Shiva is referred to as 'the good
one' or the 'auspicious one'. Shiva - Rudra is considered to be the
destroyer of evil and sorrow. Shiva - Shankara is the doer of good. Shiva
is 'tri netra' or three eyed, and is 'neela kantha' - blue necked (having consumed
poison to save the world from destruction. Shiva - Nataraja is the Divine
Cosmic Dancer. Shiva - Ardhanareeswara is both man and woman.
He is both static and dynamic and is both creator and
destroyer. He is the oldest and the youngest, he is the eternal youth as well as the
infant. He is the source of fertility in all living beings. He has gentle as well as
fierce forms. Shiva is the greatest of renouncers as well as the ideal lover. He destroyes
evil and protects good. He bestows prosperity on worshipers although he is austere. He is
omnipresent and resides in everyone as pure consciousness.
Shiva is inseparable from Shakti -
Parvati the daughter of Himavaan - Haimavati. There is no Shiva without Shakti and no
Shakti without Shiva, the two are one - or the absolute state of being - consciousness and
The five mantras that
constitute Shiva's body are Sadyojaata, Vaamadeva, Aghora, Tatpurusha and Eesaana.
Eesaana is Shiva not visible to the human eye, Sadyojaata
is Shiva realized in his basic reality (as in the element earth, in the sense of smell, in
the power of procreation and in the mind). The Vishnudharmottara Purana
of the 6th century CE assigns a face and an element to each of the above mantras. (Sadyojaata
- earth, Vaamadeva - water, Aghora - fire, Tatpurusha
- air and Eesaana - space).
The names of the deified faces with their elements are
Mahadeva (earth), Bhairava (fire), Nandi
(air), Uma (water) and Sadasiva (space). Panchamukha
lingams have been seen from the 2nd century onwards. The Trimurthi Sadasiva
image of Shiva in the Elephanta Caves near
Mumbai is a portrayal in stone, of the five faces of Shiva. The fourth and the fifth heads
are not seen in this image here.
The works of sages Vyasa, Vasishta, Patanjali, the
poet Kalidasa, the tamil saint poets Nayanmars - Appar, Sundarar, Sambandar, the
poet Manikkavachakar, the mystic tamil siddhas, tantric philosophers, the spiritual leader
Adi Sankaracharya and others such as Basavanna and Appayya Deekshitar speak of the
attributes of Shiva.