Shiva is the god of the yogis, self-controlled and celibate, while at the same time a lover of his spouse (Shakti). Shiva literally means "auspiciousness, welfare". The Trimurti is a Hindu concept, where the cosmic functions of creation, maintenance and destruction (also considered creative destruction or transformation) are personified by the forms of Brahma (the creator), Vishnu (the maintainer or preserver) and Shiva (the destroyer or transformer) is known for the destruction for all that is evil.
The name Shiva does not appear in the Vedas. However he is identified with the Vedic god Rudra, lord of songs, sacrifices, nourishment, the healer of diseases and provider of property. According to the Shiva Purana, Shiva is said to have five faces, corresponding to his five tasks, the panchakriya:
His five faces are associated with the creation of the sacred syllable Om.
Shiva's role is to destroy the universe in order to re-create it. Shiva is responsible for change, both in the form of death and destruction and in the positive sense of destroying the ego, the false identification with the form. This also includes the shedding of old habits and attachments. Hindus believe his powers of destruction and recreation are used even now to destroy the illusions and imperfections of this world, paving the way for beneficial change. This destruction is not arbitrary, but constructive. Shiva is therefore seen as the source of both good and evil and is regarded as the one who combines many contradictory elements. Even though Shiva is the destroyer, he is usually represented as smiling and tranquil, Shiva represents darkness (tamas), and is said to be the 'angry god'. The Hindus believe that creation follows destruction. Therefore Shiva is also regarded as a reproductive power, which restores what has been dissolved. Shiva has 1,008 names, including Mahadeva (the great god), Mahesh, Rudra, Neelkantha (the blue-throated one), and Ishwar (the supreme god). He is also called Mahayogi, or the great ascetic, who symbolises the highest form of austere penance and abstract meditation, which results in salvation (see Moksha).
Shiva has many forms, which are visible in his Panchavaktra form with 5 heads, a combination of all Shiva energies:
This last form is the connection to the Rudraksha mala – a rosary made of the dried fruits of the Rudraksha tree
Another form is the Nataraj also known as the dancing Shiva. This dance represents both the destruction and creation of the universe and reveals the cycles of death, birth and rebirth. His dance of bliss is for the welfare of the world.
Yet another manifestation of Lord Shiva is said to be Hanuman, the ultimate karma-yogi, in never-ending selfless service to Ram.
The Mahamrityunjaya form of Shiva is the great conqueror of death. The Mahamrityunjaya mantra is one of the two main mantras of the Vedas, next to the Gayatri mantra. It is chanted to remove death and disease. This form of Shiva also is the being of pure joy, referring to the unconditioned enjoyment of the perfectly peaceful mind.
In his representations as a man, Shiva always has a blue face and throat. Strictly speaking his body is white, but images often show him with a blue body too. Shiva is sometimes represented as half man, half woman. His figure is split half way down the body, one half showing his body and the second half that of Parvati's. While other gods are depicted in lavish surroundings, Shiva is dressed in simple animal (usually tiger) skin and in austere settings, usually in a yogic position.
The extra eye represents the wisdom and insight that Shiva has. It is also believed to be the source of his untamed energy. His third eye is believed to have appeared when Parvati, in a playful mood, covered his eyes with her hands. Immediately, the universe was plunged into darkness and there was chaos. To restore order, Shiva formed another eye on his forehead, from which emerged fire to restore light.
On one occasion, when Shiva was distracted in the midst of worship by the love god, Kama, Shiva opened his third eye in anger. Kama was consumed by the fire that poured forth, and only returned to life when Parvati intervened. The light from this eye is believed to be very powerful, and therefore destructive. Shiva opens his third eye only in anger, and the offender is burnt to cinders.
This signifies Shiva's power over the most dangerous creatures in the world. Some traditions also say that the snake represents Shiva's power of destruction and recreation. The snake sheds its skin to make way for new, smooth skin. Often, a garland of skulls or rudraksha beads also may hang from his neck. Shiva also wears snakes as armlets and bracelets. The serpent race, despised and feared by all other creatures, found a place of honour on Shiva's sacred person, simply because he was moved by their plight.
The vibhuti are three lines drawn horizontally across the forehead in white ash. They represent Shiva's all-pervading nature, his superhuman power and wealth. Also, they cover up his powerful third eye. Members of Shaivism often draw vibhuti lines across their forehead.
The three-pronged trident represents the three functions of the Hindu triumvirate and is also known as the trishul or pinaka.
Shiva's hair is matted and coiled on his head, adorned with a snake and a crescent moon. Ganga (the holiest of Indian rivers) is always depicted flowing out of his topknot. It is believed that when Ganga incarnated on Earth, Lord Shiva captured her in his hair to prevent Ganga from flooding the earth.
a two-sided drum sounds the rhythm of the heartbeat and creates the sound AUM in the overtones.
In one hand, Shiva holds a conch shell (Shankha), and in another hand, a rudraksha rosary, a club, or a bow. One hand is usually empty, raised in a gesture of blessing and protection. The other points to his feet, where the devotee is assured of salvation.
the bull is Shiva vehicle.
Shiva is also represented by the Shivalinga, a phallic statue, a symbol of regeneration, representing the raw power of Shiva and his masculinity. Hindus believe it represents the seed of the universe, demonstrating Shiva's quality of creation. Worshippers of Shiva celebrate Mahashivratri, a festival at which the Shivalinga is bathed in water, milk and honey and worshipped.
Shiva is said to live on Mount Kailash, a mountain in the Himalayas. 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. Shiva's consort is Devi, the Mother-goddess..
Devi has taken on many forms in the past, including Kali, the goddess of death, and Sati, the goddess of marital felicity. Her best known incarnation is Parvati, Shiva's eternal wife. It is Shiva's relationship with his wife, Parvati which brings him balance. Their union allows him to be an ascetic and a lover, but within the bounds of marriage. Parvati, whenever she is present, is always at the side of Shiva. Their relationship is one of equality. Shiva and Parvati are held up as the perfect example of marital bliss by many Hindus, and one is rarely depicted without the other.
According to one Hindu legend, Shiva almost signalled the end of this universe by performing the dangerous Tandav dance before its time. This is the story. One day, the father of the goddess Sati decided to hold a prayer ceremony. At this prayer ceremony, all the gods would be invited and offerings would be made to them. But Shiva had married Sati against the wishes of her father and he was not invited. Sati was deeply offended on behalf of her husband. In anger, Sati prayed intensely and jumped into the sacred fire that was burning on the day of the ceremony. During this time, Shiva had been in the midst of deep meditation. But when Sati jumped into the fire, he awoke in great anger, realising what his wife had done. The story becomes less certain at this point, but it is believed that Shiva started the cosmic dance of death – the tandav dance. The whole universe was about to be destroyed before it was time. The gods who were present at the prayer ceremony were very concerned. In order to pacify him, they scattered the ashes of Sati over him. This did the trick. He calmed down and did not complete the dance. But he went into meditation for many years, deeply upset over the death of his wife, ignoring all his godly duties. It was not until Sati was reborn as Parvati that Shiva finally came out of meditation. Through her love and patience, she taught him about family life and the importance of moderation.
There are many stories in the Puranas about the origin of Shiva. According to the Vishnu Purana, at the beginning of this kalpa Brahma wanted a child and meditated for one. Presently, a child appeared on his lap and started crying. When asked by Brahma why he was crying, the child replied that it was because he did not have a name. Brahma then named him Rudra, meaning "howler". However the child cried seven more times and was given seven more names. Shiva therefore has eight forms: Rudra, Sharva, Bhava, Ugra, Bhima, Pashupati, Ishana, and Mahadeva, which, according to the Shiva Purana, correspond to the earth, water, fire, wind, sky, a yogi called Kshetragya, the sun, and the moon respectively.
During the samudra manthan, when poison was churned out of the ocean, Shiva is said to have swallowed it to save the world from destruction. As he drank the poison, Parvati clasped his throat tightly so that the poison remained there and darkened his neck. Because of this, he is known as Neelkantha, the blue-necked one.
Shiva granted a peculiar boon to a demon called Bhasmasura, who wished that if he placed his hand on anyone's head, that person would turn to ashes. No sooner was his wish granted than he menaced Shiva himself, who took to his heels and was saved by Vishnu, in the form of Mohini, the enchantress Induced by Mohini to join her dance, the demon soon killed himself by placing his hand on his own head. Shiva and Mohini combined their energies and produced Hari-hara putra (Vishnu-Shiva's son), later identified with Sasta or Aiyappa, a celibate tribal deity in Kerala, whose cult is now enormous in India.. He lives on in Mohiniattam, the feminine counterpart of Kerala's dance theatre, Kathakali.
Shiva is the creator of dance and of the first 16 rhythmic syllables ever uttered, from which the Sanskrit language was born. His dance of anger is called the Roudra Tandava and his dance of joy, the Ananda Tandava. All the gods and sages were present when he first danced the Nadanta Tandava, a characteristically vigorous dance, and they begged him to dance again. Shiva promised to do so in the hearts of his devotees and in a sacred grove in Tamil Nadu, where the great temple of Chidambaram was built, the only one in all India dedicated to Shiva as Nataraja, the lord of dance. Dance is an important art form in India, and Shiva is believed to be the master of it. He is often called the Lord of Dance. The rhythm of dance is a metaphor for the balance in the universe which Shiva is believed to hold so masterfully. His most important dance is the Tandav is the cosmic dance of death, which Shiva performs at the end of an age, to destroy the universe.
Shiva' family: Goddess parvati is lord shiva's wife and they have two sons name Lord Ganesha and Kartikey. Hindus who worship Shiva as their primary god are members of the Shaivism sect.