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see also    Ling      Jyotirling    Panch Kedaar Temples;    Rudram Chamakam;    Rudraaksh;   Shiv Mahimn Stotra,    Shiv's Names     Shiv's Names;      Shiv,    Shaiv Darshan,    Shiv Sookt;     Shiv Panchaaksharee;    Shiv Temples;

This term started as a name of the formless God, in Yajur Ved Sanhitaa (see Vaajsaneyee Sanhitaa, 16-41). Later on it was associated with Rudra of Rig Ved Sanhitaa and Yajur Ved Sanhitaa. Shwetaashwatar Upanishad used Rudra, Har, and Shiv - all the three words synonymously in the sense of Brahm - the formless Supreme Soul. (see 1-10, 3-2, 3-5, and 3-11).

As the time went on Shiv became one of the main names of God, instead of Rudra; and Shiv was given a form and various attributes. Many stories were written about the doings of Shiv. When all the stories were complete - he was a resident of Kailaash Mountain, his wife was Paaravatee (daughter of Himaalaya), he had two sons - Ganapati and Kaartikeya, he rescued the world from Halaahal poison at the time of Saagar Manthan and was called Neelkanth, he took Gangaa on his head and was called Gangaadhar, and lastly he burnt Kaam Dev when he disturbed Shiv while he was in Samaadhi (deep meditation).

In Pauraanik theology, Shiv is one of the holy Trinity of Brahmaa, Vishnu and Shiv - the Creator, the Preserver and the Destroyer respectively. Beginning 600 AD, many stories were created and inserted in the Puraan about Shiv. Shiv Raatri, is considered the most important day for Shiv's worship.

He is called Aashutosh, one who is pleased easily and grants any thing prayed for. Shiv means auspicious. The ash on his body indicates Vairaagya (detachment). No one can destroy ash. He lives in the burial
ground. The serpent on his neck represents time. Since he controls time he is called as Mahaakaal. His vehicle Nandee symbolizes Dharm. Shakti (energy) is his wife. To indicate that he takes care of even those who are rejected by every one else, he shelters Bhoot Gan. He is Nataraaj. Births and deaths, all changes taking place with time are controlled by his movements, he is engaged in Taandava Nritya. His
third eye indicates movement upwards. The three lines of Vibhooti represent Tri-Gun, Tri-Lok. If Tapathrayas are overcome, realization of the self is possible. The combination of Shiv and Shakti is indicated with the Ardh-Naareeshwar concept. Likewise, the Shiv-Shakti within us should merge and we should realize the Aatmaa.

Attributes of Lord Shiv

Cremation ground:
Shiv sitting in the cremation ground signifies that he is the controller of death in the physical world.
Matted locks:
The three matted locks on the head of the Lord convey the idea that integration of the physical, mental and spiritual energies is the ideal of Yog.
Tiger skin:
A tiger skin symbolizes potential energy.
The crescent moon:
The crescent moon is only one of His ornaments.
Three eyes:
Lord Shiv, also called Tryambak Dev, is depicted as having three eyes: the Sun is His right eye, the Moon the left eye and fire the third eye.
The bull is associated with Shiva and said to be his vehicle.
Kundal (two ear rings):
Two Kundal, Alakshya and Niranjan, in the ears of the Lord symbolize the Shiv and Shakti (male and female) or Ardh-Naareeshwar principle of creation.
A water pot (Kamandal) made from a dry pumpkin contains nectar and is shown on the ground next to Shiv signifies that, an individual must break away from attachment to the physical world and clean his inner self of egoistic desires in order to experience the bliss of the Self.
A snake (Vaasuki Naag):
The snake is shown curled three times around the neck of the Lord and is looking towards his right side. The three coils of the snake symbolize the past, present and future - time in cycles.
Rudraaksh necklace:
Rudra is another name of Shiv. Rudraaksh necklace worn by the Lord illustrates that He uses His cosmic laws firmly - without compromise - to maintain law and order in the universe.
Ganga, symbolically represented on the head of the Lord by a female (Mother Ganga) with a jet of water emanating from her mouth and falling on the ground, signifies that the Lord destroys sin, removes ignorance, and bestows knowledge, purity and peace on the devotees.
Snake around the neck:
The snakes to symbolize the yogic power of Lord Shiva with which he dissolves and recreates the universe.
Vard Mudraa:
Lord Shiv's right hand is shown in a boon- bestowing and blessing pose, which annihilates evil, grants boons, bestows grace, destroys ignorance, and awakens wisdom in His devotees.
Trident (Trishool):
A three-pronged trident shown adjacent to the Lord symbolizes His three fundamental powers (Shakti) of will (Ichchhaa), action (Kriyaa) and knowledge (Gyaan).
Damaroo (drum):
Damaroo symbolizes the two utterly dissimilar states of existence, un-manifest and manifest.
Half-opened eyes:
When the Lord opens His eyes, a new cycle of creation emerges and when He closes them, the universe dissolves for creation of the next cycle. The half-open eyes convey the idea that creation is going through cyclic process, with no beginning no end.
The unclad body covered with ashes:
The unclad body of Lord Shiv covered the ashes signify that Shiv is the source of the entire universe which emanates from Him, but he transcends the physical phenomena and is not affected by it.

Shiv's Five Faces
Shiv has 5 faces, and their names are - Eeshaan, Vaamdev, Sadyojaat, Aghor, and Tatpurush; and they should be worshipped by five Mantra.
[Agni Puraan, p 35]

And these 5 faces are actually 5 functions performed by the Lord:

1. Sadyojaat - Creation of mobile and immobile
2. Vaam Dev - Nurturing
3. Aghor - Destruction
4. Tatpurush - Unveiling
5. Eeshaan - Salvation

Brahmaa is the form of Sadyojaat, Lord Vishnu is the form of Vaamdev, Lord Rudra is the form of Aghor, Tatpurush is the form of Mahesh and Eeshaan is beyond that... the Supreme, the formless, represented by only a Ling. Actually Mahesh also does not have a form and needs to be represented as a Ling.
[Shiv Puraan]

Shiv's body is constituted of five Mantra
1. Sadyojaat (Earth) - Face of Mahaadev
2. Vaam Dev (Water) - Face of Umaa
3. Aghor (Fire) - Face of Bhairav
4. Tatpurush (Air) - Face of Nandee
5. Eeshaan (Space) - Face of Sadaashiv
[Vishnu Dharmottar Puraan of the 6th Century attributes each face of Shiv an element]

In general Lord Shiv is having 3 heads, where as one famous Shlok describes Lord Shiv that
Shaantam, Padmaasanastham, Shashidhar Mukutam, Panch Vaktram, Trinetram,

The names of the five faces as described above are that of "Viraat Vishwakarmaa" from where the Five Vishwakarmaa Rishi named Man, Maya, Twashtaa, Shilpee and Viswanj are emerged.

Shiv Sahastra Namakam: Eight Collections of Hymns Containing One Thousand and Eight Names of Shiv.
by Ram Karan Sharma. Delhi, Nag Publishers, 1996. This work compares eight versions of the Shiv Sahstra Naam Stotra. The Preface and Introduction (in English) by Ram Karan Sharma provide an analysis of how the eight versions compare with one another. The text of the eight versions is given in Sanskrit language. See one list of his names on Next Page

[One person's Guru told him like this - From Om Namah Shivaaya Group, by DMM Rao, 29 May 2009]
Lord Shiv is in 8th Dimension and he wants to get to 9th Dimension which is the ultimate Universal source of energy. The energy is personified but there is no question of supremacy. 6th Dimension is Brahmaa's state and whoever gets in 6th Dimension can create world. 7th Dimension is of Lord Vishnu who can protect the Universe. This is not to tell about the supremacy of any God but the words of my Guru Jee are conveyed if it is of any help that why Lord Shiv is meditating all the time before Shiv Ling.

Shiv's Mantra
There are two very popular Mantras of Shiv -

(1) Shiv's 5-letter Mantra          "Om Namah Shivaaya"
(2) Mahaamrityunjaya Mantra    "Om Tryambakam Yajaamahe Sugandhim Pushtivardhanam
                                                 Urvaarukmiv Bandhanaan Mrityormuksheeya Maamritaat

Skand Puraan Chapter 13 tells that anyone who abandons worshipping Shiv, abandons the nectar from his hand and chases a mirage.

Chant as follows: "Shivaaya Namah, Shivaaya Namah"; If you chant thus, there will be no more birth. With his Grace, you can witness his eternal Dance. Copper (that is Jeev) turns into gold (that is Shiv). This is the two-cell Mantra.

"Aanandam, Aanandam": thus you chant. Aanandam, Aanandam: A, E, U, I, O the life-vowels) are the source of Aanandam; Aanandam, Aanandam, they become the five-letter Mantra. Aanandam, Aanandam, it resides in Hum, Hrim, Hum, Sum, and Aum (the five seed letters). The five letter Mantra is either the A, E, U, I, O or Shivaaya Namah or the Taantrik Mantra Hum, Hrim, Hum, Sum, and Aum.


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Created by Sushma Gupta on 3/15/06
Updated on 01/23/13