Now here’s a religious ritual I think at least a few of us can really get behind: tonight is Maha Shiva ratri, the yearly Hindu festival celebrating Lord Shiva. Long time Loyal Readers™ will recall that we have long been partial to Vishnu, but as it turns out Vishnu’s got some, *ahem*, stiff competition: Lord Shiva is represented in the form of a penis.
According to Hindu legend, the god Shiva’s peen was cursed by some sages (?!) whereupon it fell to the earth, and — get this — it was so hawt that everything in front of it would become instantly engulfed in flames! So Lord Shiva’s wife, the goddess Parvati, transformed herself into a vagina (a “yoni”) and she calmed that flamethrowin’ bad boy right down by holding it inside her. (Way to take one for the team, Parvati!) Tonight’s Maha Shiva ratri is the ritual commemoration of this blessed event:
The phallus symbol representing Shiva is called the lingam. It is usually made of granite, soapstone, quartz, marble or metal, and has a ‘yoni’ or vagina as its base representing the union of organs.
Devotees of Lord Shiva circle around the lingam and worship it all night.
That’s right: all night.
It is bathed every three hours with the 5 sacred offerings of a cow, called the ‘panchagavya’ – milk, sour milk, cow dung, cow urine, butter.
You know, I think we can skip that step.
Then the 5 foods of immortality – milk, clarified butter, curd, honey and sugar are placed before the lingam.
Okay, we can definitely work with this. Perhaps the vegans can substitute olive oil?
All through the day the devotees keep severe fast, chant the sacred Panchakshara mantra “Om Namah Shivaya”, make offerings of flowers and incense to the Lord amidst ringing of temple bells.
We are going to have to make a few minor modifications to the traditional ceremony. First, no fasting. I’ve already had breakfast, so that’s a non-starter. Second, instead of chanting “Om Namah Shivaya” we will be substituting the mantra “Oh god, oh god, oh god.” Frankly we would be chanting this anyway, only from now on please note that we will be referring specifically to Lord Shiva when we do. Third, flowers are fine but I detest incense, so scented beeswax candles will have to suffice. And for chrissakes who can concentrate with all those infernal bells ringing? I’ll be spinning Vanessa Daou’s Zipless.
Praise the Lord.
[h/t Taslima Nasreen]