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Shiva – Shava – Shakti Concept In Hinduism

There is a famous representation of Shiva – Shava – Shakti: as a dead body (Shava), from which rises a waking body (Shiva), on which dances a vigorous body (Shakti). When Shiva is in contact with Shakti, Shiva awakes; without this contact, Shiva is shava, a corpse. The message is that Shiva, the absolute ground of Being, has two aspects: the shava aspect, withdrawn from the world, transcending all activity, all description, without name or form, infinite; and the shakti aspect, the full activity of the world, expressed, manifested, engaged, full of names and forms of all descriptions, finite but constantly changing, growing, evolving novelties.

The important point to grasp is that both aspects, the Ground as transcending all form and the Ground as expressive in all form, are real and possessed of immeasurable value. Indeed, they are two aspects of one Being. This is the ‘nondual’ truth. The various forms of which the world is composed are dependent on the transcendent formless Ground; while the latter is not dependent on anything. It is necessary Being, absolute Being — not relative to anything else, having no opposite, no environment, no comparison. Nevertheless, the world-forms, each contingent upon the Ground, are themselves nothing but the actual Ground itself in the act of ‘expressing’.