Header Ads Widget

Lord Shiva | Meaning, Names, Origin and Attributes of The Lord Shiva

Hindu religion is one of the most ancient religions of the world and Lord Shiva is one of the prime deities worshipped by the followers of this religion. He is believed to be one of the Trimurti or the supreme trinity of Hinduism, comprising Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva. According to their distinct functions, Shiva holds the responsibility of destruction. His consort is Goddess Parvati, who is also called Shakti or Power.

Lord Shiva

Lord Shiva | Image Resource : hindutrend.com

Meaning Of The Word ‘Shiva’

The word ‘Shiva’ means auspicious, affectionate, and spiritual in the Sanskrit language. Despite his role as the Destroyer, Lord Shiva is known to have a gentle and kind nature, who can be pleased very easily. According to another belief, Shiva means ‘nothing’, which opens the way of creating everything in the universe. He is the supreme power along with Shakti or the ultimate energy, which is formless and can turn into any form. Thus, Shiva is the universal consciousness, who is depicted as the Creator, Protector, and Dissolver in the Puranas and Epics written during the Vedic period.

Other Popular Names Of Lord Shiva

In Rigveda, Shiva was given the name of ‘Rudra’, which denotes the angry form of Shankar Bhagwan. ‘Nataraj’ is another name where Shiva is depicted in a dancing pose, with four hands. ‘Dakshinamurthy’ is the name given to the Yogi form of Shiva, where he personifies ultimate knowledge, understanding of music, and awareness of Yoga. Vishwanath is another name given to Shiva, which means ‘lord of the world’. ‘Mahadev’, ‘Mahesha’, and ‘Maheshwara’ are other common names by which people call Shiva all over India, as he is known as the supreme God above all other deities worshipped by Hindus. The name ‘Trilochana’ and ‘Trayambakam’ are given to Shiva due to the presence of three eyes while he is called ‘Trilokinatha’ because he is the lord of three worlds. The name ‘Neelkantha’ was given when his throat turned blue because of consuming Halahala, the extremely dangerous poison that could otherwise destroy the world. ‘Shankar’, ’Hara’, and ‘Shambhu’, ‘Subhankar’, and ‘Parameshwara’ are the other names attributed to Lord Shiva. Moreover, he is called by several names in different temples of India, like ‘Tarakeshwara’, ‘Ghrineshwara’, ‘Somnath’, ‘Kedarnath’, ‘Rameshwara’, ‘Mahakaleshwar’ and ‘Baidyanath’.

Origin Of Lord Shiva

Several stone figures and seals discovered from the sites of Indus Valley show that Shiva was worshipped there as ‘Pashupati’ which means the ‘Lord of Animals’. In these figurines, he was depicted as sitting in a Yogi posture, surrounded by animals. According to the hymns of Vedic literature, Shiva was called Rudra and was one of the prime Vedic Gods, along with Agni and Indra. It is believed that Lord Shiva has no origin as he is immortal, just like Brahma and Vishnu. However, in Vishnu Purana, it was stated that Shiva was born from the forehead of Lord Vishnu.

Attributes To Lord Shiva

According to ancient Hindu scriptures, several symbols are attributed to Shankar Bhagwan. The foremost among these is Trinetra or the Third Eye of Lord, which emits fire and burns down everything when he opens it out of rage. Shiva holds a crescent-shaped moon on his head, which depicts his affection for Som or Moon God. Lord smears his entire body with ashes or ‘vibhuti’, demonstrating that everyone will turn into ashes one day and the souls will be united with God. The holy river Ganga flows out of the matted hair of Shiva before descending into the earth, for which he is called ‘Gangadhar’.

Shiva drapes a tiger skin around his body or seen seated over the tiger skin in some idols. A large snake always wound itself around the neck of Lord Shiva, for which snakes are considered to be his symbol by many devotees. A trident or Trishul is the weapon always carried by Shiva and according to Hindu scriptures, its three prongs represent his three functions of creation, protection, and destruction; alternatively three qualities of Satta, Raja, and Tama as described in Hindu philosophy. Damaru is a small drum attached to the Trishul of Mahadev, representing the Nataraja figure of the Lord. Shiva is mostly seen seated in the pose of a Yogi, as he meditates on Mount Kailash. Nandi, the bull is the vahana or carrier of Lord Shiva and always seen with his idol in all temples.

Avatars Of Lord Shiva

When the divine power is born on this earth in any form, it is termed as an Avatar or incarnation. Like Lord Vishnu, Lord Shiva also is known to take several Avatars at different times.

  • Veerbhadra is known as the fiercest Avatar of Shiva that was produced from a hair strand of the Lord, after the self-immolation of Sati Devi. He had dark skin and wore a garland of skulls, carrying various weapons with which he killed Daksh, the father of Sati and destroyed his Yajna.

  • Bhairava is another well-known Avatar of Shiva, who protects all the Shakti Peethas of Mother Goddess. He is called by distinct name in each Shakti Peetha, where he is worshipped by devotees before offering puja to the Goddess of the main shrine.

  • Hanuman is a famous epic character, who is known to be an Avatar of Shiva. He was born in the form of a monkey and eventually helped Sri Ram during his war with Ravana. He is also known as an ardent devotee of Ram and till date, worshipped with Ram-Sita in all temples.

  • Sharabha was the Avatar whose body is partly of a bird and partly of a lion. This special form was adopted by Lord to calm down the Narasimha Avatar of Lord Vishnu, which was also half-lion and half-human.

  • Durbasa was a famous sage of the epic age, who was well-known for his short temper and curses to anyone who annoyed him. Many believe Durbasa to be an incarnation of Shiva, who was born to purify mankind.

  • Keerat was an incarnation of Shiva that he took to test Arjuna while the latter was meditating in a forest. Both aimed at a wild boar and dueled over its possession, after which Lord Shiva was pleased with Arjuna’s bravery and blessed him with a divine weapon.

Many ancient scriptures tell about more Avatars of Shankar Bhagawan, which he adopted to teach lessons to humans or to test their devotion at various ages.

Post a Comment