Of many gods worshipped in India, the importance of holy trinity is said to be on the highest dais. Lord Bramha, Lord Vishnu and Lord Shiva forms this trinity. Lord Bramha is known to be the creative force behind the universe. Lord Vishnu is the preserver of the universe and Lord Shiva is traditionally known to be the destroyer. But it would be more appropriate to call him ‘Transformer’.
Lord Shiva is also called Mahadev, which means he is greatest of all Gods. He is known among his devotees with various names which define his true nature. He is satyam, that is the only truth, shivam, that is, someone who is auspicious and sundaram, that is everything which is beautiful and holy. He is Pashamukta – the one who is free from bondages.
In yogic culture, he is worshipped as an Adi yogi or the first yogi. He is also known as Ashutosh. The word Ashutosh means someone who can be delighted with little efforts. Pleased with little things, He has childlike innocence and hence also addressed as Bholenath or Shiv Bhola by His devotees. Even Abhisheka is enough to propitiate Lord Shiva. It is a normal sight in any Shiva temple to see a copper pot or a brass pot, with a hole in it, hung over the linga of Lord Shiva. It is made sure that water falls on the lingam throughout the day.
The consort of Lord Shiva is Parvati. She is the Shakti, She is Jagadamba, also known as the divine mother of the universe. It is believed that the whole universe is the result of union of Lord Shiva and Parvati. The holy river Ganga resides in the matted locks of Lord Shiva. Nandi, the bull is his ride. And hence at the entrance of every Shiva temple, we will find a statue of Nandi.
Most Hindus believe that whosoever worshipped Shiva with an earnest heart will get his desires fulfilled. Lord Shiva is also worshipped him to attain moksha, that is the liberation from cycles of birth and death.
Lord Shiva is a compilation of many characteristics which are contradictory to each other. He is the master of ghosts, demons; He is also known to be ‘Nataraj’ which means king of dance. The credit of creating first Damaru goes to Lord Shiva; he did so with an intention of producing spiritual sounds that create and regulate the universe.
Shaivites believe that Lord Shiva is the ultimate or the Supreme Being. Which means – He is the only creator, preserver and transformer. He represents everything that is pure, holy and serene. Those who are blessed by Shiva have nothing more to ask for!