In Hinduism, Lord Shiva is iconized as all knowing Yogi who lives a simple life in Mount Kailash
"Om Namah Shivaya"
One of the ancient formulas or chanting for invocation which lies in the heart of Vedas is “Om Namah Shivaya”. This chant has deeply rooted in many cultures especially Hinduism. Hindus have always dedicated this chant in order to sing the greatness of Lord Shiva. Lord Shiva is “the Destroyer” among the Trinity gods in terms of divine.
“The Auspicious One”, “Mahadev”, “Shankar”, “Maheshwor”, and “Devendra (Chief of Gods)” are other holy names of Lord Shiva. Mahadev has always been regarded as one of the primary forms of Gods. All three Gods of Trinity have their own purpose or rather what they are capable of. Lord Brahma is also known as Creator, following Lord Shiva known as The Destroyer and Lord Vishnu as The preserver.
In Hinduism, Lord Shiva is iconized as all knowing Yogi who lives a simple life in Mount Kailash in the Himalaya which nowadays lies in Nepal. With the third eye on his forehead, as one of the fearsome power in the universe, Lord Shiva has the snake Vasuki around his neck, crescent moon adorning, Holy River Ganga flowing from Lord Shiva’s matted hear, carrying Trishula and the Damaru as lord’s instruments and blue throat. There are tales of Mahadev having blue throat giving Shankar another name also known as “Nilkantha” because he drank all the “Halahala” poison that appear due to Samudra Manthan to protect humanity and its destructive power. Many believed that Lord Shiva’s third eye’s destructive power is the reason that Lord is called “The Destroyer ”, but it is also believed that it symbolizes His spiritual wisdom and power.
Different Form of Lord Shiva
There are different forms Lord Shiva has taken in order to save humanity or for his personal reason.
1. Panchavaktra Form
Mahadev is largely seen in five of his aspects. They are aghora, Ishana, Tat purusha, vamadeva, and Rudra. Panchavaktra ( Panchamukhi ) form is the one form of all these aspects.
2. Nataraj Form
There is a tale of Mahadev in Hinduism that Mahadev’s dance represents the destruction and creation of the new universe. That form is Nataraj form which is even feared by gods for its destructive powers. His Dance of Bliss reveals the cycle of death, welfare of the world.
Hanuman is one of the ultimate karma yogi and who swore on never ending selfless service to Lord Rama, another form of Lord Vishnu. This form of Lord Shiva is selfless and has provided aid to Rama to defeat the emerging evil for the welfare of the world.
4. Mahamrityunaya Form
This form of Lord Shiva is the greatest conqueror of Death itself.
One of the forms of Shiva is Ardhnarishwara which is half Shiva and half Shakti.
The Shiva Lingam
Lord Shiva is worshipped in his invisible form as the lingam. Linga is considered as the symbol to represent the formless Hindu Deity Lord Shiva. In Hindu tradition, Shiva linga is used for worshipping in Hindu temples. In Hindu legend, Shiva Linga is a symbol of energy of Lord Shiva. Hindu worshippers often represent Shiva Linga along with Yoni, a symbol of energy of Goddess Shakti or Parvati.
In ancient Hindu scriptures, Shiva Purana describes the greatness of Shiva linga as the linga is depicted as the cause of all causes in the universe. It is also said that Lord Shiva appeared from Shiva Linga and that’s why Lord Shiva sometimes seen superior to other Hindu Trinity deity, Lord Brahma and Lord Vishnu . In other Purana of Hindu Scripture, Linga was the first form that appeared when creation took place and will be the last form before the complete destruction of creation took place.
Shiva Linga consists of three different parts. The base part of Shiva Linga is Brahma-Pitha, the middle part is known as “Vishnu-Pitha” and the upper part is known as “Shiva-Pitha”. In India, there are 12 Jyotir Lingas and 5 Pancha-Bhuta Lingas which are considered the holiest Shiva Lingas in India. The 12 Jyotir Shiva Lingas are Kedarnath, Kashi Vishwanath, Somnath, Bajinath, Rameswar, Ghrusneswar, Bhimshankar, Mahakal, Mallikaarjun, Amaleshwar, Nageshwar, and Trymbakeshwar. The five Pancha-Bhuta Lingas are Kalahastishwar, Jambukeshwar, Arunachaleshwar, Ekambareshwar, and Nataraja.
Types of Shiva Lingas
There are various types of Lingas. Mukhalinga is a type of linga where one to five faces of Lord Shiva is carved at the sides and top of Linga. Some Lingas shows Lord Shiva emerging from the linga to show the superiority of Lord Shiva over Lord Brahma and Lord Vishnu. One of the most admired Shiva Linga is Svayambhuva lingas which are self-originated and were made without human beings assistance. Around 70 such lingas are worshipped all over India.
One of the most celebrated festivals in order to worship and celebrate the greatness of Mahadev is Maha Shivaratri . This festival is celebrated every year on the 13th night or the 14th day of Purnima (New Moon) of Shukla Pakshya of the Magha or Phalguna month of the year. In this day, every Hindu people celebrate it by decorating the Shiva Lingam specially. Maha Shivaratri is the day when Lord Shiva creates chaos in the world called “ Tandava ” and on this particular day, Lord Shiva got married to Parvati.