Glory to you, O Shiva ! Glory to you, O Omkara ! May Brahma, Vishnu and the assembly of other gods, including the great Lord Shiva, relieve me of my afflictions .
As Vishnu you have but one face, as Brahma four and as Shiva five. They gladden the sight of all who behold them. As Brahma you prefer the back of the swan for your seat ; as Vishnu you like to ensconce yourself on the back of Garuda and as Shiva to make the sacred bull your conveyance ; all these stand ready. O Great Lord, pray rid me of my afflictions .
As Brahma you possess two arms, as Vishnu four and as Shiva ten, all of which look matchlessly lovely. No sooner do the inhabitants of the three spheres behold you than they are all enchanted.
You are, O great Lord Omkara, wearing a garland of Rudraksa, Another of forest flowers and the third of skulls ; your forehead, glistening in the moonlight which it holds, is smeared with sandal paste and musk .
O great Lord Omkara, your body is attired in white and yellow silken clothes and in tigerskin, while in your company are troops of goblins, gods like Brahma and the divine seers like Sanaka .
O great Lord Omkara, you hold a kamandalu(the mendicants water
jar) in one of your hands and in another a trident ; you bring joy
to all, destroy all distress, and sustain the whole world.
The ignorant know Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva as three individual gods, but they are all indistinguishably fused into a single mystic syllable “OM” .
Says Swami Shivananda : “ He who recites this Aarti to the Lord
of the three gunas – sattva, rajas and tamas – attains fulfillment of his
Shiva is one of the gods of the Trinity. He is said to be the god
of destruction. The other two gods are Brahma, the god of creation and
Vishnu, the god of maintenance. The three gods represent the three fundamental
powers of nature which are manifest in the world viz. creation, destruction
and maintenance. These powers exist perpetually. Creation is going on all
the time. So is destruction and maintenance. All three powers are manifest
at all times. They are inseparable. Creation and destruction are like two
sides of a coin. And maintenance is an integral part of the processes of
creation and destruction. For example, morning dies to give birth to noon.
Noon dies when night is born. In this chain of birth and death the day
is maintained. To indicate that these three processes are one and the same
the three gods are combined in one form of Lord Dattatreya. Lord Dattatreya
has the faces of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva.
Shiva is married to the Goddess Uma. Uma represents frakriti which
means perishable matter. Shiva's marriage with Uma signifies that the power
of destruction has no meaning without its association with perishable matter.
Destruction manifests itself only when there is perishable matter. Lord
Shiva sits in a meditative pose against the white background of the snow-capped
Himalayas in Mount Kailas.
His posture symbolises perfect inner harmony and poise, experienced
by a man of Realisation. He is rooted in God- consciousness. He revels
in the bliss of the transcendental Reality. Nothing disturbs him. The vicissitudes
of nature, the challenges of life, the trials and tribulations of the terrestrial
world do not affect him at all. He maintains perfect serenity, equanimity
and tranquility in all environments and circumstances.
The snow-white background symbolises the absolute purity of mind.
When the mind is disturbed, agitated, you do not see the divinity in you.
Recognising your divine self is like seeing a reflection in a pool of water.
When the water is dirty or disturbed you cannot see your own reflection.
Only when the water is clear and steady do you recognize your reflection.
Similarly, the divinity in you is lost in a pool of thoughts. If the thoughts
are dirty (tamasic) or agitated (rajasic) you miss your divine Self. By
spiritual practices you ought to raise your personality from its
tamasic and rajasic states to the state, of sattwa. In the sattviic
state when the mind is absolutely pure and steady you recognise your supreme
Self. That is the state of Shiva in Kaila
On the auspicious occasion of MahaShivaratri, Shiva perferms the
ecstatic dance of realisation. In the dance pose Shiva is known as Nataraja.
The dance symbolises the thrill of god-realisation. Beyond the realms of
the waking, dream and deep-sleep states of consciousness. Beyond the '
experiences of the body and its perceptions, the mind and its feelings,
the intellect and its thoughts lies the bliss of Godhood. Shiva reaches
this state of Godhood and dances with the intoxication of supreme bliss
Shiva is said to have a third eye known as gyana chakshu.Gyana chakshu
literally means eye of wisdom. The eye whose vision reaches beyond that
of the two mortal eyes. The idea of the third eye is not to be taken literally
to mean that a third fleshy organ exists in Shiva. It only means that Shiva
has a divine vision of Reality. Your vision is confined merely to perceptions,
emotions and thoughts but when you transcend the limitations of your body,
mind and intellect you gain realisation of your inner Self. That is indicated
by the opening of the gyana chakshu
Shiva us also known as “Gangadhar”, Gangadhar literally means the
carrier of Ganga (River Ganges). Shiva is said to carry the Ganges in his
Shiva is sometimes shown with his trident (“trishool”) in his hand.
The “trishool” is a three pronged weapon which symbolizes the destruction
of the ego with its three-fold desires of the body, mind and intellect.
Shiva with his weapon indicated his victory over his ego and attainment
of the state of perfection.