Shiva is the Lord of the Lords. He is the Auspicious one (Shiva), The terrific one (Rudra), Lord of the Dance (Nataraja), Lord of the universe (Vishwanatha), He is the Destroyer and the Transformer. He is limitless, transcendent, unchanging, formless and also the one without beginning or without end.
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Qualities of Lord Shiva
‘Shiva’ means the auspicious one. As, it is humanly impossible to explain Shiva, just as it is impossible to explain the universe, therefore, let’s take a glimpse at 10 qualities of Lord Shiva.
1. An Ideal Husband
There could rarely be a couple like Shiva and Parvati who loved each other so much that it cannot even be compared. Shiva treated his wife Parvati with love, respect, and equality. He made Parvati sit beside him and not near his feet. Hence, still today, unmarried girls fasts and desires for a husband that should be like Lord Shiva.
2. Balance in everything
Shiva is one who posses contrasting characteristics (acceptance and repulsion) simultaneously. He has the potential to create and bring about dissolution, also the combination of serenity-angrier, the moon (tranquility) – the third eye (radiance which reduces to ashes), sattvik (sattva predominant) – tamasik (tama predominant) temperaments, etc.
Lord Shiva is totally impartial to everyone, be it a deity or demon, angel or ghost…for him, a devotee is a devotee, it doesn’t matter who is he…for this quality he is simultaneously called ‘Bholenath’. Shiva is an innocent God who often grants the boon to people even if they have evil at heart. He does not discriminate between devas or daityas.
4. Intolerant to Injustice
Shiva never tolerated injustice and evil. He is the destroyer of all evil things. He was fair even when destroying the rakshasas according to the Hindu texts. We should work towards zero-tolerance of evil around us and take a firm stand against injustice.
5. A Great Dancer
Dance is mostly considered as a feminine form of art, but Shiva is also known as ‘Nataraja’ and is the Lord of Dance. The connotation of the word ‘Nataraja’ can be derived by breaking the word, ‘Natya’ meaning dance and ‘Raja’ meaning King. So, in entirety, Nataraja means the King of Dance. His dance is described on Shiva Tandav Stotram by Ravana, King of Lanka.
6. The Vairagi
Lord Shiva is Yogishwar (the foremost Yogi), despite being Jagadishwar (The Lord of The Universe) he does not live like a King. In fact, he doesn’t contain anything precious on his body, no gold, no silver, nothing but a tiger skin, rudraksha, a snake and ash, an ash which is the final destiny of everything that is materialistic.
7. The Asutosh
The quality that makes Shiva unique is that he is Ashutosh, which means a god who is easily pleased. All you need to please Shiva is true devotion and just water and bilva (bel) leaves.
8. Harmony and Unity in Diversity
Looking at Shiva’s family, he can give us an example of unity in diversity. As we know, Shiva’s vehicle is an ox Nandi and one of his ornament is a snake, Parvati’s vehicle is a lion, Karhtikeya’s vehicle is a peacock, and Sri Ganesha’s vehicle is a rat. However, an ox and a lion; a peacock and a rat; a peacock and a snake and a rat and a snake cannot stay together as per laws of nature, they are each a prey and a predator in the cycle of food-chain. Nevertheless, all of them live in a harmony.
9. The Benevolent One
He is the kind-hearted Lord, the ‘Bholenath’. Although, he never becomes intolerant for our sin he is also kind-hearted and gives forgiveness. When Daksha tried to degrade Shiva multiple times, Shiva never said a word. Even though Daksha was finally killed for his absolute sins, Shiva resurrected him & forgave him, this changed the mentality of Daksha. Similarly, we can take the lesson that if we want to change someone then applying forgiveness is always a better option than applying punishment.
He is also known as ‘Ardhanarishwar’ which is the androgynous form of him. Ardhanarishvara is the amalgamation of two sides of the God, that is, male and female aspects which signifies identity of Purusha and Prakriti as one necessity. However, half male and half female side of energies present in nature are illustrated from the androgynous form, it is a symbolism of how Shakti (Parvati or female principle of the God) is inseparable from Shiva, the male principle of God. Ardhanarishvara form is an authentic symbol of Shiva’s wholeness that lies beyond dualism which should be the main aspect of every human being.