Lord Shiva and His Boons

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Indian ancient literature is full of stories where mortals meditate with great perseverance for different gods to get boons. Lord Shiva is ranked the highest among the deities of the Hindu pantheon equaling only to Vishnu and Brahmaa. In fact, three of these gods, Brahmaa, Vishnu and Shiva, form the Trinity in Indian puraanic literature, who signify creation, evolution and transformation of the known worlds.

In fact, people adore the lord Shiva as Bhola Shankar (may roughly be translated as ‘credulous Shiva’) as he is known to get happy with people who establish their dedication through long periods of meditation and self sacrifices. He does not verify the intention of the persons before giving away boons.

The boons are capabilities or tools which provide the owner certain advantages over the remaining population who do not have access to those. Of our history through last many centuries, we refer to such tools and capabilities to define eras to rather continuous human civilization: Stone Age, Bronze Age and Iron Age. And we define the change with invention of new tools and capabilities: First industrial revolution with invention of the steam engine, second industrial revolution with the advent of machine assembly lines, third industrial revolution with use of computer for managing industrial activities, and finally, fourth industrial revolution for automating the industrial activities without or with least human interventions. We also say that ‘nuclear age’ started after the USA dropped nuclear bombs in Japan during the last phase of the World War II; and this period is defined by the opportunities and threats due to the availability of such tools and capabilities in the hand of ruling establishments in different countries across the world.

Another feature that we come across is that the tools and capabilities are available to those who have dedication and who persevere; and this access does not verify the intention of these successful individuals, groups or countries regarding how to use these tools and capabilities. Intention is not guaranteed like the Asuras who earn boons by making the lord Shiva happy.

World over and through ages, it is quite a truth about human beings. The tools and capabilities never moderate our intention for their exploitation towards good or evil usage. Rather, our intention or character determines how we use new technologies – for whom and against whom. And, it is also incidental, like Bhashmaasura, who killed himself by applying the boon (of burning to ashes) to himself without knowing what he was going to do.

The example is relevant to all of us – in any society or geography. Using technologies and tools built though exceptional innovative efforts may not result any good if not handled correctly or not managed by people of right character.

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