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Shiva Home -› Hindu Trinity -› The Destroyer -› Shiva
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[shiva - the cosmic dancer]
[shiva - the ascetic]
Shiva is also called by the well-known name of NATARAJA, the lord of the cosmic dance. Numerous images of Shiva in his dancing pose are available throughout India and this image of Shiva is also the most popular one amongst the foreigners. The small drum of Lord Shiva 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 Supreme Deity, and carries revelations and the truth. Sound with atmospheric either also represents the primeval outburst of creation.

Shiva's name SHANKARA means the Giver of Joy, and other name SHAMBHU means the Abode of Joy. As MAHESHWARA he is the Divine Lord, the source of knowledge. In Maheshwara are coordinated the three energies from which knowledge flows, the power of understanding (JNANA), the will (ICCHA) and action (KRIYA). Shiva is MAHAKAL, the Lord of Death but much more correctly the Lord of Time. Before anything could come to exist, time has to be present. In fact time is the first condition for the existence of the world. It is prior to space.

The image of ARDHANARISHWARA, half-male and half-female, represents Lord Shiva as the union of substance and energy, the life principle and Shakti.

Shiva's another well-known name is Yogi Raja, i.e., the Lord of Yoga. He is himself represented as the perfect or the greatest ascetic. He is the last word in austerity, penance and meditation. This method of Yoga is different from rituals and therefore in some earlier Hindu scriptures, Shiva is accused of teaching the secrets of higher truths to those who are low born or who are not properly qualified for ritual practices. To Lord Shiva is attributed revealing to mankind the method and technique of Yoga, which in these days is very popular in the West.

This god in many images is shown to have five faces looking towards East, West, North and South while the fifth one is shown looking upward. The five aspects represented by these five faces are:

The face looking upward is called ISHANA (the Ruler), and is copper-colored. He is the embodiment of all forms of learning and represents the enjoyer of nature, (Kshetrajan).

The eastern face of Shiva is called TAT-PURUSHA (the Supreme Man) and is yellow-colored. It represents all nature connected with earth, the sense of smell and the anus as the organ of action.

The western face of Shiva is red and is called YAMA DEVA (the Left- hand Deity); it represents Ego (Ahamkara) and corresponds to the element fire. It is connected with the sense of sight.

The southern face of Shiva is blue or sometimes blue-black, it is called AGHORA BHAIRAV (the Non-fearful or the Frightful), it represents Intellect (Buddhi) and Eternal Laws (Dharma). It is connected with the sense of hearing and the organ of speech.

The northern face of Shiva is called SADYOJAT (the suddenly born) and is white in color. It represents the mind and corresponds to sacrificial elixir (Soma).
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