Narasimhaye’s Blog

Lord Shiva by Bansi Pandit

Posted on: November 1, 2008

Lord Shiva by Bansi Pandit


Lord Shiva represents the aspect of the Supreme Being 
(Brahman of the Upanishads) that continuously dissolves 
to recreate in the cyclic process of creation, preservation, 
dissolution and recreation of the universe. 

As stated earlier, Lord Shiva is the third member of the 
Hindu Trinity, the other two being Lord Brahma and Lord 
Vishnu. 
Owing to His cosmic activity of dissolution and recreation, 
the words destroyer and destruction have been erroneously 
associated with Lord Shiva. This difficulty arises when 
people fail to grasp the true significance of His cosmic 
role. 

The creation sustains itself by a delicate balance between 
the opposing forces of good and evil. When this balance is 
disturbed and sustenance of life becomes impossible, Lord 
Shiva dissolves the universe for creation of the next cycle 
so that the unliberated souls will have another opportunity 
to liberate themselves from bondage with the physical world. 

Thus, Lord Shiva protects the souls from pain and suffering 
that would be caused by a dysfunctional universe. In analogous 
cyclic processes, winter is essential for spring to appear and 
the night is necessary for the morning to follow. To further 
illustrate, a goldsmith does not destroy gold when he melts old 
irreparable golden jewelry to create beautiful new ornaments. 

Lord Shiva is the Lord of mercy and compassion. He protects devotees 
from evil forces such as lust, greed, and anger. He grants boons, 
bestows grace and awakens wisdom in His devotees. The symbolism 
discussed below includes major symbols that are common to all 
pictures and images of Shiva venerated by Hindus. Since the tasks 
of Lord Shiva are numerous, He cannot be symbolized in one form. 
For this reason the images of Shiva vary significantly in their 
symbolism. 

The unclad body covered with ashes: the unclad body symbolizes 
the transcendental aspect of the Lord. Since most things reduce 
to ashes when burned, ashes symbolize the physical universe. 
The ashes on the unclad body of the Lord signify that Shiva is 
the source of the entire universe which emanates from Him, but 
He transcends the physical phenomena and is not affected by it. 

Matted locks: Lord Shiva is the Master of yoga. 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 
yoga. 

Ganga: Ganga (river Ganges) is associated with Hindu mythology 
and is the most sacred river of Hindus. According to tradition, 
one who bathes in Ganga (revered as Mother Ganga) in accordance 
with traditional rites and ceremonies on religious occasions in 
combination with certain astrological events, is freed from sin 
and attains knowledge, purity and peace. 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. 

The crescent moon: is shown on the side of the Lord's head as an 
ornament, and not as an integral part of His countenance. The 
waxing and waning phenomenon of the moon symbolizes the time 
cycle through which creation evolves from the beginning to the 
end. Since the Lord is the Eternal Reality, He is beyond time. 
Thus, the crescent moon is only one of His ornaments, and not 
an integral part of Him. 

Three eyes: Lord Shiva, also called Tryambaka Deva (literally, 
"three-eyed Lord"), is depicted as having three eyes: the sun 
is His right eye, the moon the left eye and fire the third eye. 
The two eyes on the right and left indicate His activity in the 
physical world. The third eye in the center of the forehead 
symbolizes spiritual knowledge and power, and is thus called 
the eye of wisdom or knowledge. Like fire, the powerful gaze 
of Shiva's third eye annihilates evil, and thus the evil-doers 
fear His third eye. 

Half-open 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 and no end. Lord Shiva is the Master of Yoga, as He 
uses His yogic power to project the universe from Himself. The 
half-open eyes also symbolize His yogic posture. 

Kundalas (two ear rings): two Kundalas, Alakshya (meaning 
"which cannot be shown by any sign") and Niranjan (meaning 
"which cannot be seen by mortal eyes") in the ears of the Lord 
signify that He is beyond ordinary perception. Since the kundala 
in the left ear of the Lord is of the type used by women and the 
one in His right ear is of the type used by men, these Kundalas 
also symbolize the Shiva and Shakti (male and female) principle 
of creation. 
Snake around the neck: sages have used snakes to symbolize the 
yogic power of Lord Shiva with which He dissolves and recreates 
the universe. Like a yogi, a snake hoards nothing, carries 
nothing, builds nothing, lives on air alone for a long time, 
and lives in mountains and forests. The venom of a snake, 
therefore, symbolizes the yogic power. 

A snake (Vasuki Naga): 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. The Lord wearing the curled 
snake like an ornament signifies that creation proceeds in 
cycles and is time dependent, but the Lord Himself transcends 
time. The right side of the body symbolizes the human 
activities based upon knowledge, reason and logic. The snake 
looking towards the right side of the Lord signifies that the 
Lord's eternal laws of reason and justice preserve natural 
order in the universe. 

Rudraksha necklace: Rudra is another name of Shiva. Rudra 
also means "strict or uncompromising" and aksha means "eye." 
Rudraksha necklace worn by the Lord illustrates that He uses 
His cosmic laws firmly - without compromise - to maintain law 
and order in the universe. The necklace has 108 beads which 
symbolize the elements used in the creation of the world. 

Varda Mudra: the Lord's right hand is shown in a 
boon-bestowing and blessing pose. As stated earlier, Lord 
Shiva annihilates evil, grants boons, bestows grace, destroys 
ignorance, and awakens wisdom in His devotees. 

Trident (Trisula): a three-pronged trident shown adjacent to 
the Lord symbolizes His three fundamental powers (shakti) of 
will (iccha), action (kriya) and knowledge (jnana). The trident 
also symbolizes the Lord's power to destroy evil and ignorance. 

Damaru (drum): a small drum with two sides separated from 
each other by a thin neck-like structure symbolizes the two 
utterly dissimilar states of existence, unmanifest and manifest. 
When a damaru is vibrated, it produces dissimilar sounds which 
are fused together by resonance to create one sound. The sound 
thus produced symbolizes Nada, the cosmic sound of AUM, which 
can be heard during deep meditation. According to Hindu 
scriptures, Nada is the source of creation. 

Kamandalu: a water pot (Kamandalu) made from a dry pumpkin 
contains nectar and is shown on the ground next to Shiva. 
The process of making Kamandalu has deep spiritual 
significance. A ripe pumpkin is plucked from a plant, its 
fruit is removed and the shell is cleaned for containing 
the nectar. In the same way, 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, symbolized by the nectar in the Kamandalu. 

Nandi: the bull is associated with Shiva and is said to be 
His vehicle. The bull symbolizes both power and ignorance. 
Lord Shiva's use of the bull as a vehicle conveys the idea 
that He removes ignorance and bestows power of wisdom on 
His devotees. The bull is called Vrisha in Sanskrit. 
Vrisha also means dharma (righteousness). Thus a bull 
shown next to Shiva also indicates that He is the etemal 
companion of righteousness. 

Tiger skin: a tiger skin symbolizes potential energy. 
Lord Shiva, sitting on or wearing a tiger skin, illustrates 
the idea that He is the source of the creative energy that 
remains in potential form during the dissolution state of 
the universe. Of His own Divine Will, the Lord activates the 
potential form of the creative energy to project the universe 
in endless cycles. 

Cremation ground: Shiva sitting in the cremation ground 
signifies that He is the controller of death in the physical 
world. Since birth and death are cyclic, controlling one 
implies controlling the other. Thus, Lord Shiva is revered 
as the ultimate controller of birth and death in the 
phenomenal world. 


By Bansi Pandit

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


  • Narasimhaye: If you are able to talk to your or sister and your girl cousins, you will be able to speak to any girl you like. Don't be shy. Try to be confident in
  • arjun: sir please help me I cannot talk to any girl I'm not frank and I am very afraid of doing things I think what the world will think I don't have confide
  • Narasimhaye: I meant do Puja , not pika sorry.
%d bloggers like this: