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  • Lord Siva has at least four quite distinct characters
    Lord Siva has at least four quite distinct characters admin
    admin on Tuesday, January 27, 2015
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    Shiv [4]

    Lord Siva has at least four quite distinct characters, each of which has a female or active energising counterpart (shakti).

    In the first place, as Siva, Sada-Siva, Shankara or Shambhu, the eternally blessed one or the source of blessings. He is the eternal reproducing power of nature, perpetually restoring and reproducing itself after dissolution, under which Siva is often identified with the eternal creative essence, the great eternal Supreme being as Maha-Deva or the Supreme Lord termed Ishwara. Hence in this aspect Siva is represented by the symbol of the Lingam and the Yoni combined.

    Temples that hold this Siva’s emblem or symbol, which is of a double form to express the blending of the male and female principles in creation, are probably the most numerous of any temples to be seen in India. There can be no doubt, in fact, that the Supreme creative power is universally worshipped throughout India, under the name of Siva and of his consort Jagan-Matri, or Mother of the universe.

    In the second place, as Maha-Yogi is the great representative Yogi or Tapasvi, who has attained the highest perfection and meditation and austerity. In this aspect Siva appears as an austere naked ascetic (Digambara) with body covered with ashes and matted hair (dhurjati), abiding fixed and immovable in one spot (sthanu), teaching men by his own example the power to be acquired by renunciation, suppression of passions, and abstract contemplation and meditation as leading to the highest spiritual knowledge. In this aspect of the yogi, as in that of the reproducer, He is also sometimes called the ‘Blessed one’ (Siva).

    In the third place, Siva is the entire reverse of the ascetical. In this aspect, living in the Himalaya mountains with his consort Parvati, often dancing with her the Tandava dance, He is surrounded by dwarfish troops (gana). This is the aspect in which He is worshipped by Tantrikas.

    In the fourth place, as Rudra or Mahakala, he is the destroying or dissolving power of nature; when he is either a personification of all matter resolving itself into its constituent elements or of Kala (Time), the great dissolver. The more active principle of destruction being assigned to his consort Kali.

    In the fourth place, there are yet two other aspects of Siva. In the first of these, as the dissolver of the universe, He is the terrible destroyer (Bhairav), with His consort Kali engaged in the active role.

    In the second of these, He is also called Bhuteswara, Lord of spirits or demons, haunting cemeteries and burial grounds, wearing serpents for garlands, and a string of skulls for a necklace. As Bhuteswara, He is sometimes surrounded by troops of imps and spirits (bhuta), and sometimes He is trampling on rebellious demons who have acquired too great power.

    Here we may observe that in every one of his aspects, the consort of Siva is not only His counterpart, but generally represents an intensification of his attributes. As destructress, She is Kali, as reproducer she is symbolised by the Yoni (Siva’s emblem). She is the mother of the universe (Jagan-matri). She is the type of beauty in Uma. She has also her forms as a female ascetic (yogini). In her role as destructress, she is Bhairavi Durga. As a mountaneer, she is Parvati. All these attributes are combined in her aspect of Mother Durga.

    Siva and Parvati represent the gathering together, and unifying in one personality, numerous attributes, properties and functions belonging to various deities and various divine forces.

    The destructive energies of the atmosphere exhibited in wind and storm and personified in the Vedas as Vayu, Rudra and the Maruts; the all consuming potency of time; the fertilising properties present in dew and rain; the almighty agencies operating in creation and the same agencies operating as re-creation or reproduction; the power of asceticism exhibited in the Maha-yogi; the terrific frightful agencies and operations of demons and spirits; as Siva, Sada-Siva, Shankara, Shambhu- the eternally blessed one or causer of blessings; He is the eternal reproducing power of nature, perpetually restoring and reproducing itself after dissolution. Under which He is identified with the eternal creative essence, the great eternal Supreme Being as Maha-Deva or Supreme Lord Ishwara.

    Hence in this aspect, Siva is represented by the symbol of the linga and yoni, rather than by any human personification. The Siva-Linga symbolises the blending of the male and female principles in creation. This Supreme creative power is universally worshipped throughout India under the name of Siva and His consort Jagan-Matri- mother of the universe- all these have been centralised in Siva and His consort personified as half male and half female known as Ardhanarishwara (symbolising the union of spirit and matter).

                               
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