Osho explains a story from Hindu mythology about Shiva drinking poison.
Hindu mythology has a beautiful story. It is a myth, but the story is beautiful, and particularly for explaining to you the fifth center. Indian mythology says that there is a constant struggle between evil forces and good forces. They both discovered that if they made a certain search in the ocean they could find nectar, and that whoever drank it would become immortal. So they all tried to find it.
But as life balances everywhere, there too…. Before they found the nectar they found poison which was hiding the nectar underneath it. Nobody was ready to test it; even the very sight of it created sickness. One of them thought that the first hippie of the world, perhaps might be willing – he was the god Shiva. So they asked Shiva, “You test it.” He said, “Okay.”
He not only tested it, he drank it all, and it was pure poison. He kept it just in his neck, at the fifth center. The fifth center is the creative center. It became completely poisoned, and Shiva became the god of destruction. So Hindus have three gods: Brahma who creates the world, Vishnu who sustains the world, and Shiva who destroys the world. His destructiveness came from his creative center being poisoned. And the poison was so great that it cannot be a small destruction; he can only destroy the whole of existence.
When Vishnu is tired of maintaining it, Shiva destroys it. By that time Brahma has forgotten – millions of years have passed since he created the world; he again starts creating it – just an old routine! Brahma is the creator god, but in the whole of India there is only one temple devoted to Brahma, because who cares about him? He has done his work; it is futile to say anything to him. Vishnu has millions of temples, because he is the sustainer god. Krishna and Rama are all incarnations of Vishnu.
But nobody can compete with Shiva. Shiva has more shrines to him than anybody else. He is a hippie, so he does not need very great temples or anything – just anywhere, under any tree. Just put a round stone, oval shape, and he does not ask much – a few leaves, not even flowers. A few leaves you can drop there, a few drops of water on his head, just to keep him cool… so people have created devices; they just hang a small pot on top of his head with a small drip, drip, drip. It keeps him cool, so he does not get annoyed with anybody and destroy the world.
Everybody is afraid of him, so naturally he has many more worshipers, many more temples, and many more shrines. In every small village you will find at least a dozen Shiva shrines, because they cost nothing; any poor man can afford it. And he has to be concerned about it because Shiva can destroy. Keep him satisfied! And he does not ask much; just keep his head cool. Flowers are costly, but any two leaves and his worship is finished.
Shiva became the destroyer of the world because his fifth center had accumulated the whole poison of existence in it. It is our creative center, that’s why lovers have a certain tendency to creativity. When you fall in love, you suddenly feel like creating something – it is very close. If you are guided rightly, your love can become your great creative act. It can make you a poet, it can make you a painter, it can make you a dancer, it can make you reach to the stars in any dimension.
Osho, The Golden Future, Ch 3, Q 3 (excerpt)