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Shiva – The Renovator

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Lord Shiva is one of God’s in the Trimurthis and is an influential authority in the contemporary Hinduism. He is the supreme God of Shaivites and is one of the five primary forms of God in the Smarta tradition. He is the destroyer or the transformers among the Trimurthis and is also known as Mahadeva or the Great God. Lord Shiva is limitless, transcendent, formless and unchanging. Lord Shiva has many compassionate and frightening forms and he is portrayed as an omniscient Yogi who lives an ascetic life on Mount Kailash. He is also known as a householder who lives with wife Parvati and his two children, Ganesha and Katrikeya. Lord Shiva is often portrayed as slaying demons in fierce aspects. Lord Shiva is the benefactor God of Yoga and arts. The main notable features are His third eye on his forehead and the snake Vasuki around his neck.

The crescent moon decorates his head and the river Ganga flows from Lord Shiva’s matted hair and his weapon is Trishula and the musical instrument is damaru. Shiva has trident in the right lower arm and is said to be fair as camphor or like an ice clad mountain. The five serpents and a garland of skulls are his ornaments and he always faces the south. The trident is a symbolism of the unity of three worlds a human faces, the inside world, immediate world and broader overall world. The three forks of the trident unite at the base of the trident. Lord Shiva is supposed to have 6 heads of which the five heads (Isana, Tatpurusha, Vamadeva, Aghora and Sadyojata) are visible. The 6th head (Adhomukh) can be seen only by the enlightened ones. Lord Shiva is worshipped in the aniconic form of Lingam. The word aniconic is used to describe the absence of any graphic representations in a particular belief system.

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