Lord Shiva is the famous God from India. In Sanskrit Shiva is called the “Auspicious One”, the patron of Yogis and Brahmins, and also the protector of the Vedas, the sacred texts. He is both the great ascetic and the master of fertility, and is said to dwell on the Holy Mount Kailasa in the Himalayas.
There are many Shiva temples in India. In temples and in private shrines, Shiva is also worshipped in the form of the lingam, a cylindrical votary object that is often embedded in a yoni, or spouted dish. His hair is arranged in a coil of matted locks (jatamakuta) and adorned with the crescent moon and the Ganges River (according to legend, He brought the Ganges River to earth from the sky, where she is the Milky Way, by allowing the river to trickle through his hair, thus breaking her fall).
Shiva the Great Lord
Lord Shiva represents Consciousness and Liberation. Liberation can also mean the elimination and destruction of anything negative and harmful.
At Shiva’s side there are two female divinities. Their names are ASURI SHAKTI and DEVI SHAKTI. Asuri Shakti represents the destructive, divisive energy within us, and Devi Shakti the positive, constructive and uniting power.
Through a positive lifestyle, confident attitude to life, keeping spiritual company (Satsang), good thoughts, understanding, forgiveness, helping and giving, Asuri Shakti is gradually transformed into Devi Shakti.
Shiva and Shakti are the primal principles of creation. Other terms for this are: Purusha (Self) and Prakriti (Nature), Yin and Yang, masculine and feminine principles.
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The Shiva Lingam Symbol
An important symbol is the SHIVA LINGAM, an astral symbol for creativity, creative power and Consciousness. In this symbol a snake winds around the Shiva Lingam three and a half times. The three rotations of the serpent represent the first three levels of consciousness – unconscious, subconscious and conscious; and the half turn refers to the awakened super-consciousness. As the head of the snake is pointing downwards this is an indication that the evolutionary process can also again go downwards. Wisdom does not develop by itself; it needs constant, conscious effort to purify the thoughts and steer the actions towards the good.
The evolution of consciousness is connected with time, and the snake is also known as KALA (time, past or death). Therefore, the winding of the snake around the Shiva Lingam can also represent the three times – past, present and future.
Shiva is the Supreme Divine Consciousness and original foundation of the Universe.
Shiva and Shakti
Adi Shiva is the uncreated creator of the Cosmos (Svayambhu). He represents Ananda (Bliss), Purusha (pure Consciousness) and Moksha (Liberation). He is perfect, eternal and divine, and radiant like a million Suns. No Karmas can touch Him, all impurities melt and burn in His proximity. Only purity, clarity, light, love and truth emanate from Him.
The trench that separates Shiva and Shakti (otherwise known as Purusha and Prakriti – consciousness and nature) is “not-knowing”, and the consequence of “not-knowing” are emotions full of suffering, such as loneliness, sadness, bitterness, fear, doubt, etc., that accompany us through life. The bridge across this gap of ignorance is blocked by barriers and the rocks of numerous Karmas and restrictive qualities. The way to Peace and Deliverance is through meditation, prayer and the Grace of Lord Shiva.
The History of Lord Shiva
Shiva is mentioned in the ancient Indian texts when they talk about yoga. He is seen as the first yogi or Adiyogi, and the first Guru or Adi Guru.
He is known as the Lord of Dance and the Lord of Yoga and He is so often seen sitting in repose. The 108 dance poses of Lord Shiva include many movements and vinyasas.
He appears in the Puranas which are mentioned in the Atharvaveda and the Satapatha Brahmana texts. There are also references to the Puranas in the Upanishads.
Shiva taught the Seven Great Sages (Saptarishis), who had attained a semi-immortal status, which was an exceedingly long life span due to their Yogic powers and by the power of their penance.
These Saptarishis are extolled in many places in the Vedas and Hindu literature. The earliest list of the Seven Rishis is given by Jaiminiya Upanishad Brahmana or the Talavakara Upanishad Brahmana which is a Vedic text.
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