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The most powerful god of the Hindu pantheon, Shiva is known as the destroyer. Read on to know more about Lord Shiva.


Shiva



Unique Attributes : Strength, destruction, rage, soft-hearted,calmness
Other Names : Shankar, Bhole Nath, Shambhu Nath, Neelkanth, Mahesh, Natraj, Pashupati, Rudra, Gangadhar
Primary Scriptures : Shiva Mahapurana
Consort : Sati and Parvati
Abode : Mount Kailash
Vahan (Vehicle) : Nandi Bull
Mula Mantra : Om Namah Shivaye

Constituting the trinity of Hindu Gods, Shiva performs the function of the destroyer so that new life is created once again. Shaivism is one of the most popular Hindu cults with millions of devotees following this sect. Through penance and ascetic practice the followers of Shiva try and observe the principals of Shiva. Lord Shiva is actually a god of contradictions by being a destroyer as well as a restorer, an ascetic as well as a householder. The ultimate truth and virtues inherent in Lord Shiva is Satyam Shivam Sundaram - truth, goodness and beauty.

The dissolving force in life, Shiva stands out as the most different of Hindu gods. Unlike other Hindu gods, Shiva wears a snake around his neck has unkempt maze like hair, is devoid of any jewels, wears just a loincloth and resides in the cold Mount Kailash. Lord Shiva in fact is the principal god of the ascetics and hence resembles them a lot. Lord Shiva's unclad body covered with ashes reflects the transcendental aspect of his life. The snake coiled around Lord shiva's neck is in fact a reflection of his role as a destroyer. With 'pralay' Lord Siva destroys the old world to prepare it for a new cycle. Likewise a snake removes its old skin to wear a new skin to start a new life. The trishula (trident) symbolizes the Lord's three fundamental powers of will (iccha), action (kriya) and knowledge (gyan). The trident is also a symbol of the trinity, Brahma, Vishnu and Siva himself reflecting the three qualities of nature creation, preservation and destruction.

Shiva is the supreme lord of the Hindus and was the true believer of interdependence of men & women for sustenance of the world, hence earning the name 'Ardhanareshwar'. Lord Shiva is portrayed in Hindu religion and mythology as the perfect householder, living with his wife Parvati and sons Ganesha and Kartikeya on Mount Kailash. One today finds twelve jyotirlingas of Lord Shiva spread all over India and several other temples. 'Maha Shivaratri' or the Night of Shiva is celebrated every year on the 13th night of the Krishna paksha. This festival dedicated to Lord Shiva is one of the most significant Hindu festivals which are celebrated by fasting during the day. To his believers Lord Shiva is "Maheshwara" encompassing the roles of creator, preserver and destroyer all by himself.