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Shiva is also known by Nataraja, the god of the cosmic dance. He is the 3rd energy in the trinity of the Hindu Gods. Several images of him in his dancing pose are seen in temples in India. He destroys to create new life.He eliminates and disintegrates. As a gracious lord, he is widely known as Bholenath, Vishwanath, Shankar, Mahadev. He is the one who is famous for his destructive-nature Mahakal, Bhairva, unseen Rudra. The small drum of Siva is the symbol of rhythm and sound. In fact rhythm is there in the whole movement of the universe and sound is the medium, musical and divine, that comes from the word of the Supreme Deity, and carries revelations and truth. Sound with ether also represents the birth of creation.
Shiva is the third member of the Hindu Trinity. Just as Brahma is responsible for the creation and Vishnu for sustenance, Siva is responsible for the destruction and recreation of the universe. After the disintegration of the universe, there is a haunting void, followed by regeneration of universe once again. Shiva is a positive force that destroys and also regenerates virtue. The cycle continues era after era by the Gods of the Hindu Trinity. Shiva is said to be Anaadi (without a beginning) and Anant(without an end).
Shiv is often called Bhola Nath, Bhola means innocent, simple-hearted, unsophisticated. Bhole is pronounced differently, but has a similar meaning. Nath means master. Together, the two words mean a simple-heart. Some also take the name to mean the Good One, or the Pure One. The repetition of the name in mantra meditation purifies an individual.
Shiva is worshipped as the Linga, or Lingam, meaning the phallus. There are three horizontal lines on his forehead. The thick coil of his long and matted hair is piled like a crown on the head.
The river Ganga emerges from this topknot, and the crescent moon adorns his head. He has four arms; one a trishul(trident), while the other two hands offer protection and blessings respectively. The damaru is representative of the universal sound ‘Om’, the source of language and expression. Shiva’s trishul is a reminder of the functions of the Hindu Trinity-creation, sustenance and dissolution.
Shiva’s consort is Parvati, daughter of Himavant, and they are blessed with two sons, Ganesh and Kartikeya. Nandi, a bull, is his choice of a vehicle. They reside at Mount Kailash, deep in the Himalayas. Shiva and Parvati had two sons – Ganesh and Kartikeya. Kartikeya was conceived with the purpose of putting an end to the terror created by the demon Tarakasura while Lord Ganesh is recognized as the Supreme Leader, the Lord who overcomes all obstacles and is the leader of Ganas.
Shiva is known to be a great musician, dancer and master of several arts. As all forms of dance are believed to have sprung from him, he is known as Nataraj, the king of dancers.
Shiva’s dance is symbolic of the process of creation, sustenance and destruction. While the damaru symbolizes sound, a principle of creation, the fire denotes destruction. Shiva is also known by a thousand names. The Shiva Sahasranama lists 1008 names. Just as many of his names describe his attributes and benevolence, there are also names that describe his power to destroy.
Saawan is the holy month that comes every year in July/August. It is month where all women observe "fasting" for their husbands for their long lives. Some people fast for the whole month and some fast on Mondays for Lord Shiva.Almost every day of the month is considered very important .
The story behind this holy month Saawan is that “Churning of Ocean” (Samundra Manthan) took place in this holy month of Shravan. When the Poison came out ,Lord Shiva swallowed all the poison in his mouth and his throat turned blue because of the poison.To reduce the impact of poison Lord Shiva wore the crescent moon on his head and other Gods started offering him the water of Holy Ganges to reduce the poison effect.
Many people go to the holy place Haridwar where they go along with the 'kanvar'. Kanvar is a single pole with two dangling from opposite ends in which they carry the holy water of Ganga and pour it on Lord Shiva’s shivalingm. It is said that when Lord Shiva swallowed the poison then Ravan one of his devotee, brought holy water of Ganga in kanvar.
Lord Shiva is a very innocent God and the destroyer of all the evil. During Saawan month you should wear Rudraksha and use it for the Japa. Also keeping Lord Shiva's statue at home is to be around all positive energies. To earn Blessings of Lord Shiva observe fast on every Monday of this month.
Say this mantra: OM NAMAH SHIVAY