is the destroyer of the world, following Brahma
the creator and Vishnu the preserver,
after which Brahma again creates the world and so on. Shiva
is responsible for change both in the form of death and destruction
and in the positive sense of the shedding of old habits. In
Satyam, Shivam, Sundaram or Truth, Goodness and Beauty, Shiva
also represents the most essential goodness.
Shiva is the god of the yogis,
self-controlled and celibate, while at the same time a lover
of his spouse (shakti). Shiva's first wife was Sati and his
second wife was Parvati, also known as Uma, Gauri,
and Shakti. His sons are Ganesha
and Kartikeya. Shiva lives on Mount
Kailasa in the Himalayas.
Shiva's main attributes are the trident that represents the three
gunas and the
snakes that show he is beyond the power of death and poison
and also stand for the Kundalini energy.
The vehicle of Shiva is the white bull called Nandi (the joyful). He is often
seated on a tiger skin or wears a tiger skin, with the tiger representing the
Shiva has many forms, which are visible in his Panchavaktra form
with 5 heads, a combination of all Shiva energies : Aghora (resides in the creamation
grounds), Ishana (most often appears as the shivalingam), Tat Purusha (meditating),
Varna Deva (the eternal Shiva) and Saddyojat or Braddha Rudra (the old wrathful
form). The last also forms the connection to the Rudraksha mala
- a rosary made of the dried fruits of the Rudraksha tree.
Nataraj's dance represents both the destruction and the creation of the universe
and reveals the cycles of death, birth and rebirth. His Dance of Bliss is for
the welfare of the world. In the pose of Nataraj, the King of Dance is giving
darshan to his beloved devotees within the "Hall of Consciousness",
which is the heart of man. Under his feet, Shiva crushes the demon of ignorance
called Apasmara Purusha, caused by forgetfulness. One hand is stretched across
his chest and points towards the uplifted foot, indicating the release from earthly
bondage of the devotee. The fire represents the final destruction of creation,
but the dance of the Nataraj is also an act of creation, which arouses dormant
energies and scatters the ashes of the universe in a pattern that will be the
design of the ensuing creation.
Shiva is conceived in his unborn, invisible form as the Lingam.
It is always accompagnied by the Yoni, which is the female principle, surrounding
the base of the Lingam. The Lingam represents the male creative energy of Shiva.
When Ganga incarnated on Earth, Shiva captured her in his hair
to avoid that she would flood all of Earth (See the Life
Shiav worshippers are among India's most ascetic yogis, their
body smeared with ashes, dressed in saffron colors and wearing a Rudraksha mala.
12 Shiva Pictures of paintings