Shiva, an epitome of power, is the destroyer and the most powerful god in the Hindu mythology. We have been hearing stories of Shiva ever since we were born. Lord Shiva is worshiped across the country and even beyond. Undoubtedly, he happens to be my favorite deity from the Hindu mythology.
1. How did lord Shiva come into existence?
According to the Shiva purana, Brahma – the creator and Vishnu – the preserver, were having an argument over who among the two was more powerful. Right then, a big blazing pillar appeared out of nowhere, whose roots and branches extended into the earth and sky. There came the Shiva!
Further, Brahma and Vishnu went on to locate the start and end of the pillar. Brahma turned into a goose to find the top of the pillar, whereas Vishnu turned into a boar and dug into the earth to locate the origin of the pillar.
After an unsuccessful attempt at locating the origin of the pillar, both of them were surprised to see lord Shiva emerging through an opening in the pillar. Finally, both, Brahma and Vishnu realized that there was a third power ruling over the universe in the form of lord Shiva.
2. Why is Shiva’s throat blue?
In order to get the nectar from the bottom of the ocean, all the Gods and the demons decided to come together and churn the ocean which is commonly known as Samudra Manthan. While churning the ocean, many things like precious gems, gold, silver, animals, Goddess Laxmi, etc came out of the ocean. All of these were then divided between the Gods and the demons.
However, a deadly poison named Halahala, also came out of the ocean as a by-product.
THE POISON WAS SO DEADLY THAT WHATEVER CAME INTO ITS CONTACT SOON PERISHED.
Finally, lord Brahma and Vishnu prayed to lord Shiva to come to their rescue.
Since lord Shiva is known to be extremely powerful, he drank the deadly poison which soon started spreading throughout his body turning it into blue. After knowing this, Goddess Parvati entered Shiva’s throat in the form of a Mahavidya and controlled the spread of the poison. Thus lord Shiva came to be called as the Neelkanth, literally meaning the blue throat!
3. The story behind Shiva’s androgynous form.
According to the Shiva Purana, lord Brahma-the creator, created all male beings, and asked them to regenerate. However, they were unable to do so. And so Brahma confronted lord Shiva for help.
In order to enlighten Brahma, Shiva appeared before him as Ardhanarishvara (half male-half female). Lord Brahma prayed to the female half of Shiva to him a female to continue the process of regeneration. The goddess agreed to Brahma and created various female powers from her body.
Ardhanarishvara is a composite androgynous form of lord Shiva and his wife Parvati. The right half is usually the male Shiva. It represents the unity of opposites.
4. Who is the son of Vishnu and Shiva?
Lord Ayyappan or Ayyappa, is a popular Hindu deity mainly worshiped in South India. Ayyappa is believed to be born by the union of Lord Shiva and the mythical enchantress, Mohini, who is an avatar of lord Vishnu.
THEREFORE, AYYAPPA IS ALSO KNOWN ASHARIHARAN PUTHIRAN, WHICH LITERALLY MEANS THE SON OF HARI OR VISHNU ANDHARAN OR SHIVA.
According to the legend, soon after the birth of lord Ayyappa, a golden bell was tied around his neck by his divine parents because of which he came to be known as Manikandan which means jewel around the neck.
5. Why is goddess Kali worshiped with her feet over Lord Shiva?
When goddess Kali killed Raktbija (demon), she was in such anger that she further went on to destroy the cosmos. Right then lord Shiva tried to obstruct her by lying down in her path. When goddess Kali stepped onto Shiva by mistake, it put her into shame and thus her anger subsided.
Hence she is always worshiped with a leg over Lord Shiva and her tongue out in shame.
6. Mount Kailash is not Shiva’s real abode!
As it is commonly believed that Shiva’s abode is Mount Kailash, but it is not so! Shiva’s abode is situated at a place called Manomaya, which is at the very boundary of the universe, where matter and anti-matter coexist.
Mount Kailash is like a summer retreat from where Shiva could keep an eye on the humans.
It is believed that when Shiva is meditating, he is actually residing in the Manomaya (which means tremendous willpower).