Greater Noida (4/3/2019) : Maha Shivratri is amongst one of the most anticipated and awaited Hindu festivals. It is celebrated with great reverence and enthusiasm in honour of Lord Shiva. Stories pertaining to the reason why Maha Shivratri is celebrated along with traditions and customs associated with it make for a truly informative and interesting read.
This Maha Shivratri here is 9 interesting facts about Lord Shiva:
1.His attire :
Lord Shiva is often represented with a snake named Vasuki, coiled around his neck. The snake represents the fact that he controls death and fear. A crescent moon adorns his hair as Holy River Ganga flows out from his head. The crescent moon represents the time cycle. Trishul or his trident is an important part of his identity that he uses as his weapon. The three spikes represent the three gunas such as sattva, rajas and tamas. Sattva is the basis of creation while rajas stand for continuity and Tamas is the base of destruction. The damru is his musical instrument of choice. The objects that Lord Shiva carries in his hands signify five elements that project the Lord as the Supreme head of creation.
2. 108 Names :
From Mahadev, Neelkantha and Shiva to Mahakaal, Shrikanth, Triolokesh, Lord Shiva has more than 108 names. Interestingly, each of his names highlights a special attribute or a quality or a mythological event. Lord Shiva is prayed to as the creator, preserver as well as the destroyer of our world. The number 108 is considered to be an important number in Hinduism.
Many say, Shiva had friends from all races. He spent his time in crematoriums and was quite pally with ghosts too and hence, he was named, Bhooteshwara. King Daksha, father of Sati, had a hard time accepting Shiva after knowing his friends’ circle. We don’t blame you, Mr. Daksha!
4. Plastic Surgeon
If you don’t believe in myths, I’ll give you a logical explanation behind Shiva being a surgeon. Remember the time when he cut Ganesha’s sweet handsome face and replaced it with that of an elephant? Yes, he did a face transplant.
5.Calm and Furious:
The mountains, snow and the snake around Lord Shiva’s neck is a symbol representing his sense of calmness. He is considered to be a sign of calm and peace. At the same time, we all know about the anger of Lord Shiva. It is believed that Lord Shiva took the form of Nataraja and performed the famous Tandava or the dance of destruction to crush the arrogant Apasmara under his right foot. Shiva’s Nataraja avatar is a message that ignorance can only be overcome with knowledge, music, and dance.
6.Ashes and the Third Eye:
The three horizontal lines of ash on Lord Shiva’s forehead refer to the destruction of the three worlds of Hinduism. Another attribute that sets lord Shiva apart is the presence of the third eye on his forehead. The third eye represents the future. Therefore He is viewed as the Lord of all three times – past, present and future. Two eyes stand for sun and moon, the third eye stands fo Agni or fire.
On Shivaratri, the Shaivites, a sect of followers, consume Bhang (a beverage prepared from cannabis) and smoke weed. This offering is quite popular among followers. Mythology states that Lord Shiva does smoke Marijuana in various forms. But, in his defence, it is believed that this is pure to survive the climatic extremities of the mountains.
Much like Lord Ram and Goddess Sita, Shiv-Parvati is also cited as an example of perfect marriage. Lord Shiva is represented in the Ardhanarishwar form – which is a half male and half female icon. It is often said that this androgynous form shows that the masculine energy (Purusha) and feminine energy (Prakrithi) of the universe in a synthesis.
9. Shiva burnt the Indian Cupid? So sad!
Yes, Shiva is believed to have burnt Kamadeva, the Hindu god of love to ashes. Kamadeva can also be called our Indian Cupid!