Lord Shiva’s throat turned blue

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One of the many names that Shiva, the Adiyogi, is known by is Neelakantha, or the one with the blue throat. Sadhguru explains the symbolism behind Shiva’s blue throat through a story from Yogic lore.

The Story of Shiva’s Blue Throat

In the Yogic lore, there was an ongoing conflict between the gods and the demons. To end the cycle of death and destruction, they decided to bring forth the elixir of life, or amrutha, hidden in the ocean, and share it so both parties would become immortal and fight joyfully, without the fear of death.

They partnered to churn the ocean using Mount Meru and a huge snake as a rope. However, instead of amrutha, a deadly poison called halahal emerged from the ocean. The gods feared that this poison would destroy the world. Unable to handle the situation, they turned to Shiva for help. Without concern for his own well-being, Shiva drank the poison. His wife, Parvati, saw this and held his throat, stopping the poison there and turning his throat blue.

The Symbolism of Shiva’s Blue Throat

This story holds significant meaning. At the core of every human being is an ever-expanding life force. If one identifies with this core, their mind and emotions will also expand. However, at the surface level, people identify with superficial labels such as gender, nationality, and religion. These prejudices are like poison.

When the gods and demons churned the ocean, the poison that emerged symbolizes these surface-level prejudices. Everyone ran from the poison, but Shiva, embodying the ultimate yogi, consumed it and stored it in his throat, ready to be expelled when necessary. Had the poison entered his system, it would have been fatal.

In our lives, our prejudices—such as national, gender, familial, racial, and religious identities—are like poison that has permeated every cell of our bodies. The spiritual process involves churning these prejudices to bring them to the surface, so they can be expelled and we can live as pure life forms.

The symbolism of Shiva’s blue throat teaches us the importance of recognizing and expelling our prejudices. When prejudices are deep within us, removing them feels like removing a part of our life. However, the process aims to eliminate only the poison, not our life essence. By understanding this, we can strive to live without prejudice, just as Shiva holds the poison at his throat, ready to spit it out when necessary.


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