Question: What is the symbolism of Shiva’s blue throat?
Sadhguru: There is a story in the Yogic lore. There was an ongoing conflict between the gods and the demons. When repeated conflicts happened and many were being killed, they decided to bring forth the elixir of life or the amrutha, which was hidden in the oceans and share it among them so that both of them will become immortal and they can fight joyfully. War is a terrible business only because it causes much death. If death is handled, then war is quite a wonderful thing.
They got into a partnership and decided to churn the oceans. The legend goes on to say that they pulled out a certain peak called Meru and used a huge snake as a rope to churn it. Initially, when they started churning, instead of amrutha or the elixir of life, a deadly poison came out from the bottom of the ocean. This was known as halahal. This deadly poison came up in huge quantities. All the gods got scared, that if this much poison comes out, it will destroy the whole world. And there was no one who could do anything about this.
As usual, when no one is willing to doing anything about it, they thought Shiva would be the right guy. They asked Shiva to come and showed him the enormous amount of poison coming out. “If this spreads, it will destroy life. You must do something.” As usual, without any concern about his own well-being, he simply drank up the poison. His wife Parvati saw this and she went and held his throat, so it all stopped at his throat and his throat became all blue.
The Poison of Prejudice and Symbolism of Shiva’s Blue Throat
This is a very significant story. This is true with every human being. If you bore deep enough into every human being, there is only one thing, an ever expanding life. If they get identified with that, their mind and emotions would also function like that. But if you touch them on the surface, this is a woman, this is a man, this is an American, this is an Indian and so many things. This prejudice is poison. When they churned on the surface, the world’s poison comes out. Everyone ran away from the poison because no one wants to touch poison. Shiva drank up the world’s poisons and it stopped right there at his throat. If it had gone in, he would have been poisoned. But it stopped at his throat, so that he can spit it out anytime he wants. If it is in your throat, you can spit it out. If it enters your system, you cannot take it out. Right now, your nationhood, gender, family, genetic identities, racial identities, religion, have not stopped at your throat. They have gone into every cell in your body. The thing is to churn it up, so that it all comes up and you can spit it out and live here just as a piece of life.
This is the symbolism of Shiva having a blue throat. He stored the world’s poisons in his throat, ready to spit it out when it has to be taken out. If it went into his body, then there would be no way to take it out. The entire spiritual process in a way, is to churn so that all your prejudices come up and one day we can make you spit it out. If it is deep down, how to take it out? If I try to take out one of your prejudices, in your experience it feels like your life is being taken out. If I try to take away your identities with your gender, children, parents or nation, it feels like your life is being taken out. No, only the poison of prejudice is being taken out. So it is time to spit out the poison of prejudice.
Editor’s Note: Bewildered by all the different forms of Shiva? Click here to read all about the various forms of Shiva and what they symbolize.