Know about Lord Shiva & his assets in Simple Words
When we look at the sky, we realise how small we are. The mystery of the universe, of every small and big thing associated with it, compels us to recognise the existence & importance of the Superpower or Mahamaheshwar. Religion is a means to reduce the complexities of life and to comprehend these mysteries. Religion gives us various ways to live life, like devotion, spiritual practice, and yoga. If we pursue these paths sincerely, the gates of Moksh open up before us. Today we will talk about Lord Shiva, who is also known as Shiva ji, Shiv ji or Shiv Shankar, he is who knows all the secrets of existence. Let us know things like where Lord Shiva resides, what does Lord Shiva do, and also try to know the secrets of Shiva’s origin in brief.
Who is Lord Shiva?
Who is Lord Shiva or Shankar Bhagwan? There is no one straight answer to this question. Because according to the Vedas, Puranas, etc (the primary source of our knowledge of Lord Shiva), we see various shades of Lord Shiva. Based on these ancient religious texts, Lord Shiva is depicted in various forms. He is depicted in a calm mood with his wife Parvati and sons Skanda and Ganesha. At other times, he is depicted as a cosmic dancer i.e. Nataraja. He is also shown as a naked ascetic, as a mendicant, as a yogi, sometimes as a devotee. Sometimes we find Shiva in the form of the fierce Kalabhairava and sometimes in the gentle form of Ardhanarishvara. He is both a great ascetic and a master of fertility. Lord Shiva, who holds the snake around his neck, is the lord of both poison and medicine. He is known as Lord Pashupati, the lord of cattle and is also seated as the Mahakal. There are many who believe that Shiva is infinite.
Where does Lord Shiva Live?
Lord Shiva has a formless, all-pervading aspect, which is known as Brahmatattva and which is present everywhere and in everything. At the same time, according to the Vedas and Puranas, Lord Shiva physically resides on Mount Kailash in the Himalayas. He resides there with his wife Mata Parvati, sons Ganesha and Kartikeya along with some prominent helpers. According to mythological beliefs, the path to heaven passes through Kailash.
What does Lord Shiva do?
Lord Shiva is one of the most important deities in the Hindu pantheon and is considered a part of the holy trinity of Hinduism, along with Brahma and Vishnu. A complex character, he represents goodness and benevolence and serves as a protector. He is also associated with time and exists exclusively as the destroyer and creator of all things. In Hinduism, the universe is said to pass through time cycles (each cycle is of 2,160,000,000 years) and then everything is dissolved after which the world is recreated. Lord Shiva destroys the universe at the end of each cycle thereby starting the process of a new creation. Lord Shiva is also a great ascetic. He meditates to attain complete happiness, abstaining from all kinds of indulgences and pleasures. He is also the leader of evil spirits, ghosts and the lord of thieves, villains and beggars. The followers of Lord Shiva, within Hinduism, are known as Shaivites. Lord Shiva is the protector of the yogis and brahmins, the protector of the Vedas and also other sacred texts.
Whom does Lord Shiva Meditate on?
Lord Shiva does not meditate on anyone. He is always in samadhi. Some people say that Lord Shiva meditates on Rama because of his immense devotion towards Lord Rama or Lord Krishna. In Rameshwaram Lord Rama worshipped Shiva, Rama + Ishwar Rameshwar, meaning Lord of Rama. The story of Lord Shiva worshipping Lord Rama is found only in the Vaishnava Puranas. Puranas are purusheya, meaning they are created by some humans. On the other hand, the Vedas are Apaurusheya, which were not composed by humans but descended from the divine. Shiva worship was popular in the Vedic period and in the age of Ramayana and Mahabharata. All the Pandavas worshipped Shiva. Kunti worshipped Shiva for children, Krishna worshipped Shiva for a son. In fact, both Rama & Ravana worshipped Shiva.
The form of Lord Shiva
The sight of Lord Shiva is a sight to behold – seated on a tiger skin, wearing Rudraksha beads, having smeared bhasma (ash) on the body, a snake coiled around his neck, Moon placed on his forehead, river Ganges flowing through his hair also known as ‘Jatayen’, blue throat, trinetra (three eyes instead of two). The three eyes show that he is ‘trikaldarshi’ which means one who can see past, present and future. Trishul is the primary weapon of Lord Shiva on which a musical instrument is played.
Damru of Lord Shiva
Lord Shiva’s Damru is a symbol of the universe, which is always expanding and collapsing. After expanding for some time, the universe collapses and then it expands again, this is the ever happening process of creation. If you look at your heartbeat, it’s not just a straight line but a rhythm that goes up and down. The whole world is nothing but rhythm; Energy is rising and collapsing to rise again. So Damru is the symbol of this universe.
The Snake around Lord Shiva’s Neck
According to the Puranas, the serpent Vasuki, who is coiled around the neck of Lord Shiva is the king of the serpents. Lord Shiva is wearing a deadly snake as an ornament, it shows that he is not under the influence of time (birth, ageing and death) and in fact he verily controls the time. Lord Shiva is also known as the lord of all the animals i.e. Pashupatinath. Besides, as per the belief, once the snake species was in danger. Then, Shiva gave them shelter and thus, he became their protector and so the snake always stays around his neck. As he is also the lord of the animal kingdom, he has complete control over their behaviour. Snakes are considered evil & demoniac. By keeping the snake around his neck, Lord Shiva assures us that no evil can touch us or destroy us.
The Snake around Lord Shiva's Neck Symbolises Kundalini
The snake is also considered as a factor of dormant energy, this is known as Kundalini Shakti. This energy resides within us and is considered as a serpent that lies in the Muladhara chakra of all human beings. As we grow spiritually, this energy gradually becomes active. Thus, the serpent around Shiva’s neck conveys the meaning that the Kundalini has awakened in him fully & completely.
The Significance of Lord Shiva's Trishul
Trishul represents the three aspects of consciousness – waking, dreaming and sleeping, and it also represents the three gunas – sattva, raja and taama. As he carries the Trishul, it shows that Shiva is above all three states. Besides, he is all of them – awake, dreaming and sleeping, yet he is also the maintainer of these three states.
How can We please Lord Shiva
There are various means and methods to please Lord Shiva, particularly on MahaShivratri. One of the methods is by chanting the Shiva Mantra which is as under:
Om Namah Shivay
We can recite this mantra at home or in a Shiva temple before a Shiva idol or Shiva Ling or Lingam of Shiva.
Shiva, Sahakti, Creation & Destruction
Lord Shiva was originally known as Rudra. In the Rigveda, we find Rudra word mentioned only thrice. He is also called Ashutosh or sometimes Bhole Bhandari. As per the Vedas, at the beginning of creation, due to some unknown reason, a part of the latent Brahman appeared as a reflection in the Sattva guna. This aspect was personified as the Lord God of the universe, with qualities. That cosmic power is actually Param Shiva, Maha Shiva, or Mahadev. As the awakened Supreme Brahman, he is the cosmic God, who is actively engaged in the roles of creation, protection and destruction. Creation is only a conscious dream of Shiva, a set of waves emanating from his cosmic dance. Whatever we experience and enjoy in our existence, it happens by the will of Shiva.
Lord Shiva is the Veda Purusha, the Cosmic Purusha, who awakens Prakriti or the Cosmic Female, and establishes himself in her to manifest life and diversity. There is no need to work hard to please Lord Shiva. He is pleased by a pure heart and sound character. At the same time, Rudrabhishek is an easy way to please Lord Shiva. You too can get special blessings from Lord Shiva through Rudrabhishek. We bow down to the feet of Lord Shiva, who removes all kinds of sins and fills our life with bliss & happiness!
Indeed, the aura surrounding Lord Shiva is best reflected in the things he puts on – Damru, Snake, and Trishul. They only add on to his glory and splendour.