Of the many names that Shiva is referred to, ‘Soma’ is one of the important names. Soma literally means intoxication. If there is no intoxication, you will never be mad enough to jump into the ultimate void, which is only liberation. So, Soma or Somasundara is one of the prominent names of Shiva – always inebriated but fully alert.
So the story goes like this: Shiva was sitting near Kailash, in a completely inebriated state. The news spread all over India that there is a man sitting, so magnificent a man, that slowly year after year, year after year, people started making the pilgrimage. There was a girl who was a princess in the Himalayan kingdom, her name was Parvati and when she heard this, she said “I want to go and see him.” The moment she set her eyes upon him, she just so completely overwhelmed by him, she said, “If I marry, I marry only this man.” Then somebody else played a conspiracy and he decided to get married.
A big wedding was organized, and anybody who is anybody is there. The bride is all decked up, everybody’s waiting for the groom to come. And the groom came, Shiva walked in ash-smeared, dreadlocked, fully inebriated and all his friends, these goblins and demented beings, making all kinds of noises. Parvati’s mother Meena saw this man and his friends, and when she thought that her daughter is going to marry this man, she just fainted and fell. Then they revived her and she was a completely heartbroken, “How can I give my daughter to this man, he’s wild, he’s completely uncivilized. He’s not even a man, he’s something else.”
So Parvati went and begged Shiva, “For me, whichever way you are – for some reason you put on a hideous form and come, this is also okay with me but for my mother’s sake just show a better form.” Then he said, “Okay” and then he turned into a very graceful and beautiful form, which was referred to as ‘Somasundara’, drunk but beautiful – completely inebriated, eyeballs up, but he became utterly beautiful. Then Meena revived and looked and looked at this magnificent man standing there and she said, “I would like to give my daughter to this man, not to that one” .
So, inebriation, intoxication is an essential quality of meditativeness. If that’s not there, if you are not drunk, how can you just sit? It’ll be the most torturous thing, simply sitting there like this, trying to concentrate on something. So that’s his essential quality. So he carried the moon – that’s a symbolism that he is always drunk, upon himself, no substances.
So when we said, “Shiva constantly drank somarasa,” he was not an alcoholic, he just imbibed the moonbeams, which he carried always in his hair and constantly drunk. This blissful state is not a goal by itself. This blissful states eliminate the fear of suffering. Only when the fear of suffering is gone, only when this idea, “What will happen to me?” is completely eliminated from you, you would dare to explore life, otherwise you only want to protect it.
Whether a career or a business, it’s all about security. Marriage is about security. Everything is about security. As long as the fear of suffering is constantly playing its role, now you will not dare to really go into deeper dimensions of life. Only if you are drunk like this but fully alert, now there is no fear of suffering, you are willing to go anywhere.