Lord Shiva known as the destroyer of the world is the omnipotent God and is the source of all power. Shiva is responsible for both death and destruction and also destroying all things evil in this universe. Shiva also symbolizes essential goodness. He is also said to be the angry god and when he opens his third eye for destruction no one can stop him. Depiction:
The most common depiction of Shiva is a dark-skinned ascetic with river Ganga cascading out of his matted hair with a serpent coiled around his neck. He carries a trishul (trident) on one hand and has ashes all around his body.
He is a symbol of victory over evil and is known as the “giver” god. He is carried around by his bull known as Nandi. He is often found seated on a tiger skin or wears a tiger skin, symbolizing his fierce power.
Shiva is known to love his wife profusely and therefore many young women worship during Shivratri to have a spouse like Lord Shiva. His first wife was Sati and his second wife was Parvati also known as Kali, Durga, Gauri, and Shakti. Kartikeya and Ganesha are his sons. He resides in Mount Kailash in the Himalayas.
There are various forms of Shiva which are found in his Panchavaktra form with 5 heads, a combination of all energies of Shiva. These are Aghora found in cremation grounds, Ishana appears as a shivalingam, Tat Purusha, the meditating form, Varna Deva, the eternal Shiva and Braddha Rudra or the wrathful form.
Shiva is usually worshiped as Shivlinga which is the most popular manifestation of Lord Shiva and is represented by phallus. The Shivlinga symbolises creation and cosmic energy. Shiva is considered to be the destroyer and according to Hinduism creation follows destruction. The linga represents the union of Shiva and Parvati resulting in creation of the universe. Shiv Purana:
The Shiv Purana is a collection of 18 books consisting of short stories and tales explaining the complex concepts of the Vedas. He is also known as Mahayogi or the great ascetic symbolizing the greatest form of penance and meditation culminating in salvation. Nataraj
Shiva’s Nataraj dance is very famous and it symbolizes both destruction and creation of the universe. It also talks about the cycles of death, birth and rebirth. It an act of creation giving rise to dormant energies and the ashes are scattered all over the universe to design the creation of the universe. Mrutunjaya:
Shiva is often worshiped by the ill and the aged to ward off death. Shiva is supposed to be the conqueror of Death as symbolized in the Hindu lord of death or Yama. Shiva in such a form is worshiped in temples Thirupainyeeli, near Trichinopoly, and at a shrine in Thirukadaiyur, near Chidambaram. Lord Shiva Mool Mantra Om Namah Shivaya The Maha Mrityunjaya Mantra
The following Maha Mrityunjay Mantra has been taken from the Sukla Yajurveda Samhita III. 60. The Mantra is addressed to Lord Shiva and is a centuries old technique of connecting one to pure consciousness and bliss.
Om Tryambhakam Yajamahe
Sugandhim Pushtivardhanam |
Mrityor Mukshiya Maamritat ||
Om. We worship The Three-Eyed Lord Shiva who is fragrant and who increasingly nourishes the devotees. Worshiping him may we be liberated from death for the sake of immortality just as the ripe cucumber easily separates itself from the binding stalk.