LORD SIVA (hindu deities) represents the destructive aspect of Brahman. That portion of Brahman that is enveloped by Tamo-Guna-Pradhana-Maya is Lord Siva, who is the all-pervading Isvara, and who also dwells in Mount Kailas. He is the Bhandar or storehouse for wisdom. Siva minus Parvati, Kaali or Durga 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 Siva also. Rama Himself worshipped Lord Siva at the famous Rameswaram. Lord Siva is the Lord of ascetics and Lord of Yogins, robed in space (Digambara).
Regenerator or Destroyer
Lord Siva, 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, healthy, vigorous body for further quick evolution. He wants to take all His children to His lotus feet quickly. He desires to give them His glorious Siva-Pada. It is easier to please Siva than Hari. A little Prem and devotion, a little chanting of His Panchakshari, is quite sufficient to infuse delight in Siva. He gives boons to His devotees quite readily.
Engaged with individual souls
Lord Siva is the God of Love. His grace is infinite & He is the Saviour and Guru. He is engaged in freeing the souls from the thraldom 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 Siva 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 Siva represents the rhythm and movement of the world-spirit. At His dance, the evil forces and darkness quiver and vanish.
Siva means that which is eternally happy or auspicious, Parama-Mangala. Om and Siva are one. Mandukya Upanishad says: Santam Sivam Advaitam. Even an outcaste can meditate on the Name of Lord Siva.
Lord Siva is the Supreme Reality. Shiva is eternal, formless, independent, omnipresent, one without a second, beginningless, causeless, taintless, self-existent, ever free, ever pure. He is not limited by time. He is infinite bliss and infinite intelligence.
Lord Siva’s Form and Its Significance
Lord Siva wears a deer in the left upper hand. He has Trident in the right lower arm. He has fire and Damaru and Malu or a kind of weapon. He wears five serpents as ornaments. He wears a garland of skulls. He is pressing with His feet the demon Muyalaka, a dwarf holding a cobra. He faces south. Panchakshara itself is His body.
His Trisul that is held in His right hand represents the three Gunas—Sattva, Rajas and Tamas. That is the emblem of sovereignty. 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.
The wearing of the crescent moon in His head indicates that He has controlled the mind perfectly. The flow of the Ganga represents the nectar of immortality. Elephant represents symbolically the Vritti pride. Wearing the skin of the elephant denotes that He has controlled pride. Tiger represents lust. His sitting on the tiger’s skin indicates that He has conquered lust. His holding deer on one hand indicates that He has removed the Chanchalata (tossing) of the mind. Deer jumps from one place to another swiftly. The mind also jumps from one object to another. His wearing of serpents on the neck denotes wisdom and eternity. Serpents live for a large number of years. He is Trilochana, the Three-eyed One, in the centre of whose forehead is the third eye, the Eye of Wisdom.
Lord Siva has white complexion. What is the significance of white colour? He teaches silently that people should have pure heart and entertain pure thoughts and should be free from crookedness, diplomacy, cunningness, jealousy, hatred, etc.
He wears three white-lined Bhasma or Vibhuti on His forehead. What is the significance of this? He teaches silently that people should destroy the three impurities, viz., Anavam (egoism), Karma (action with expectation of fruits), and Maya (illusion); the three desires or Eshanas, viz., desire for landed property, desire for woman, and desire for gold; and the three Vasanas, viz., Loka-vasana, Deha-vasana and Shastra-vasana and then attain Him with a pure heart.
What does the Balipeeta or altar which stands in front of the sanctum sanctorum of a Siva’s temple represent? People should destroy their egoism and mine-ness (Ahamta and Mamata) before they attain the Lord. This is the significance.
Rishabha or the bull represents Dharma Devata. Lord Siva rides on the bull. Bull is His vehicle. This denotes that Lord Siva is the protector of Dharma, is an embodiment of Dharma or righteousness.
The Lingam represents Advaita. It points out: “I am one without a second—Ekamevadvitiyam;” just as a man raises his right hand above his head pointing out his right index-finger only.