Lord Shiva is one of the highly revered Gods in Hinduism. Known as the God of the Gods, the multifaceted personalities of Lord Shiva strikes a chord among all the followers of the Hindu religion due to which He is widely worshipped greatly on a daily basis. According to Hindu mythology, Lord Shiva is easy to please and the devotees who prays to Him with a clean and concentrated mind has the ability to receive His blessings and become highly successful and prosperous in their lives. Unlike the other Hindu Gods and Goddesses who are mostly worshipped in the form of statues or idols, Lord Shiva is hailed in the form of Linga or Lingam. The Linga or Lingam, which is found in all Shiva temples across the world, refers to the formless form of the Supreme Being. The story goes that once Lord Vishnu and Lord Brahma fell into a quarrel over whom among them is the best. As their argument created disturbance among the other Hindu Gods and Goddesses, they sought the help of Lord Shiva who appeared as an infinite column of fire and challenged Lord Vishnu and Lord Brahma to trace its beginning and end. Although Vishnu transformed himself into a boar and headed underground while Brahma transformed into a swan to fly upward, they could not find the beginning and ending of the mysterious column and ultimately bowed down to Lord Shiva. The column of fire which is a symbolic form of the Divine Being is worshipped as the Shiva Linga which is believed to hold the divine cosmic energy.
The multifaceted personalities of Lord Shiva that is an interesting feature for His devotees to ponder over-
Shiva –The Devoted Family Man
Lord Shiva is the only one among the crores of Hindu Gods and Goddesses who depicts the type of ideal mortal family life in the tales of Hindu mythology. From having married Goddess Parvati in a grand wedding ceremony on the day of Mahashivaratri to bringing up his sons Kartikeya and Ganesha along with His consort, the human like lifestyle of the God of the Gods amazes His devotees and all Hindu people are of the view that a happy family is like that of Lord Shiva’s one. Some legends depict that Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati brought up their daughters Ashoksundari and Jyoti too. Besides being the One who looks after the entire world, the portrayal of Lord Shiva as the dutiful family man who balances all His duties as a householder and a ruler just like a human has the capacity to charm people of all ages and give them a powerful feeling of spiritual happiness.
Shiva- The Benefactor and Destroyer
Among the Tridevs or the three main Gods of Hinduism- Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva, Lord Shiva is known as the Destroyer. Known as Mahakal or the Great Time, Lord Shiva is the one who takes away all things when it crosses its prescribed age or limits. Besides being the Destroyer of Evil, Lord Shiva is also known as Bhootnath or the Lord of Ghosts who applies ash on His body and sits on cremation ground to meditate so that the souls of people who have done good deeds can achieve salvation after their death. Another interesting aspect of Lord Shiva is that He meditates in great concentration for the well-being or benefiting the planets where His devotees reside. It is believed that the Science of Yoga is propagated from Lord Shiva who symbolically teaches us the great way to control our mind and body from negative emotions.
Shiva- The Inventor or the Master of Performing Arts
The dancers of India always worship Lord Shiva in the form of Nataraja or the Lord of Dance. He is also known as Nityanarta or the Eternal Dancer who can amazingly hook every being with His excellent and passionate way of dancing. Shiva’s Tandava is described as a vigorous dance that is the source of the cycle of creation, preservation and dissolution. While the Rudra Tandava depicts His violent nature, first as the creator and later as the destroyer of the universe, even of death itself, the Ananda Tandava depicts Him as joyful. The dances of Lord Shiva is noted because of its strong movements and beautiful expressions which are the chief components where attention is given when Indian classical dances are performed. Meanwhile, Lord Shiva is also considered as an excellent player of the stringed musical instrument veena.
Shiva- The Perfect Partner
Unlike many tales in Hindu mythology where beautiful damsels or Goddesses were saved by brave and warrior Gods from demons such as Asuras and Rakshasas, the stories of Shiva and Shakti are quite unique. Both of them save the world from evils by fighting bravely against them. By showing pure love for His consort Parvati , inspiring Her before a fight and worshipping Her with great devotion when She emerges victorious, Lord Shiva proves what it takes to be an ideal life partner. The combined form of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati is known as Ardhanarishvara. This half male and half female form shows that men and women are both equal and each of them can perform any kind of task with equal success if it is done with devotion. A number of Shiva temples often shows the Lingam of Lord Shiva resting in the middle of a rimmed, disc-shaped Yoni. When a Linga is installed on a Yoni, it represents the union of Shiva and Shakti or in other words the combination of male and female energies necessary for the creation of life.