All About Lord Shiva
About Shiva | Shiva Appearance | Shiva Lingam | Shiva Parivaar | Shiva Avtars | Shiva Maha Purana
Shivaratri | Rudraksha | Jyotirlingas | 108 Names of Shiva | Lord Shiva in Nature | Fasting for Lord Shiva
Shiva (शिव) is lord of the lords and it is really not easy to write/explain everything about shiva. However many have tried to explain him and praised him as per their knowledge but the explanation is endless and it is un-imaginable from a human being even devas, asuras and other rishi munis have very little words to explain about the lord almighty.
Shiva means the supreme one, the auspicious one, the pure one and for me the beloved one. Shiva is named as Pashupati which means the Lord of all living beings either it is humans, devas, asuras or any creatures. Another name Mahadeva depicts the great God, supreme in all devas(Gods).
The God staying in a state blissful, enjoying in Its Own Self eternally, without any flaws is the Supreme Lord shiva. The Perfection is the completeness - there is nothing external that is required to make the Self blissful.
Lord Shiva is reckoned among the Tridevas (trimity). Brahma is the creator, Lord Vishnu is the preserver and Lord Shiva is the destroyer. Shiva is the lord of Shakti also.
Lord shiva is absolute which does not have any parents which never takes birth Which is all alone without association with any of the creatures or creations enjoying in the Self. God is the only one who is dependable for anybody / anything to surrender to as It is the only perennial Being. Hence God is the Lord of all creatures (lives/souls). For this reason the Lord is hailed as pashupati (Lord of living beings). Whether it is devas or asuras or humans or other creatures all are pashus. That being the case how could the Lord be partial to one section of pashus and withdrawing the Grace for the other ? So anybody who worships the Lord sincerely could get blessed with Its Grace irrespective of the caste, creed, race, power, status and qualities.
It is in fact to be noted that Lord shiva is worshipped by the devas like viShNu, braHma, indra, by asuras like bANa, rAvaNa, tripura, sUrapadma, by humans like sha~Nkara bhagavatpAda, samban^dhar, appar, by other creatures like jaTAyu, sampAdi (eagles), vAli (monkey) and the list goes on and on. One finds in the purANas the variety of people of different backgrounds and qualities worship the Lord shiva. There are many histories of temples which talk of the cranes, bees, elephants, spiders, snakes worshipping the Lord and getting blessed. So the Lord as the Supreme blesses anyone who worships in sincere devotion. There is no discrimination on who the seeker is. The Lord is so merciful that He showers the boons one look for when there is a determination to seek Him. It is evident from the history of asura bANa who attained a great fame of his valor and got the place in the abode of Lord shiva all due to his determined worship of the Lord.
Lord shiva is the God of all. Like the mother He showers the grace for all the children, but the misusing children get punished. This Supreme Lord better than a mother does not withhold the grace, He is our beloved pashupati.
The God would not be biased. It would not differentiate between one group versus the other, whether it be divines or daemons or humans or plats or creatures or on sex or on race etc. All that matters is dharma and the pure devotion towards It. No doubt this lovely Lord shiva is worshipped alike by divines, daemons, scholars, not much learnt simple, and the other creatures.
Shiva is usually worshipped as the Shiva lingam.
Shiva with Parvati. Shiva is depicted three-eyed, with crescent moon on his head, the Ganga flowing through his matted hair, wearing ornaments of serpents and a skull necklace, covered in ashes and Trisula and Damaru are seen in the background.
VAMANGE CHAVIBHATI BHUDHARASUTADEVAYAGAMASTAKE |
BHALE BALA VIDHURGALE CHA GARALAM YASYORASIVYALARATA||
SOAYAMAM BHUTI VIBHUSHANAH SURA
SHARVAH SAVAGATAH SHIVAM SHASHINIMAH
SHRI SHANKARH SHATUMAM ||
Meaning : That Lord Shiva who has on his left side Mother Parvati, who has Ganges and moon on his forehead, who has poison in the throat and cobras on the chest, such an omnipresent greater than the gods, Lord Shiva may protect me.
Now, let us consider this scriptural form of Lord Shiva, with scientific view and see what does God want to preach the common people.
WHY JAGDAMBA PARVATI IS PRESENT ON THE LEFT SIDE OF SHIVA
Jagdamba Parvati is the form of power. Lord Shiva always keeps her on to his left side, because, he himself remains in a state of Tapasya (meditation). People and scriptures too, assume that the left part of the males is inauspicious and trouble-causing. Where as Parvati is the form of power and thus always auspicious. Hence, in order to destroy all the inauspiciousness and obstacles, Lord Shiva keeps Parvati on his left side. Besides, Lord Shiva is himself a form of inauspiciousness as :
AMANGALYAM SHEELAM TAVABHAVATU NAMAIVAMAKHILAM |
TATHAPI SMARTRINAMA VARADA PARAMAM MANGAMASI ||
Meaning : It is famous in the whole world that Lord Shiva is inauspicious, but a giver of all kinds of auspiciousness. Nevertheless, He is the giver of all kinds of auspiciousness for those who remember him. This virtue is because of Parvatis presence with him.
Thus acting on the principle :
NARYASTU YATRA PUJYANTE RAMANTE TATRA DEVATAH
That is where the womanfolk is worshipped, the gods stays there, Lord Shiva preaches the same to his devotees, that if they respecta woman, all the inauspiciousness all the hurdles, would be removed automatically.
WHY MOTHER GANGA ON THE HEAD
The Ganges, the most sacred river in India, shows coolness, holiness and serenity. Lord Shiva holds her on his head, thus preaching the devotees that if they bear coolness, holiness and serenity in their head i.e. if they give up anger, envy and disturbance that haunts their mind they will achieve all kinds of perfections and successes.
WHY THE NEW MOON ON THE FOREHEAD (चन्द्रशेखर)
The moon is shinning but cool celestial body. Lord Shiva wears it on his forehead, thus preaching for peaceful mind and forsightedness. If decision is taken with cool peaceful mind and far sightedness, all the tasks will be completed successfully and an increment occurs in one's honour.
MEANING OF POISON IN THE THROAT (नीलकण्ठ)
When the Gods and Demons unitedly churned the sea, it was the poison that came out first. Seeing the lethal poison, both the gods and the demons got nervous and reached to Lord Shiva and prayed him to hold it. Lord Ashutosh (Shiva) agreed to their prayers and swallowed the deadly poison. That poison, however, did not reach God's stomach, instead it stuck in the throat turning it blue.
Thus, holding the poison in the neck, Lord Shiva preaches that one should not contain poison in his belly for the other. It also means that one should not even wish ill for the others, leave apart doing. Speaking harsh words is however other thing, but one should not cultivate the feelings of envy and enemity for the others.
WHY IS THE SNAKE ON THE CHEST?
It is very strange that people are usually scared of snakes because these are poisonous creatures. In scriptures and in practical life, snake is given a name Kaala i.e. the death. But Lord Shiva bears snakes on his chest. Thus he preaches the people that if they do not engage their mind and intellect in the worship of God, death is always facing them. If you keep your mind and intellect busy in prayers and worship, even death can do no harm to you. Instead it would become a means to adorn you.
The reason of having a snake around his chest is that, VISHASYAA VISHAMAUSHDHAMA, i.e. the best antidote for poison is poison itself. Hence to cancel the effect of the poison Lord Shiva has worn poisonous snakes around his shoulders.
WHY IS THE OX THE VEHICLE OF LORD SHIVA?
Scriptures assume the ox as an incarnation of Dharmraj as is mentioned in Parikshita Kaliyugaprasanga that Kaliyuga is killing the Dharma which is in oxen form.Sage Manu also writes :
VRISHO HIBHAGAWANA DHARMASTASYAYAHKURUT ALUM |
VRISHANAM TAM VIDURDE VASTASMADDHAMA NA LOPAYETA ||
Meaning: An Ox is a different incarnation of the Dharma god, whoever kills it must be taken as a sinner. Hence, one must not cause the disappearance of Dharma. Riding the Ox, Lord Shiva preaches the people that -
DHARMO RAKSHATI RAKSHITAH
Meaning: The protected religion protects the follower. Hence, follow the religious path, no shield is better than it.
Shiva is often depicted with a third eye with which he burned Desire (Kāma) to ashes. There has been controversy regarding the original meaning of Shiva's name Tryambakam (Sanskrit: त्र्यम्बकम्), which occurs in many scriptural sources. In classical Sanskrit the word ambaka denotes "an eye", and in the Mahabharata Shiva is depicted as three-eyed, so this name is sometimes translated as "Having Three Eyes".