‘Neel Kantha’, or the blue-throated one, as we know, is one of the many names of Shiva. How He got His blue throat makes an uplifting story.
The Churning of the Ocean was brought about after much wrangling amongst devas, daityas and even insensate elements. Then arose a bigger question. Who was to deal with the deadly poison that was first to come out of the churning? So lethal was it that the whole world began to simmer and smoulder in its intense heat. The devas shrank from it and the daityas too would have none of it. Vishnu stood aside, smiling His inscrutable smile. The four-faced Brahma looked about nonplussed.
Suman K Sharma
Eventually, it was Shiva who came forward to consume the poison. Scooping out the blue-grey froth, the Mahadeva poured it down His throat. While doing so, He made sure that the fatal poison remained stuck there and not reach His heart. Poisoning the eternal do-gooder’s heart would have brought the world to an end. It was thus that Shiva became Neel Kantha.
Churning, or a revolution, is a turning point in any set up. It is intended to bring out a desired result, such as butter from sour milk, amrit from the ocean as did the davas and daityas, or a better deal in life for the citizenry of a country, the kind the revolutionaries sought in the 18th century France. But, for the longed-for outcome to happen, the prevailing conditions have to be shaken to the root, so much so that there was no turning back. Such disruption generates intense hatred and violence – the vicious poison – which, if left untreated, is potent enough to annihilate an entire nation, regardless of the individual affiliations.
It is in these dire situations that a leader or a reformer takes upon himself to rid the society of the menace and pave the way for the salutary effects of the upheaval to emerge. Jesus Christ willingly bore the Cross to absolve the mankind of sin; Guru TeghBahadur never demurred to give away his head for the Hindu cause and not too long ago, ShaheedBhagat Singh went smilingly to the gallows to give a fillip to the movement of independence of the Indian sub-continent.
In the individual lives as well, there arise occasions when we feel bound to churn out ourselves to get the best out of life. It is not as easy as said. More often than not, a thorough, no-holds barred self-examination may generate loathing for the self, as our ugliest secrets emerge before our eyes from the darkest dungeons of our psyche. It is then that each of us has to rise to the occasion and whole-heartedly accept our little and big wrong-doings, the meanest acts to which we have stooped and the forbidden urges we have striven to satisfy. Only by sincere acceptance of our weaknesses are we able to surmount them and live life in its entirety. Only by being our own Neel Kantha can we get rid of the poison in us.