Lord Shiva, the greatest god that Indian mythology has presented to the world, is an inspiration to young generations even today. Lord Shiva is known by hundreds of different names – Shankar, Maheshwar, Mahadev, Bhairavnath, Bholenath, etc. Each name depicts a character of the lord. Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva are the three main gods of Hindus. While Lord Brahma and Lord Vishnu create and look after the universe respectively, Shiva is the destroyer of everything. As much as birth and rebirth are necessary, end is also very important to start a new beginning. Shiva does just that.
Origin of name
The word Shiva is derived by reversing the word ‘vash,’ which means to enlighten. Thus, Shiva is the one who enlightens us. He is the ultimate, he is the absolute. He is self radiant and illuminates the entire universe.
Lord Shiva Physical Features
Shiva has a sturdy body that is covered with animal skin. He holds a trident in one hand and damaru in another. He has long unkempt hair that is rolled into a bun. On his head, he has the crescent moon. Also Ganga, the river is tied in his hair. She is the second wife of Lord Shiva and is placed superiorly on his head. Shiva has three eyes, the third eye on his forehead. Shiva can see the past, present and the future with these eyes. The third eye is always closed, but when angry, if Shiva opens the third eye, it will be the end of the world. Shiva is also called as Nagendra as he has a serpent coiled around his neck. He wears holy ash on his body as he lives in the cemetery. Chains made of Rudraksha beads adorn Shiva’s head, neck and arms.
Interesting facts about Shiva –
- He is a very short tempered god. He does not tolerate disrespect of any kind.
- He is a yogi. He performs severe penance in the mountains of Himalayas.
- Lord Shiva has poison in his throat as he drank the poison that was churned before the amrit was created in the amrith manthan. By drinking the poison, he saved the entire world from destruction.
- Shiva can be appeased easily. He will bestow upon his devotees all the riches and powers that he has. Ravan was a great devotee of Shiva, so Shiva gave Ravan his divine phallus the atma linga.
- Shiva has a beautiful wife, Goddess Parvati and two sons, Karthikeya and Lord Ganesh.
- It is believed that Shiva loved cannabis and weed. On Shivaratri, the devotees consume Bhang, which is a beverage prepared from cannabis and also smoke weed.
- Shiva is a great dancer. He is given the name Nataraj because of his dancing skills. When Shiva does his great dance, Shiva Thandava, it is believed as an end of an era.
- Shiva’s favourite vehicle was the Nandi.
- Mount Kailash in the Himalayas is Shiva’s abode. He lives there and performs his severe penances there.
Lord Shiva is a fun, unpredictable and very popular lord among-st youngsters too. The stories of Shiva have encouraged people to follow meditation and penance.
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