Shiva as Ardhanareeswara
Lord Shiva is said to be half man and half woman. In the full figure of Shiva, the male and female principles are united. Shiva Linga – the symbol of Lord Shiva which consists of both Lingam (phallus) and yoni (the female organ) represents the totality of his nature and the totality of all created existence.
Appearance and Attributes of Lord Shiva
Lord Shiva is shown either meditating or in the form of a Dancing God Nataraj where his dance is to the beat and rhythm of creation. He is also shown in sculptures with many hands. One pair of hands, for example, represents the balance between life and death. Shiva is ′tri netra′ or three-eyed, and is ′neela kantha′ – blue-necked (having consumed poison to save the world from destruction). Besides, there are a lot many attributes associated with Lord Shiva. Here is a brief description of some of the important symbols that depict Lord Shiva. Each of his depictions signifies a different aspect of his Supreme Being.
Unclad body covered with ashes: This form of Lord Shiva depicts that Lord Shiva’s presence is much higher than this physical phenomenon. According to some scholars, Shiva’s body smeared with cemetery ash points to the philosophy of life and death and the fact that death is the ultimate reality of life.
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