Feb. 28, 2022, 12:05 p.m. by Karuwaki Speaks ( 220 views)
Shiva the auspicious, as we know him today is an amalgamation of various older non-Vedic and Vedic deities.
He is the great ascetic, the master of fertility, the master of poison and medicine, and Lord of Cattle. His combined roles are exemplary of a tendency in Hinduism to see complementary qualities in a single ambiguous figure.
For centuries, Lord Shiva’s form has straddled the imagination of his devotees. A body smeared with ash, a tiger skin encircling his loins, a crescent moon adorning his forehead, matted hair piled high on his head from where the celestial river Ganga flows, one hand holding the trident, other sets in a classical mudra. Sometimes he is playing the dumroo as he is consumed in the cosmic dance. The third eye between the brows accentuating his bold handsomeness, snakes encircling his azure neck. This image in its evocativeness has never failed to attract and arouse the curiosity within.
As many metaphors there have been to describe the visual appearance of Shiva, there are more names to describe the attributes that he is known to embody. The 1008 names of Shiva only serve to portray his infinite and versatile nature, his unknowable mystery, which is devoid of polarities, composite and synthesized.
Shiva is known to have untamed passion, which leads him to extremes in behaviour. Sometimes he is an ascetic, abstaining from all worldly pleasures. At others, he is a hedonist.It is Shiva's relationship with his consort, Parvati which brings him balance.
Their union allows him to be both an ascetic and a lover. Shiva is also known as Adiyogi & regarded as the patron god of yoga, meditation and arts. Adiyogi was the source of Yoga, the one who offered the possibility of transcending one's limitations.Yet, Shiva is beyond description or definition.
Mahashivratri, “The Great Night of Shiva” is a night of special spiritual significance.This day falls in the month of Phalguna as per the North Indian Hindu calendar and Magha as per the South Indian Hindu calendar according to the Amanta and Purnimanta systems.
Among all the twelve Shivratris that occur in a calendar year, the Maha Shivratri holds a special significance as there is a natural upsurge of energy in the universe with nature pushing us towards one’s spiritual peak. The planetary positions are such that all negative thoughts are removed.
Maha Shivratri is celebrated as the anniversary of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati.Sati, reincarnated as Shakti, worshipped Lord Shiva. This union of ShivaShakti as Ardhnareshwar is celebrated by devotees.
It is also celebrated as a day when Shiva saved the world from being destroyed by the pot of poison, " halahala" that emerged from the ocean during Samudra Manthan. Lord Shiva drank the poison which turned his throat blue and came to be known as Neelkanth.
Mahashivratri also marks the day when Brahma and Vishnu got involved in an argument about their supremacy & Shiva had to assert his supremacy.
Nageshwarnath at Dwarka(Pic credit:Dr.B Sahu)
Lord Shiva is referred to as the most powerful. He, along with Brahma and Vishnu, makes the Trinity, which takes care of the process of birth, sustenance, and death.
According to the Shiva Purana, Vishnu and Brahma were created from Aadi Anant Jyotir Stambha of Shiva, hence making Shiva more powerful than the two.Shiva is the only Supreme Paramatma as he is unborn (Ajanma), Akarta and Abhokta (Vairagi).Shiva Linga is the symbol of Shiva’s nirakar form.
Shivoham” means “I am Shiva”!Shivo'ham, therefore, means “I am pure consciousness.” It reflects the oneness of all creation and the unity with the higher Self.
A mantra that reminds us of our oneness with the absolute, the transcendent, the ultimate reality - the truth.