The Lord Shiva: Hindu Traditions Essay

1151 words - 5 pages

In the Hindu religion there are three main gods, apart of the triumvirate, and those are: Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva. The god Shiva is important in this triumvirate because he is the destroyer of the world. Shiva is the destroyer, but he also has many other complex roles and many of those roles tend to contradict each other. The god Shiva has many names and is the god of various aspects of life including yoga and dance. Shiva has gained a large following in the Hindu religion and those that follow him are called Shaivas.
Shiva is known as the destroyer of the world, but he also has many other roles. According to The Hindu Traditions Shiva is the; creator and destroyer, movement and tranquility, light and dark, and man and woman. These roles tend to be contradicting but Shiva has these roles in order to show that these things are more closely related than they appear to be. There are four main images of Shiva and they include: Mahayogi, Nataraja, Ardhaharishvara, and lingam. The four images of Shiva represent his different roles. The image of Shiva as the Mahayogi presents him in meditation and in a serene state. In this state Shiva is wearing animal skins and his eyes are only half open. The animal skin is a representation of being in touch with nature and his eyes are symbolizing that he is only partially in the world according to The Hindu Tradition’s. In the Mahayogi image he also tends to have a three prong trident that represents dominance over intelligence, mind and body. The cobra wrapped around his neck is his power over ego and in his hair is where the goddess Ganga lives. The image of Nataraja is one of the more famous images of Shiva and it displays him dancing. He is famous for his dancing and is often referred to as the lord of the dance. In this image Shiva’s arms hold importance and symbolize the creation and destruction of the world and tells his followers not to fear and find refuge. One foot crushes demons while the other represents freedom. The third representation of Shiva is Ardhanarishvara and this is when Shiva is represented as half man and half woman. This depicts the essential nature of man and woman being together. There are some scholars who believe that the woman portrayed in this image is Shiva’s wife Parvati. The last image of Shiva is the lingam and is most often found in temples dedicated to Shiva. The lingam is the representation of a male and female half and their unity.
The history of Shiva and his wife plays an important role in understanding Shiva. Shiva’s wife Parvati was a reincarnation of Sati the daughter of god Daksha and fell in love with Shiva. Daksha did not want his daughter to marry Shiva and forbid it from happening. Sati’s father even held a large gathering and took the time to worship all the gods, but excluded Shiva. Sati was filled with anger and made the decision to throw herself on to a fire and kill herself if she could not be with Shiva. After Sati killed herself Shiva was enraged and...

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