The story of God.
The story of Lord Shiva’s birth.
In the Hindu mythology, Lord Shiva is the Destroyer and the most important one in the Holy Trinity, the other two being Brahma the Creator and Vishnu the Protector. Lord Shiva has always fascinated his followers by his unique appearance: he has not two but three eyes, has ash smeared all over his body, has snakes coiled up around his head and arms, wears tiger and elephant skin, leads a wild life in the cremation grounds far removed from social pretenses, and is known for his proverbial anger.
There is a very interesting story behind the birth of Lord Shiva. One day, Brahma and Vishnu were both arguing about which of them was more powerful and important. Right then amidst the heated discussion, an inexplicable blazing pillar appeared in front of them, whose root and tip were not to be seen.
The roots seemed to penetrate deep into the earth with the tip piercing into the skies beyond eternity. Amazed by the view of this pillar, now both of them wondered which could be this third entity that landed there instantly in a way challenging both of their supremacy. Now their arguments over their supremacy subdued and they started wondering who this entity could be.
The Third Power
Both Brahma and Vishnu set out to locate the start and end of that pillar. Brahma turned into a goose and flew up to find the top of the pillar, while Vishnu turned into a boar and dug into the earth to look for its roots. The process of search happened for ages and the outcome proved futile both of them not being able to succeed in their mission.
After their unsuccessful attempt, both of them felt humbled and came back to their original place only to find Lord Shiva manifesting in front of them in a form they could comprehend and understand. Now they felt Shiva’s power and cosmic existence is much beyond their understanding and in fact it was Lord Shiva who was more powerful than both of them. Thus the divine play of Lord Shiva made them understand that there was this mightier third power that ruled over the universe.
Lord Shiva’s Lifestyle
Lord Shiva is no ordinary god; He is very mysterious and his ways can never be interpreted by the earthly norms and definitions. He performs multiple roles and wields a mighty power over the universe. He takes delight in occupying the crematory ground s and the favorite dress code of Lord Shiva is animal skin and skull garlands. He is always accompanied by a large battalion of fierce looking demons which are also blood thirsty and can devastate anything with a sweeping operation. The entire troop of Lord Shiva and his army are so strange and are constantly engaged in carrying out the multifaceted mission of the Lord in all the known worlds and also beyond.
Lord Shiva’s Meditative Powers
Though Lord Shiva is known better to most people as a ferocious god, he has another mysterious side too – he is known to spend long periods of time in deep meditation in the lofty Himalayas. This absolute silence and stillness on one hand and the vibrant and ferocious exploits on the other hand make is very hard to understand what His original nature is. Thus, looking from several angles, we are always struck with wonder that overtakes any attempt of explaining his ways and nature.
Lord Shiva’s Cosmic Dance
When Shiva is found engaged in his Shiv Tandav, the cosmic dance, it is symbolic of the triumph of Truth over ignorance and impermanence. This eternal dance is so elevating and energizing the entire universe setting every created particle into a strong vibration, thus adding life into matter. Lord Shiva’s dance dispels the clouds of ignorance and instills a faith, hope and wisdom. It banishes the sufferings of his followers and makes them find the light inside their beings.
Lord Shiva and five elements
When Lord Shiva is found engaged in his divine cosmic dance, he projects all the five elements with him including the earth, water, fire, air and the sky depicted respectively in the form of the seat of his dance, the flowing Ganges, the fire teeming up from his palm, the deer symbolizing the air and the cosmic space in which he executes his ecstatic dance.
Destroyer Turns Protector
Once, Lord Shiva saved the gods, demons and the world from destruction by swallowing the poison called Halahal that emanated from the oceans while they churned it together in pursuit of the ambrosia that would bestow immortality. When the fumes of the deadly poison started scorching all that was around, Lord Shiva effortlessly deputed one of his manifestations to collect the poison and immediately swallowed it thereby saving the world. Thus, Lord Shiva is shown as the most compassionate one who is always bent upon ensuring the safety and security of the created universe.
Lord Shiva’s Blue Throat
Lord Shiva is also known by the name of “Nilakaṇtha”, which literally means the blue-throated. When Lord Shiva swallowed the most deadly poison to save the worlds, Goddess Parvati was taken aback and feared the safety of her Master. Therefore she rushed in to hold his neck before the poison could descend down further downwards. This incident made the Lord’s neck turn blue and this is duly depicted in art and the representations of Lord Shiva’s form in different mediums.
Lord Shiva as a Lingam
Lord Shiva is worshipped in the form of the linga – some of which are jyotirlingas – at numerous places across India. The Linga, a sign of masculinity, symbolises Shiva’s role in the creation, sustainance and withdrawal of the Universe.
The Avatars of Lord Shiva
Lord Shiva, similar to Lord Vishnu, had many avatars. It was Virabhadra, an avatar of Lord Shiva, who disrupted Daksha’s yajna and cut off his head. His Bhairava avatar, also known as Kaal Bhairava, was created to protect the Sati Pind. His Durvasa avatar was famous for his short temper. Khandoba was another avatar of Shiva known in Maharashtrian and Kannada cultures. Finally, Hanuman avatar is known as the eleventh Rudraavtaar of Lord Shiva in the era of Lord Rama.