Lord Shiva, the Mahadeva

Lord Shiva, the Mahadeva

Who is Lord Shiva?

Shiva is the Hindu triumvirate’s third god. The trimurti comprises three gods in charge of the creation, preservation, and destruction of the world. Brahma and Vishnu are the other two gods. Vishnu preserves the universe, while Brahma is its creator. Shiva's job is to re-create the universe by destroying it.

Hindus believe that Shiva’s demolition and recreation powers are still in use today to destroy the world's illusions and defects, clearing the way for positive transformation. This devastation, according to the Hindu religion, is not random but rather beneficial. As a result, Shiva is seen as the source of both good and evil and the one which blends various opposing forces.

What does Shiva appear to be like?

Shiva's cheeks and throat are invariably blue in his depictions as a man. His body is technically white; however, photos frequently depict him with a blue body.

Shiva is shown as having the following characteristics:

  • The third eye 
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    Shiva's extra eye reflects his wisdom and intelligence. It's also thought to be the cause of his uncontrollable energy. When Shiva was distracted during worship by the God of Love, Kama, he erupted in rage and opened his third eye. Kama was completely engulfed by the fire that erupted, and it was only when Parvati intervened that he was brought back to life.

  • The cobra necklace 
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    This represents Shiva's mastery over the world's most fearsome creatures. According to certain legends, the snake represents Shiva's destructive and recreational powers. The snake sheds its skin to reveal new, smoother skin beneath.

  • Vibhuti
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    Holy ash or vibhuti is a set of three white lines drawn horizontally over Shiva’s forehead. They symbolise Shiva's all-encompassing nature, as well as his superhuman might and wealth. They also hide his formidable third eye. Shaivism adherents frequently draw vibhuti lines on their foreheads.

  • The trident 
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    The three-pronged trident signifies the Hindu triumvirate's three functions.

    Shiva is shown in plain animal skin and austere settings, usually in a yoga stance, unlike other gods depicted in opulent settings. Parvati is constantly by Shiva's side, anytime she is present. Theirs is a partnership of equals. Shiva is frequently depicted as smiling and calm, even though he is the destroyer.

    Additional representations

    Shiva is frequently shown as a half-man, half-woman, known as Ardhnarishwara. His figure is split in half, with one half exhibiting his body and the other depicting Parvati's. Shiva linga is also a representation of Shiva. This is a phallic statue that represents Shiva's sheer power and masculinity. Hindus believe it symbolises the universe's seed, indicating Shiva's ability to create. Mahashivratri is a Shiva-worshiping event during which the Shiva linga is bathed in water, milk, and honey and worshipped.

    Who is he connected to?

    Devi, the Mother-goddess, is Shiva's consort. Devi has previously taken numerous incarnations, including Kali, the goddess of death, and Sati, the goddess of marital bliss. Parvati, Shiva's everlasting wife, is her most well-known incarnation. Hindus believe Shiva and Parvati reside in the Himalayan Kailash mountains.

    The King of Dance

    Dance is a popular art form in India, and Shiva is regarded as its guru. He's known as the "Lord of Dance." Dance is a metaphor for the universe's equilibrium, which Shiva is said to keep in such a skilled manner.  The Tandav is his most important dance. This is the cosmic death dance that he does after each age to destroy the cosmos.

    According to Hindu belief, Shiva almost brought the universe to an end by executing this perilous dance before its time. Many Hindus hold Shiva and Parvati up as the greatest example of marital bliss, and one is rarely shown without the other.