Lord Shankar known as Shiva is one of the Gods of the Trinity (three manifestations namely Creation, Preservation and Destruction of the Supreme - Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva). He is considered to be the God of Destruction. Shankara means Sham Karoti = the one who does good. Shiva also means ‘auspicious’ or ‘good’; or ‘doer of welfare’. Then why is he considered as the Destroyer? He destroys evil powers and unwanted things and situations, like a farmer who ploughs the land to remove unnecessary and unwanted things from there to enable the earth to be clean for creation or production which Brahma, the Creator undertakes.

Lord Shankara or Shiva sits in a meditative pose in Kailas in the Himalayas. His posture indicates inner harmony and poise. He revels in the Ananda (bliss) of the transcendental Reality. He also symbolizes the absolute purity of mind. He maintains serenity, equanimity and tranquility in all circumstances. He carries a trident with three prongs symbolizing the three gunas –Sattwa, Rajas and tamas – the modes of character of human beings, namely purity and contemplative quality, passion, agitation and activity, and dullness and inaction. The trident in His hand is meant to destroy the three gunas in human beings, which will enable them to destroy the ego and realize the Supreme within.

His consort is Uma or Parvati who symbolizes the famine aspect of nature and motherhood. Shakara and Parvati are two aspects of nature – man and woman; both together mo the universe forward and they cannot be considered as different from each other. Both together are called Arddha Naareeswara(the Lord who is half man and half woman; meaning the Lord carrying the power of man and the love of woman) .

Without the grace of Lord Shankara and Bhavani (Parvati’s other name) who are the synonyms of faith and trust, nobody will be able to realize oneself. As Sant Tulsidas says:

“ Bhavani Shankarasu Vande Shraddha vishwasa roopinau.
Yaabhyaam vinaa na pashyanti siddhah swantastham eeshwaram."

 

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