Shiva appears in a meditating but ever-happy posture. He
has matted hair which holds the flowing Ganges river and a
crescent moon, a serpent coiled around his neck, a trident
(Trishul) in his one hand and ashes all over his body.
The Lord's attributes represent his victory over the
demonic activity, and calmness of human nature. He is
known as the "giver" god. His vehicle is a bull (symbol of
happiness and strength) named Nandi.
Shiva-Linga, a sign of the Lord, is adored instead of him.
Shiva temples have Shiva-Linga as the main deity.
Lord Shiva - The Dancer Who Recreates
gave him birth, He knows no Lord. None rules Him in the
world, nor yet controls. No features mark Him out, yet
cause He is. Prime cause of that which steers, the senses
five, the soul within.” Shvetashvattara Upanishad.
the beginning of this millennium, it is said there was a
revival of Saivism and the power of Shiva. By then the
idea of Shiva had built into the vedic texts too. He is
identified with Rudra in the Rig Veda. Various texts give
different versions of his creation and each one they say
is symbolic of his many facets. He, Shiva, is the one who
has conquered time, for He destroys and re-creates. He,
Shiva, is white in colour for white stands for justice in
acts of annihilation. He, Shiva, is the one who has
conquered death and historically his resurgence from the
Pre-Aryan period to the present day obsession is one way
of looking at it.
story says the Lord of all beings was a householder and of
his wife Usha was born a child. The child kept crying so
the father questioned him as to why he cried. He said he
cried for the want of a name. The father was quick to name
him if that could bring some quiet and he was called Rudra,
from the rot word rud which means, to cry.
Linga Purana has yet another version to relate. According
to this story, Brahma, the creator had five mind-born
sons. Many fathers may be able to sympathize with Brahma,
for the father of creation too was dissatisfied with his
sons. None of them showed any promise, the typical
progenitor felt. He contemplated on Siva for solution.
Siva himself appeared and told him He was his son. Siva
then assumed the ardhanareeswara form.
ardhanareeswara is yet another concept that Shiva
stands for. In this aspect he draws the feminine into his
own self. He is half man, half woman. A symbol of the
Samkhya philosophy which talks of Purusha (the male
energy) and Prakriti (the female energy) together making
the cosmic energy.
Ardhanareeswara, Shiva destroys the old, for in
destruction there is renewal, it cleanses and constructs
anew. In this new construction, he is the Father of
Brahma. And the cycle of time, the process of recreation
begin all over again.
successive kalpas, or age, Shiva donned five roles.
The five-form concept later took shape as the
Panchamukha Shiva or Five faced Shiva with each face
given a direction – the dimension of space had thus been
added to the dimension of time. As Sadyojata he faced
East, as tatpurusha he faced north, as Aghora he faced
west and as Ishana he faced south. As Sadesiva (Eternal
Shiva) he was looked above; symbolic of him being above
all space. In the Linga Purana, Vishnu described
Sabasiva as a pillar where the Ishana was the crown,
Tatpurusha, the face, Aghora the heart and Vamadeva his
sex organ and Sadyojata as his feet. The metaphor had been
gathered into a manageable symbol and while many other
stories exist for the worship of the phallic symbol of
Shiva, this was the beginning.
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