Symbolism Behind The Form Of Shiva


Significance of Crescent Moon on Lord Shiva’s Head

Shiva Tattva is where there is no mind and the moon signifies the mind. When there is no mind then how can this ‘no mindedness’ be expressed and how can anybody understand it? You need a little bit of the mind to understand, experience and to express.
The no-mind, infinite consciousness requires that little bit of mind to express itself in the manifest world. So, to express that inexpressible, that little mind (crescent moon) is on the head.
Wisdom is beyond the mind, but it needs to be expressed with a tinge of mind and this is symbolized by the crescent moon.

Lord Shiva Symbol

Significance of Lord Shiva’s Damru

Damru symbolizes the Universe which is always expanding and collapsing. From an expansion it collapses and then it re-expands, this is the process of creation.
If you see your heartbeat, it is not just one straight line but it is a rhythm that goes up and down. The whole world is nothing but rhythms; energy rising and collapsing to rise again. So the damru signifies that. Look at the shape of the damru, from expansion it collapses and again expands.

The darmru is also a symbol of sound. Sound is rhythm and sound is energy. The whole universe is nothing but a wave function, it is nothing but rhythms. What does quantum physics say? It says the same thing – the whole universe is nothing but rhythms. It is just one wave (Adviata). So the damru signifies the non-dual nature of the universe.

Significance of Serpent around Lord Shiva’s Neck

A state of samadhi where there is nothing, just the inner sky of consciousness, is Shiva; where there is alertness and no action. To describe this alertness they put a snake around Shiva’s neck. So the serpent is a symbol of alertness.

In the state of meditation when the eyes are closed, it gives the impression that the person is sleeping, but he is not asleep, he is alert. To express this state of consciousness, a snake is shown around Lord Shiva’s neck.

Significance of Lord Shiva’s Trishul (Trident)

Trishul represents the three aspects of consciousness – waking, dreaming and sleeping, and it represents the three gunas – satva, rajas and tamas. Holding a trishul (Trident) signifies that Shiva (the divinity) is above all the three states – waking, dreaming and sleeping, yet is the upholder of these three states.
The divinity is beyond the three gunas, but it holds the three gunas together.

Shul means problems or suffering. Trishul means that which destroys all kind of suffering.
Three types of pain that arise in life:
1. Aadibhautik (physical)
2. Aadhyaatmik (spiritual) and
3. Aadidaivik (ethereal)
What relieves you from all the problems and suffering is the trishul. And it is in the hand of Shiva.

Significance of River Ganga flowing from Lord Shiva’s Head

Ganga means knowledge; knowledge that purifies your soul. Head is always the symbol of knowledge. Heart is the symbol of love.
If Ganga were to be love, it should have come out of the heart of Lord Shiva. It is coming out of the head, because it simply means knowledge.

Knowledge is liberating, knowledge brings freedom, knowledge is purifying. All these are the characteristics of knowledge. Knowledge is also movement; motion. So Ganga (knowledge) has to come out of Lord Shiva’s (the divinity’s) head.

Significance of Lord Shiva’s Third Eye

The third eye is associated with alertness and awareness.

Significance of Shiva’s Blue Body

Blue means like the Sky. Blue signifies all pervading, infinity which has no limits. It has no shape. Shiva does not have a body. Shiva was never a person at all. To symbolize the unfathomable, the infinite Divinity and to make that Divinity comprehensible to people, the ancient Rishis made a form.

Knowledge has no shape but it infiltrates each and every particle of the universe.
The whole world is filled with Shiva – whose body is in the whole universe.


Significance of Shiva Linga

Lingam means identification, a symbol through which you can identify what the truth is, what the reality is. What is not visible but yet can be identified by one thing, that is lingam.
When a baby is born, how do you know whether the baby is a male or female? Only through one part of the body can you identify whether this baby is a boy or a girl. That is the reason the genital is also called lingam.

Similarly, how do you identify the Lord of this Creation? He has no form! So then they said that there should be a sign to identify Him. So the sign, by which you identify both the male and female forms, combining them both to form one single symbol to identify the Lord who has no form or identity; who is all pervading in this entire Brahmanda (Creation), is Shiva Lingam.

Shiva Linga is very ancient, in fact most ancient. From the form, you go to the formless, through the Shiva Linga. It is a symbol that is the representation of the cosmos and the creator of the cosmos, as one.
It is the Shiva and the Shakti, the two principles in the creation. The silent un-manifest and the dynamic manifestation together are represented as Shiva Linga. Shiva Linga is not just Shiva, but the completion of the total Supreme Consciousness.

Significance of Nandi (Bull) – Vehicle of Lord Shiva

Bull has been used as a symbol of dharma (righteousness) from a long time, throughout the world. Lord Shiva riding on the bull simply means that when you are righteous and truthful, the infinite consciousness, the innocent consciousness is with you.

Significance of Shiva Tandav

The whole creation is the dance of one consciousness (Shiva). The one consciousness danced and manifested into a million species in the world. So this infinite creation is the dance of Lord Shiva or Shiva Tandav. The whole world is a place of Shiva.

Significance of Kailasa – The Abode of Shiva

The abode of Shiva is in Mount Kailasa, and the smashana (the cremation ground).
Kailasa means ‘where there is only celebration‘, and smashana is where there is only void. The Divinity dwells in the void as well as in celebration. And in you there is void, in you there is celebration.

Significance of Chanting ‘Om Namah Shivaya’

Om Namah Shivaya is one of the very powerful mantras. It builds the energy in your system and clears the environment. Mantras are those energizing sounds which help to uplift the consciousness.

Om Namah Shivaya, these words are very important because ‘Na’, ‘Ma’, ‘Shi’, ‘Va’, ‘Ya’, these five letters indicate the five elements – Earth, Water, Fire, Air and Ether.
Om is the sound of the universe. Om means peace and love.
So when there is peace, love and harmony in all the five elements then there is bliss and there is joy!

Mantras are greater than the power of the horoscope. Whatever be the effects of the planets, you can remove them by chanting Om Namah Shivaya.

Symbolism of Lord Shiva

What does Shiva Symbolize?

What is the meaning of Different Ornaments [things] on the body of Lord Shiva?

These are few things which come to the mind of every individual when we look at Lord Shiva as he is the only god who was born in a Grave yard and have never believed in having belief in ornaments, and have never worn any, yet he is with few things on him which are definitely worth Knowing about them

It has now become really important to the current generation to know the importance of different things on God Shiva, as to create awareness on the greatness and also to create the spiritual awareness

Below is the importance of each and single ornament which Lord Shiva Carries with him

  • Trishula

Trishula is one of the weapons which Lord Shiva Carries with him along with his power, it is the same which was used to separate the head of Lord Ganesha during his fight with lord Shiva and was later replaced with the head of Elephant

The Trishula has three parts to it, it the Trident, the three parts represent three powers of lord Shiva i.e. THE KNOWLEDGE, THE DESIRE, The IMPLEMENTATION

  • Ash on his Body

Lord Shiva’s Body is always found to be powdered with Ash, it represents real truth of life where everybody has to end their life in fire [Lord Shiva was born in a graveyard and have lived his life there with ash of dead bodies powdered on his body.]

  • Drum in Trishul

The drum represents the sounds which are of VEDAs, and the scriptures; which would help humans to live through this life in a better form

  • Goddess Ganga

AS lord Shiva has taken the halahala into his throat to save the world, which came out during the process of sagara madhanam, all the gods started offering water to god to reduce the effect of halahala

Ganges is the Holy River and it also signifies the great Teachings by spreading wisdom and offering purest water to the humans; adding to its Water from Ganges is used for all the Rituals performed to lord Shiva.

  • Moon

Moon on the Head of Lord Shiva Symbolized to say that Lord Shiva is the Time and he is Timeless and he is the ETERNAL reality of this world and way beyond the Time

  • Serpent

Lord Shiva’s neckline is always found with a Snake rounded on his neck, if seen clearly the Serpent [snake] is rounded Three times on this neck, symbolizing the entire series of this universe

The First Circle Representing the “PAST”, the Second turn representing The “PRESENT” the Third circle for “FUTURE”. The snake also signifies the Ego which only the one who has mastered with it can wear it.

It is the sign of maximum accomplishment and be in command on his mind and ego.

  • Rudraksha

Rudraksha is the symbol of Purity and known for its own power on human bodies, the mala in the hands of lord Shiva represents or symbolizes the level of concentration and control which Lord Shiva possesses

  • Third Eye

Lord Shiva is normally known as three eyed god, as he has three eyes unlike all other gods

The Right and left eyes are as normal as others, adding to it he has one more eye on his Forehead it is in the form of Large Oval shape

The right and left eye represent the Sun and the moon, where as the third eye is the eye of knowledge and it is eye for wisdom, if opened it would destroy the evils into ashes

  • Tiger Skin

Lord Shiva is always depicted by sitting on the Tiger Skin, Tiger is the wild animal or it can also be said as force which normal human beings are scared to face it; as Lord Shiva is the Time, he is force, he is the creator of this world, lord Shiva sitting on the Tiger skin symbolizes to say he is FEARLESS and has conquered the Forces of this world

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