The Perfect Family!

“We see small lifestyle differences are bringing big problems in families and societies today. I also face a lot of family-related issues. Udayji, you said family members should NEVER adjust but should accommodate each other. Can you show an example from any Hindu scriptures about acceptance and accommodating each other?” Bhuvana Hegde from Pune

“I would say the greatest family in the world is Shiva Parivar. Mahadev’s family portrait completes the picture and sets the highest example of how your family life should be.”

“But you said the concept Shiva is the scientific explanation of the cosmic energy transformation process..” (See my book: The God Illusion)

“Yes, but a large section of Hindus ( including me) also believe that Shiva is a God. Here I am telling about the God Shiva, not the Brahmam (cosmos).”

  • We Hindus worship Shiva and his family (Shiva Parivar). The family concept of Hindus always included the animals, birds, and other creatures around them. The family life of Shiva is best depicted symbolizing prosperity, harmony, and an ever-happy family. It also is the best example of unity in diversity. The environmental, social, and governance (ESG) that includes gender equality are well explained in it.

“Can you explain Udayji?” Bhuvana asked.

“Who are the family members of Shiva?”

“His wife Parvati and two sons – Kartikeya (Muruga) and Ganesh (the elephant-headed Ganapati)….”

“He also has a daughter Ashok Sundari. And all their respective mounts (Vahana) are also considered family members.”

  • The mounts include bull (Nandi) mount of Shiva, lion/tiger (a hybrid of lion and tiger named Ghatokbahini Singha or Dawon) mount of Parvati, Indian peacock (Paravani) mount of Karthikeya, mouse mount (Musika) of Ganesh, tiger/bull mount of Ashok Sundari and Serpent/snake (Vasuki ) on Shiva’s neck.
  • As you can see the Vahana family members are by nature antagonistic to each other, but collectively, they lead an accommodative life. In spite of being of divergent nature, they live in harmony. A family to emulate!

“How are they divergent?”

  • They are all-natural enemies, otherwise. The lion or tiger is living in peace with the elephant, the form of Ganesha, and the bull. Bull and lion are enemies but still living harmoniously. Tiger is also the enemy of an elephant! As a family member, the peacock is bearing no enmity towards the snake, the garland of Shiva. The Peacock eats snakes, still, they both live happily together. We know a snake preys on the mouse and a peacock preys on a snake. And normally snake eats rats- still, they both live happily together in the Shiva family.
  • It shows us how people from different backgrounds can stay in one place with peace and harmony. It also shows a person has multiple qualities. On Shiva’s head flows Ganga (Water) and the same Shiva has a third eye (Fire) which can burn anything. Still, they exist together eternally.

Shiva is known as the God of destruction on the other hand Parvati is extremely calm. Shiva’s sons had a little bit of sibling rivalry.
Ancient Hindus considered a female child as most important – a daughter would bring peace and happiness to the family. “Ashoka” means easing sorrow(Shoka) while “Sundari” means “beautiful girl”. Ashoka Sundari (Tripura Sundari) was most beloved to Shiva so he presented her with a bull as her mount, a snake as a garland around her neck.

“Like father like daughter. No other love in the world is like the love a father has for his little girl,” Bhuvana commented.

Shiva is the symbol of ultimate masculinity, yet he also exists in his ‘Ardhanarishvar’ form, one-half man and another a woman. Such acceptance of the feminine energy that exists within everyone, without any embarrassment is also a great lesson for every human being.

Thus the Shiva Parivar live in harmony, accommodating each other. We should learn from the Shiva family to coexist without interference, live harmoniously in peace, happiness, and prosperity.

“You’re right Udayji, Shiva’s family is the perfect example that shows how people having different mindsets and different thinking, but still stay together as one family.

All these creatures are natural enemies, but they live in peace and harmony in this family. So also in all families, there will be so many opposites, likes, and dislikes, and yet it will benefit all if every member lives in tranquility with others. This is the message represented.

If we yearn to achieve great things in life, we have to learn how to go well with people who may be very different from us. This requires them to be accepting of those whom they might not like. Even if you disagree with the opinions or lifestyles of others, it is better to accept that for peace and harmony in family and society. That’s what Sanatana Dharma is all about.

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