Shiva is a Hindu deity and is considered as the Supreme Lord amongst all. He is believed to be the creator and the destroyer of the world. Shiva is said to have lived his life in Mount Kailash, a peak in the Himalayas. He is the husband of Parvati, and father of Ganesha and Kartikeya. Ganesha is the most celebrated of all deities in India and amongst Hindu and is easily recognizable because of the elephant head. He is worshiped extensively, as he is the Remover of Obstacles. Kartikeya, the elder son of Shiva, is a widely worshiped god amongst South of India and is the God of War.
Shiva is depicted usually in his meditation stance or in his Nataraja stance – as the God of Dance. He is said to have fierce anger, one that everyone is fearful of. In Hindu mythology, Shiva is said to be the Parmatam, or Supreme Soul. He is also related to as the originator and practitioner of Yoga.
The followers of Shiva are called as ‘Saivites’ and he is said to be the aspect of God Rudra. His third eye and blue throat make him recognizable easily, and he is always found with a snake round his neck – in almost all the images. He is also seen with a crescent moon bore on his head – it is shown more like an ornament and sometimes is said to symbolize time cycle. His chosen weapon is a Trishula, or a trident, and can often be found with it.
There are many known and unknown facts or beliefs about Shiva. Some of them are –
10. Ardhanarishvara (The Lord who is Half Woman)
Shiva is sometimes depicted as a composite of his own self with his female counterpart, who is remembered as Shakti, Uma, Parvati or Sati. It is the depiction of half male and half female, split down from the centre. The right half is usually the male counterpart and the left is depicted by his female version.
It represents the fusion of Purusha (masculine energy) and Prakriti (feminine energy) and illustrates the way how the female equivalent is inseparable from the male part. This union is said to be the root of all the creations.
The composite symbolizes the unity of opposites in the world. Male part is the passive force whereas the female part is the active force. It symbolizes that God is neither woman nor man, and on the other hand, God is both man and woman. It depicts that God is a father and a mother – gentle and hard, passive and active, destructive and constructive.
The left part of Shiva is depicted by female because the heart is in left. It is associated with intuition and love, creativity and gentleness. The right part depicts male, which is masculine and power, logic and brain.
9. Hanuman – Shiva’s avataar
Shri Anandi Ma. “O Hanuman, Son of the Wind, You are the destroyer of all difficulties. You are also the personification of auspiciousness. Along with Lord Ram, Lakshman and Sita, please come and forever reside in my heart.”
According to the Hanuman Chalisa, Hanuman is the eleventh reincarnation of the Lord. Also, Hanuman is often recalled as Rudraavataar, or the reincarnation of Rudra and Shiva is also known as the Rudra. The vanars or the ancestors of humans had helped Lord Rama (reincarnation of Lord Vishnu) in the mythology of Ramayana, without whose support, the Raavan could not have been destroyed. Hanuman is, by people, often worshipped for his devotion to Rama and his part in the “good over evil.” It is also depicted as the utter and infinite devotion of Lord Shiva to Lord Vishnu, as he reincarnated as a monkey and served him with all he had.
8. Pashupati - The Lord of Cattle
Shiva is said to be associated with deer, serpents and bulls.
Nandi is the name of the bull that is said to serve the Lord. He is the chosen vehicle of Shiva and bull represents Dharma. So Lord Shiva is also characterized as the Lord of Protector of Dharma.
He is often seen with serpent round his neck. It symbolizes infinity and wisdom.
He Is seen holding deer in his hand, which signifies that he has attained steadfastness in his flow of thoughts.
7. Neelkanta - The Blue Throat
Shiva is said to have a blue throat, envisioned as the consequence of drinking poison churned from the Samudra Manthan. The story is along the lines that to save the world (his family) from poison, Shiva entitled himself by drinking the same. Parvati, his wife, strangled his neck and managed to stop it in his neck itself. As the effect of the same as the poison was too potent, the throat of the Lord turned blue.
Mahashivratri is celebrated in occasion of in the reverence of the same.
6. Tryambaka Deva - The Third Eye
Shiva is said to have burnt Kama, the God of Desire, with his third eye. This third eye of Shiva is said to give him speculation and perception beyond ordinary eyes. It refers to the door which leads to inner realms of advanced consciousness. It is often taken as the state of enlightenment, and the ability to see auras and other things non-visible to normal eye. Tryambaka Deva literally means ‘Three eyed Lord’.
The Third Eye of Shiva also depicts his anger. It is said that if it is open, the Lord is supremely angry. Often people are found believing the same.
5. Nataraja - The Iconic Dancer
Shiva is known as the Hindu lord of Dance. The word Nataraja is made up of two words – Nata means dance and Raja means the King. The image of Shiva is, very frequently, of his pose in the Nataraja position. In the image, Shiva is holding an hourglass in his upper left hand, which represents creation – the heart of every life. It also symbolizes music, as it is in the shape of a drum. Sometimes, it has been perceived as two triangles – two genders of the society – that are essential for the life to exist, which, in other words mean that when they part, the universe dissolve. He is the creator, and destroyer of the world.
4. Mahesha (Great Lord) - The Destroyer of Life
Along with being the Creator, Shiva is said to be the Destroyer, too. He is said to balance two counter-pieces of life, creation and destruction. He is the ‘Mahadeva’, the God of Gods. According to Hindu mythology, the world will be destroyed by fire – the element which has been depicted in the Nataraja too. He is depicted holding the tongue of flame in his upper right hand, which portrays destruction.
3. Sambhu (Benignant) - The Protector of Life
Shiva, the Lord of the Lords, is the Protector of all. He is said to be above everyone, and he is said to be caring of everyone. In his Nataraja stature, he has his second hand’s palm open – in the ‘Abhaya’ position, which literally means ‘Without Fear’.
2. Samkara (Beneficent) - The Creator of Life
Shiva is claimed to be the creator of the world. Even in his Nataraja pose, he is depicted with an hourglass, which can be professed as creation. According to Sanskrit, Shiva literally means ‘The Auspicious one’.
1. Shiva – The Father of Ganesha
Shiva is the father of Lord Ganesha.
Ganesha is one of the most worshiped gods of Hindus. Every single Hindu – or Indian – has heard of Ganesha and most have worshiped him and prayed to him at one of point in his life. Ganesha is the son of the Mahadev, and the Lord is said to have cut his head in anger and replaced it later with an elephant’s head. Ganesha is also referred to as The Remover of Obstacles and the Lord of Success.