The Tapasvin practises celibacy, refuses to have se with woman and father children. Thus he destroys his family tree voluntary. No other living creature can do this. Plants are bound by nature to bear fruit and seed. Animals are bound by nature to mate. Humans are the only creatures for whom reproduction is a choice. The male gender of Lakulesh is thus indicative of choice. Shiva strings the seeds of rudraksha around his neck, instead of sowing them under the ground. Thus he prevents germination. Chain of rudraksha beads represents celibacy.
In Tantric physiology it is said that men have white seed (sperms in semen) and woman have red seeds (ovum in menstrual blood) The two seeds fuse to create child. The followers of Shiva believed, that so long as the flow of seed is downward, living creatures will remain mortal.
Plants and animals can not control their urge to spill their seed. Women have no control over their red seed. Their menstrual cycle is fettered to nature’s rhythms like the waxing and waning of the moon and the movement of the tides. Only the human male has a power to control the movement of his white seed. It can flow downwards in pleasure or to procreate – this results in mortality. It can be made flow upwards with yoga. This generates wisdom, ignites the spiritual fire of Tapa and results in immortality. This upward movement of semen is described in Tantra as Urdhvaretas.
Revers movement of the semen is also metaphor for reversal of the senses so that they attention less to the material reality outside and more to the spiritual reality inside. This reverse movement is also known as the northern movement, towards the Pole Star, in contrast to the southern movement, out of the body, which results in children, family and social responsibilities. It is depicted in art as an erect phallus in a Tapasvin whose eyes are shut.
Shiva’s holy city, Kashi, is located at a bend in the river Ganga where it turns and moves northwards instead of southwards. This reverse flow of the river is a reminder of what the human mind can do. Only human mind, blessed with imagination, can challenge the laws of nature, withdraw from it and even break free from it. This is moksha, or liberation.
Inspired by Dr.Devdutt Pattanaik – A Decoding of Hindu Mythology; 7 Secret of Shiva & other sources.
Photo: Zuzana Zwiebel – Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, India – Rudraksha Beads
ART OF TRAVEL: www.shaktitrails.com