Lord Shiva is one of the Trimurthis is worshipped as the destroyer of ignorance.
Shiva is worshipped in the form of Linga and Shiva temples are simple in nature compared to Vishnu temples. Shiva is the foremost of the Trimurti; Brahma and Vishnu
Shiva represents greatness in simplicity and can be easily pleased as per legends.
Mantra & Strotram
- Shiva Panchakshari – “Om Namah Shivaya”
- Recite “Om Namah Shivaya” as many times as possible
- “Hara Hara Mahadeva, Shambho Shankara”, “Namassivayaha”
- Mahamrityunjaya Mantra
- Shiva Tandava Stotram
Shiva’s consort is Sati and then Parvati in her different forms
Shiva Śiva, meaning “The Auspicious”, The Destroyer, The Benefactor.
Shiva is regarded as limitless, transcendent, unchanging and formless. Shiva also has many benevolent and fearsome forms.
- In benevolent aspects, he is as an omniscient Yogi who lives an ascetic life on Mount Kailash, as well as a householder with wife Parvati and his two children, Ganesha and Kartikeya, and
- In fierce aspects, he is often depicted slaying demons. Shiva is also regarded as the patron god of yoga, meditation and arts.
- Shiva’s attributes: Third eye on his forehead, the snake Vasuki around his neck, the adorning crescent moon, the holy river Ganga flowing from his matted hair, the trishula as his weapon and the damaru as his musical instrument.
- Shiva is usually worshiped in the aniconic form of Lingam.
- Lingodbhava is a Shaiva sectarian icon where Shiva is depicted rising from the Lingam (an infinite fiery pillar).
Source: Shiva Sahasranama, Vishnu sahasranama,Vedas, Upanishads, Wikipedia, Rudram, Namakam, Chamakam, Shiva Puranam, Linga Puranam, Mahabharata and knowledge imparted by Gurus.
Shiva mean – the One who is eternally pure or the One who can never have any contamination of the imperfection of Rajas and Tamas
Shiva’s rise to a major position in the pantheon was facilitated by his identification with a host of Vedic deities, including Rudra, Agni, Indra, Prajapati, Vayu, and others.
Shaivism is one of the four major sects of Hinduism, the others being Vaishnavism, Shaktism and the Smarta Tradition. Followers of Shaivism, called “Shaivas”, revere Shiva as the Supreme Being. Shaivas believe that Shiva is All and in all, the creator, preserver, destroyer, revealer and concealer of all that is.
Panchayatana puja is the system of puja (worship) in the Smarta Tradition, introduced by Adi Shankara. It consists of the worship of five deities: Shiva, Vishnu, Devi, Surya and Ganesha. Depending on the tradition followed by Smarta households, one of these deities is kept in the center and the other four surround it. Worship is offered to all the deities. The five are represented by small murtis, or by five kinds of stones, or by five marks drawn on the floor.
The Trimurti is a concept in Hinduism in which the cosmic functions of creation, maintenance, and destruction are personified by the forms of Brahmā the creator, Vishnu the maintainer or preserver and Śhiva the destroyer or transformer. These three deities have been called “the Hindu triad” or the “Great Trinity”.
- Third eye: Shiva is often depicted with a third eye, with which he burned Desire (Kāma) to ashes. When Shiva gets angry, his third eye opens which can reduce everything into ashes.
- Crescent moon: Shiva bears on his head the crescent moon. The origin of this linkage may be due to the identification of the moon with Soma. The crescent moon is shown on the side of the Lord’s head as an ornament. The waxing and waning phenomenon of the moon symbolizes the time cycle through which creation evolves from the beginning to the end.
- Ashes: Shiva smears his body with ashes (bhasma). The ashes are said to represent the end of all material existence
- Matted hair: Shiva’s distinctive hair style – “Jhata Jhuta dhari”.
- Blue throat: The epithet Nīlakaṇtha, Garala Khanta. Shiva drank the Halahala poison churned up from the Samudra Manthan to eliminate its destructive capacity. Shocked by his act, Goddess Parvati strangled his neck and hence managed to stop it in his neck itself and prevent it from spreading all over the universe, supposed to be in Shiva’s stomach. However the poison was so potent that it changed the color of his neck to blue.
- Sacred Ganga: The epithet Gangadhara, The Ganga flows from the matted hair of Shiva. The flow of the Ganga also represents the nectar of immortality.
- Tiger skin: Shiva is often shown seated upon a tiger skin, an honour reserved for the most accomplished of Hindu ascetics, the Brahmarishis.
- Serpents: Shiva is often shown garlanded with a snake.
- Trident (Trishula): Shiva’s particular weapon is the trident.
- Drum: A small drum shaped like an hourglass is known as a damaru. This is one of the attributes of Shiva in his famous dancing representation known as Nataraja.
- Nandī: Nandī, also known as “Nandin”, is the name of the bull that serves as Shiva’s mount Shiva’s association with cattle is reflected in his name Paśupati. Rishabha or the bull represents Dharma Devata (lord). Lord Siva rides on the bull denotes that he is the protector of Dharma, is an embodiment of Dharma or righteousness.
- Mount Kailāsa: Mount Kailash in the Himalayas is his traditional abode. Mount Kailāsa is conceived as resembling a Linga, representing the center of the universe.
- Gaṇa: The Gaṇas are attendants of Shiva and live in Kailash. They are often referred to as the bhutaganas, or ghostly hosts, on account of their nature. Generally benign, except when their lord is transgressed against, they are often invoked to intercede with the lord on behalf of the devotee. His son Ganesha was chosen as their leader by Shiva, hence Ganesha’s title gaṇa-īśa or gaṇa-pati, “lord of the gaṇas”.
- Varanasi: Varanasi (Benares) is considered to be the city specially loved by Shiva, and is one of the holiest places and Jyotirlinga in India.
FACTS and LEGEND
- Popular names associated with Shiva are Mahadeva (Great God), Mahesha (Great Lord), Maheshvara, Parameshwara(Supreme Lord), Shankara, Shambhu, Rudra, Rishikesha (man of knowledge), Hara, Trilochan, Devendra (chief of the gods), Neelakanta, Subhankar and Trilokinatha
- Bhairava, the fierce form of Shiva
- Rudra reflects Shiva’s fearsome aspects
- Śaṇkara, the beneficent or conferring happiness reflects his benign form.
- Adi Shankara (c. 788-820) who is also known as Shankaracharya.
- Śambhu – causing happiness, reflects this benign aspect.
- Goddess Kali, it represents that Shiva is a corpse without Shakti. He remains inert. While Shiva is the static form, Mahakali or Shakti is the dynamic aspect without whom Shiva is powerless.
- Shiva and Parvati has two sons, Ganesha and Kartikeya.
- Shiva as Nataraja – Lord of of Dance
- The two most common forms of the dance are the Tandava, which later came to denote the powerful and masculine dance as Kala-Mahakala associated with the destruction of the world. When it requires the world or universe to be destroyed, Lord Śiva does it by the tāṇḍavanṛtya.
- Lasya, which is graceful and delicate and expresses emotions on a gentle level and is considered the feminine dance attributed to the goddess Parvati. Lasya is regarded as the female counterpart of Tandava. The Tandava–Lasya dances are associated with the destruction-creation of the world.
Dakshinamurthy: A form (mūrti) of Shiva facing south (dakṣiṇa), seated upon a deer-throne and surrounded by sages who are receiving his instruction represents a teacher of yoga, music, and wisdom and giving exposition on the shastras. Elements of this motif can include Shiva.
Ardhanarishvara: Lord Shiva and Parvati form in union with half of their body represeting husband and wife are equal and must share everything.
Shiva is often depicted as an archer in the act of destroying the triple fortresses, Tripura, of the Asuras. Shiva’s name Tripurāntaka, “ender of Tripura”, refers to this important story. In this aspect, Shiva is depicted with four arms wielding a bow and arrow. He holds an axe and a deer on the upper pair of his arms. In the lower pair of the arms, he holds a bow and an arrow respectively. After destroying Tripura, Tripurantaka Shiva smeared his forehead with three strokes of Ashes. This has become a prominent symbol of Shiva and is practiced even today by Shaivites.
– In the Hanuman Chalisa, Hanuman is identified as the eleventh avatar of Shiva and this belief is universal. Hanuman is popularly known as “Rudraavtaar” “Rudra” being a name of “Shiva”.
Maha Shivratri is a festival celebrated every year on the 13th day in the Magha Krishna Paksha.
- This festival is of utmost importance to the devotees of Shiva.
- Devotees fast on this day and spend time Japam, meditation, visit Shiva temples and offer prayers to Shiva.
- Marks the night when Shiva performed the Tandava
- Day that Shiva was married to Parvati. Shiva-Parvati Kalyanam is organized at many places. Most important one being at Srisailam.
- Night is marked with Abhishekam to Shiva with water, milk, yogurt, and honey.
- Bel (aegle marmelos) Or Bilva or Maredu leaves are often offered and when someone offers them without any intentions will be rewarded greatly.