Shiva The First Yogi
In Yoga, Lord Shiva is considered as the Adi Yogi or the Adi Guru as he is said to be the foremost among the yogis and the first teacher of the science of Yoga. Hindu Shastras and scriptures depict him to be sitting in lotus pose on Mount Kailash, in deep samadhi, unmoved by the events of the universe. LORD SHIVA represents the destructive aspect of Brahman, the Supreme Soul. Lord Shiva is the all-pervading Isvara, and who also dwells in Mount Kailash. He is the storehouse for wisdom. Shiva minus Parvati is pure Nirguna Brahman. With Maya (Parvati), He becomes the Saguna Brahman for the purpose of the pious devotion of His devotees. Devotees of Rama must worship Lord Shiva also. Rama Himself worshipped Lord Shiva at the famous Rameswaram. Lord Shiva is the Lord of ascetics and Lord of Yogins, robed in space (Digambara).
Lord Shiva’s Form And Its Significance
Lord Shiva has a Trident in the right lower arm. He wears a garland of skulls. He is pressing with His feet the demon Muyalaka, a dwarf holding a cobra. He faces south. His body is smeared with sacred ash. At His forehead is a crescent moon symbolizing mystical vision and knowledge. The serpent coiled around His neck symbolizes the mysterious kundalini Shakti present in all of us. The flow of the River Ganges from His crown represents the nectar of immortality or the perpetual purification, which He bestows upon His devotees. He is the three-eyed deity with His third eye or the eye of wisdom in the center of His forehead. He has also been given the name “Neelakantha”. He is said to have drunk the poison that emerged during the mythological churning of the ocean by the Devtas and the Asuras, thereby protecting the world from its harmful effects. His trident “Trisul” that is held in His right hand represents the three Gunas—Sattva, Rajas, and Tamas. He rules the world through these three Gunas. The Damaru in His left hand represents the Sabda Brahman. It represents OM from which all languages are formed. It is He who formed the Sanskrit language out of the Damaru sound.
Tiger represents lust and His sitting on the tiger’s skin indicates that He has conquered lust. His holding deer in one hand indicates that He has controlled the tossing of the mind. Deer jumps from one place to another swiftly. The mind also jumps from one object to another. Lord Shiva has the white complexion. The significance of the white color is that people should have a pure heart and entertain pure thoughts and should be free from crookedness, diplomacy, cunningness, jealousy, hatred, etc. Lord Siva rides on the bull and that is His vehicle and the bull represents Dharma Devata. This denotes that Lord Siva is the protector of Dharma.
Is Lord Shiva The Destroyer?
Lord Shiva is part of the Hindu Trinity, along with Vishnu and Brahma wherein Brahma is considered as creator; Vishnu, the preserver, and Lord Shiva the Destroyer. Lord Shiva, in reality, is the Regenerator and not the Destroyer. Whenever one’s physical body becomes unfit for further evolution in this birth either by disease, old age, or other causes, He at once removes this rotten physical sheath and gives a new and healthy body for further quick evolution. He wants to take all His children to His lotus feet quickly. Hindu scriptures say that it is easier to please Lord Shiva. A little love and devotion, a little chanting of His Panchakshari, is quite sufficient to infuse delight in Shiva. He gives boons to His devotees quite readily.
Engaged With Individual Souls
Lord Shiva is the God of Love. His grace is infinite & He is the Saviour and Guru. He is engaged in freeing the souls from the bondage of matter. He assumes the form of Guru out of the intense love for mankind. He wishes that all should know Him and attain the blissful Siva-Pada. He watches the activities of the individual souls and helps them in their onward march.
Lord Shiva is an embodiment of wisdom. He is the Light of lights. He is Parama Jyoti or Supreme Light. He is self-luminous or Swayam Jyoti. The dance of Shiva represents the rhythm and movement of the world-spirit. At His dance, the evil forces and darkness quiver and vanish. Shiva means that which is eternally happy or auspicious, Parama-Mangala. Om and Shiva are one. Mandukya Upanishad says: Santam Sivam Advaitam. Even an outcaste can meditate on the Name of Lord Shiva. He is not limited by time. He is infinite bliss and infinite intelligence.