is 440 percent over the usual rainfall. Some say that these floods are an unpreventable calamity. Yet green groups say that the region itself has been eroded by rampant economic development. "Too many roads, hotels and buildings have caused the valley to collapse like a stack of dominoes (The Guardian)."

The local governments of the area have also refused to form a basic disaster plan and have ignored attempts to estabilsh eco sensitive zones (The Guardian).

Uttarakhand itself is an area that some refer to as "The Land of the Gods" for the amount of Hindu Religious Sites concentrated in one area. The river itself is considered a holy site.

Therefore, it was highly symbolic when a large statue of Shiva got washed away by the floods. Some say the Goddess Ganga, associated with the Ganges river, has something do to with the way the river has been acting. It is said that this Goddess is so powerful, that she had to be brought to Earth in Shiva’s hair, and in his hair she sits in this statue. Now the statue of Shiva has been carried away by the river. Could it be that Ganga does not want to be tamed? Some say that the recent human construction in this holy site has angered the Ganga. Others say that the floods are also an example of Shiva's terrifying wrath.

Whether you believe in the spiritual aspects of the story or not, the symbolism is highly relevant. As reckless behavior on the part of our world leaders contributes further to pollution and climate change, nature's fury will bring further disasters in the days to come.

 

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