Wednesday 3 April 2013


I really pondered upon in my mind and all over the internet, trying to choose what to write upon in my next blog post. A plenty of symbols yet to be uncovered, scores of traditions and customs yet to be analyzed, and hundreds of historical marvels yet to be investigated. I was still confused when a notion struck me hard enough. Indian mythology and Ancient Indian imagery has been resplendent of symbolic references and scientific analogies, OM being one of the most multifaceted and supreme out of all these concepts. What about someone so celestial, so legendary, and such supreme, that horde of such multifaceted symbols form small pieces of the complete ascendancy of his divinity. A supreme figure, each and every attribute of whom speaks volumes of scientific and symbolic attributes, Shiva.

Symbolically, Shiva's supreme form has volumes to speak of. 

Unclad body smeared with ashes: This attribute represents the transcendental aspect of his nature, he is above all physical phenomenon. The cemetery ash symbolizes him to be the God of destruction, that Shiva is beyond the realities of life and death. Scientifically, ash is the residue of burning any fuel. Hydrogen fuel burns to become helium ash. Helium burns to become carbon ash. Carbon ash burns to become oxygen ash. In short, every element matter is made up of, is ash. Shiva smearing ash on his body would signify the entire existence. A person smearing ash on his body, thus has spiritual significations, him being unattached to anything earthly.

Matted Hairs: The flow of his matted hair represents wind or Vayu, a subtle form of breath, Shiva thus being Lord of all living beings. Each strand of his hair, also denote desires, and he has knotted them together, keeping them in control, thus asking all his devotees to control their desires. As per legends, he has controlled the fiery water of Ganga in his matted locks. The three matted locks on the head convey the idea that integration of the physical, mental and spiritual energies is the ideal of yoga.

Sacred Ganga: Ganga, owing to its mystical healing attributes, thanks to the presence of certain bacteriophages, denotes fertility, knowledge, peace and prosperity. Ganga flowing from his hairs denotes Shiva as the master of knowledge and prosperity. One of the most sacred rivers in mythology, Ganga gains further ascendancy, being in the matted hairs of Shiva. The water is found to be resplendent of healthy minerals and antiseptical attributes, and is thus considered healthy.

The Third Eye: Symbolically, the Sun is said to be his right eye, the moon being his left and the fire his third.  The two eyes indicate his activity in the physical world, while the third eye is the eye of spirituality, one who sees beyond the obvious. His third eye can look beyond obvious and annihilate any negative energy. The scientific implications of the third eye are rather interesting. 
As per a few notions, ancient humans used to have an actual third eye in the forehead. With time, this eye sunk deep into the forehead, into what we know today as the Pineal gland. Proper activation of this gland can help in proper meditation, spirituality and intelligence. Interestingly, Sodium Fluoride destroys the Pineal Gland, and aerated drinks like Pepsi, Coke etc. comprise of Sodium Fluoride. Pineal Gland is also known as the "All Knowing eye" in certain traditions, a symbol of Illuminati

Half Open Eyes: Shiva's closed eyes denote destruction and mayhem. His open eyes denote creation of a new life. His half-open eyes denote that the worldly affairs are still in progress, without a beginning and without an end.

Crescent Moon: The moon is the measure of time, and a new moon being on his head denote his control over time. The time is a part of his divinity and not the other way round, the reason why moon is not wore on his body, but just as an ornament. It also denotes cool mind and foresightedness, if a decision is taken with a calm mind, the results are mostly positive.

Neelkanth: Symbolically, the blue throat denotes him being willing to undergo any distress for the sake of happiness of others. The blue color symbolizes poison or negative thoughts. Thoughts, which should neither be digested or spitted out, but kept temporarily, to neutralize at an appropriate time. Think of anger as an example of slow poison. Expressing our anger or outrage not only causes social disharmony, it can also rupture a heart blockage and precipitating a heart attack or brain hemorrhage. Suppressed anger, on the other hand releases harmful chemicals in the body causing acidity, asthma and even blockage of blood vessels. Only a balanced positive alteration of anger is helpful.

The Snake around the neck: Shiva is shown with a snake coiled three times around the neck, each coil representing the past, the present and the future. Shiva, again, wears the snake as an ornament, signifying he is above time and death. The snake also denotes dormant energy of a man, also called Kundalini energy.

Kundalas: Interestingly, Shiva is always shown with a larger Kundala in the right ear and a smaller in left. The right Kundala denotes the male attributes of existence while the left Kundala denotes the female aspects. He wearing them together denotes male-female equality in the universe, akin to Shiva-Shakti.

Rudraksha: As per legends, Rudraksha means eye of Shiva. Literally, Rudra means uncompromising and strict, and Aksha means eye, Rudraksha thus denotes uncompromising attributes of Shiva. Scientific studies have revealed that wearing Rudraksha beads relieves a person from stress, depression and anxiety. Rudraksha also symbolizes being close to nature and healthy living.

Damaru: The hourglass-shaped drum kept near Shivam, when shaken, produces a sound called Nada. Nada is said to be the cosmic sound of AUM. When a person goes deep into meditation, he experiences the same Nada sound deep in his consciences. As per a lot of legends, Nada is the source of all creation, a fact well explored in my previous blog The Multifaceted OM.

Such is the divinity of Shiva, and such is the ascendancy he commands, I have been able to compile only a few of his attributes from scores of other symbols and concepts. The list, though may sound quite exhaustive, is actually not even close to completion. The symbols that I have chosen, though, are more of his famous and better known symbols.

Ancient Indians, particularly those of Vedic times, used to assign healthy and beneficial customs and practices to Gods and other deities. This helped the general public perform those practices as part of their daily living, thus helping them live a healthier life. 

In the past few days, I have seen Shiva anarchy on a regular growing spree. Modern people are more comfortable connecting to Shiva and his attributes. Add to that the earthly attributes of Shiva, him being consumer of opium, which as per legends, he did to keep his anger in check. The earthly attributes make Shiva even more close to his devotees. Successes of recent works like “The Immortals of Meluha” or “Devon ke Dev Mahadev” only confirm this theory. I also hope this post is as much liked by you much more than previous ones and you keep showering your appreciation in form of comments, page views and social media presence. 
With hopes that you keep liking my posts, time for me to say good bye.

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Har Har Mahadev!!!!


  1. Har Har Mahadev ! Thank you Sapan for writing this blog and sharing it with me. I should tell you how close Mahadev is to my heart and anything about His divinity forms one of my favorite topics. You have indeed so rightly said about His vastness and yes your first effort is exceptionally brilliant. I would look forward to more details and many more such spiritually simulating blogs from you. Kudos.
    Har Har Mahadev !

    1. Namaste!!!
      Thanks a lot for liking this post and the blog. I will try to bring up more interesting and as you say "spiritually simulating" topics for sure. Thanks a lot again for your positive feedback

  2. Nicely written blog, Another way of viewing the god of destruction....though each one depicting a philosophical side....still your way of incorporating science into it is a good imagination.
    Though, there are different explanation of accessories of Lord Shiva and yours is a new way to look at it.

    keep penning :)

    1. Namaste!!
      Thanks a lot for liking the post!!!
      I agree there are a lot of different interpretations of accessories of Shiva, I chose those which I found most viable.

      Thanks again for liking the post

  3. Akshay K Saxena4 April 2013 at 13:43

    Brilliant post! My mother and I enjoyed reading it and discussed a lot while doing so. She wants to know if you have any interpretation of 'Trishul'.

    1. Thanks a lot Akshay!!!
      I intended to include more symbols of Shiva in this post, but stopped at 11- as an oblation to Mahadev.
      The trident symbolizes two aspects of Shiva
      1.)His will to destroy all evil and ignorance.
      2)The trident symbolizes his three fundamental powers, shakti, icchha and gyaan(will, action and knowledge)- the trio which are useless without one another. The trio, which is even mentioned in Bhagvat Gita by Krishna. It also symbolizes the three aspects of creation, preservation and destruction.

      Shiva states of consciousness are also symbolized by the Trishul. These are the waking state, dreaming state and deep sleep state. He yet exists in the fourth transcendental state upon which the ordinary states are founded(the handle of the Trishul).

  4. The most controversial yet so powerful God Shiv. So many stories, so many myths but you have unfolded so many characteristics of Shiv in brilliant manner. I really enjoyed reading it. I can understand extensive research and in depth knowledge of yours. Keep it up :)

    1. His earthly attributes make him closer to his devotees, and opium, hunting, Yoga have added on this feeling. Thanks a lot for liking the post

  5. Dear Sapan, A good analysis. Yoy can write about Baghamber, Vrishvahan, Mundmala, Chandan also. A unique feature in Shiva family - Peacock, Snake, Rat, Bull & Lion living peacefully together. Write more about Shiva in you adorable analytical style.

    1. Thanks a lot for the feedback!!!
      I wanted to write about a few things more but I kept the attributes to 11, as a mark of symbolic respect towards Shiva.
      I will definitely pick up the other symbols in future once again

  6. Good post. I absolutely appreciate this site. Thanks!

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    1. Thanks for reading through the post!!

  7. Vimal Radhakrishnan15 May 2013 at 19:49

    Wow Sapan. This is an interesting read. One observation rather a doubt regarding Rudrakhsha. I have heard another interpretation of this being Rudra ki aason which means tears. Can that be tears and not eyes?
    Har Har mahadev - can also be explained as (Mahadev is in every one of us, in other words Har koi mahadev) .he is the one who resides in all of us. Few know that and a vast majority have no clue.

    1. Namaste Vimal!!!
      Thats beauty of Sanskrit, that the same terms and words can take up multiple meanings, a concept which I wrote about here

      Aksha can also mean tear of Rudra, but in some different concept. Aksha also means eye, literally, which holds true in this concept. The same word takes up different meanings in different settings, a prime attribute of Sanskrit. So they are both tears and eyes, as and when you want to quote them.

      And I completely agree with "Har Har Mahadev" being everyone is Shiva as he resides in all of us. Its always better to know what you are chanting before chanting it. It adds meaning to your chants. Thanks for bringing this up

  8. beautifully presented , delighted to read it .

    1. Namaste Sunita!!
      thanks a lot for liking the post

  9. Om Namah Shivay!

  10. beautiful....thank you so much for writing this about my ishta dev lors shiva...may god bless you always..

    1. Namaste Anya
      Thanks a lot for liking the post
      Har Har Mahadev

  11. In South India most of the temples have face of a demon with hands comming out of his mouth. The legend is that once Shiva had a problem with someone and he created a demon to deal with this particular guy. When the guy saw the deamon he came running to Shiva asking for help and Shiva said the demon to leave the guy alone.
    The demon was hungry and said Shiva you created me to deal with this man and now you let him go but the problem is I am hungry. What do I do? Shiva who was in one of his moods said to the deamon to eat your self. And thus the demon started eating himself. When Shiva saw the demon he was stunned to see the demon eating himself to the extent that he was left with his Hand and head. Shiva blessed the demon named him KIRTI MUKHA and blessed him that every temple will have his image at the door of the temple.
    Now this is the mythological part the practical part is that the glorious one will be the one who will consume himself - his rage, anger, ego, temptation, lust, greed.
    And it is with this mindset of consuming everything that is wrong and replacing the wrong with correctness of "I am nothing" is how we should be entering the temple. This is how Shiva is to be worshiped.

    1. Wow! that was a story I didnt know about. It was quite fascinating.
      Namaste pravin,
      Sometimes some people ask me, if these interpretations were what ancient men had in mind while, say creating this legend about this demon, or is it that people have interpreted it the way they wanted to.

      In reality, does it matter? There is knowledge, and that too knowledge which would make you a better person. So, why care about the whys and hows. Grab the knowledge and make yourself a better person