Lord Shiva has multiple incarnations (Avatara) to his personalities. He is almighty and the ultimate reality. He is indestructible and the real Godfather of all souls. Lord-Shankara (Shiva) is better known as the ocean of knowledge and is the seed of this ‘Human Creation’. He is the only one who is pre-eminent to be born by himself and is believed to be very gracious, soft-hearted who never demands any special set of rituals & special- dedication from his followers /devotee. Here, we are elaborating the names of Lord of the universe and the stories associated with them which you may haven’t heard before:
Adi- Guru (Sapta- Rishi)
Lord Shiva is an Adi- Guru of Sapta- Rishi and those seven celebrated sages (Sapta- Rishis) are worshipped and admired enthusiastically in Hindu Tradition as his favorite disciples. Lord Shiva taught him about Indian spiritual and austere discipline including- breath control, simple meditation, and the adoption of specific bodily postures widely was observed for health and relaxation.
The Four- Heads of Brahma represent 4 Yugas and knowledge of Four- Vedas. The 5th head renders-Ego which was exhibiting anti-tune of the Vedas in order to allure Shiva’s attention to go from Vairagya to day-to-day rituals. Therefore, Shiva altered one of the five skulls (heads) of Lord Brahma and destroyed his arrogance by Chopping off his fifth head to shatter his over-powered pride.
Bhairava who is a fierce manifestation of Lord Shiva is being worshipped by ‘Aghoris’. Aghoris are white Ashed- skinned Shiva followers who are dressed in black clothes, with long black hair. These peculiar and anomalous people have Rudraksha garlands around their necks, Kamandal and human Skulls (Kapals) in their hands. The pictorial representation of Lord Shiva depicts the love towards Aghoris. He is often seen as Lord of Aghoris with full of ash (Bhasma) on his body for his ferocious devotees.
Shiva is the symbolic representation of all the Yoga, Meditation and Consciousness. As stated in Vedas, Shiva is the second being that came into existence and the first one who followed the principles of Yoga. Hence he is prominent as- ancient Adi Yogi and is supposed to be in the state of meditation for most of the time. The lord feels inner-satisfaction and bliss in this conscious state as he was the one who first put this seed into the human mind.
Shiva is also known as ‘Shmashana Adhipati’ which means ‘the one who rules the Crematorium’. According to Hindu Mythology, a sage inscribed Lord Shiva as the inhabitant of the cremation ground. He’s someone who lives in the graves and acclaimed as- Shamshana Adhipati for his wholehearted admirers. Lord Shiva is the one who is considered as the God residing in burial grounds indicating his disregard/inattention for the worldly pleasures.
Lord Shiva is best described as the Personification of time. He is the eternal God and is the cause of all causes. Lord Shiva is the destructor and untouched by time among his assiduous followers. In short, he is the BigBang and reckoned as the Blackhole (who is better illustrated the past and future of big bang). Shiva is also a regenerator and has no birth, no death. Henceforth, He is well-known as ‘Kalarooopam’ among his ardent devotees.
Sudarshana Chakra Giver
Once Mahadeva was very impressed with Lord Vishnu’s true dedication and the devotion while he was worshipping Lord Shiva by offering 1000 flowers in a row and hence he has been gifted a very special present- ‘THE SUDARSHAN CHAKRA’.
Lord Shiva is a Lord of Destructor as per the former legends and is well-known for his fierce nature among his devotees. However, the truth is that he is not at all short-tempered God and loves peace and tranquillity. Lord Shiva is prominent as- Ishaan– who is one of his secret names that betokened as ‘the calm one’.
Mohini is one of the most beautiful ladies in Hindu Mythology. She is actually one of the Lord Vishnu’s Female Avatars (Incarnations). Once Shiva got attracted towards Mohini (Lord Vishnu’s woman manifestation) at the time of the churning of the ocean by the celestials and the demons to obtain Amruta-nectar (Amrita- Ambrosia) from the Asuras(Demons). Later on, Shiva embraced Vishnu in the form of Mohini and from their love union, the child God Ayappa Swamy was born.
Demon’s (Asura) Bodyguard
Shiva was once the bodyguard of one of Tarkasur’s sons – Vidyunmali. Yess !! Vidyunmali, the Asura, hoaxed Shiva into being his serving-bodyguard by pleasing him and asking this as his granted-boon. This was a trickery he played into forcing Shiva to release his father from imprisonment.
Sarabeswarara is Lord Shiva’s most vicious manifestation. He was a thousand-armed, lion-faced and matted hair Avatara with Eight- Feets and wings around. Sarabeswarara incarnation of Mahadeva was strong violent and the most powerful of all the Avataras. His features are so ferocious that can clear in one single jump. This incarnation of Shiva was taken to conquer the anger of God Narasimha (who was the 4th avatar of God Vishnu).
Once Ravana penanced hard to impress Mahadeva. By his true devotion, he got so moved and declared Ravana as one of his favorite devotees.
Lord of ‘Ayurveda’
According to Ayurveda- Science of Life; bhang if properly used under proper guidance has a medicinal effect. Have we ever noticed that what we Arpana (offer) to Shivlinga is never taken as Prasad? Just because it has some poisonous efficacies and Lord has the power to hold it as he is indestructible and immortal among all the Gods.
One of the lesser-known facts about Lord Shiva is that he has 6 faces. They are Sadyojatham Tatpurusham Vamadevam Eeshanam Agoram Thiruvadanam.
Lord Shiva is being worshipped in the form of Adinath as he was known to be the founder of Nath-Sampradaya which is famed as- Tradition of Yogis. Lord of Lords- Shiva is the First Guru who preached Yoga and Meditation and his first ever student (Shishya) was Goddess ‘Parvati’ (his consort).
The one who is the source of the illusory power and is beyond the Illusion is SHIVA. The one -who is SHIVA is beyond contemplation and the foremost bliss. Shiva means Peace, Purity, and Totality. He is merciful, warrior and the most powerful God alongside Vishnu and Brahma, who rules the Universe with absolute, unlimited power. The name Shiva denotes “the good and the kind”.
The admirer of Natural Intoxications
Lord Shiva loves intoxicant natural leaves and is an avid fan of Charas. He takes Chillum made up of bone and inhales smokes and fumes of Cannabis or Marijuana through it. Although these hemps were bound with Lord Shiva in his peaceful and tranquil manifestation to continue his deep meditation.
Lord Shiva is and was everybody’s favorite and never differentiated between his Bhakts (devotees), whether they were Devas or Asuras. If they were honest and genuine, he surely appeared before them, no matter who they were. Once upon a time, Lord Shiva was pleased with Bhasmasura’s penance and appeared before him. Lord bestowed a boon to Bhasmasura (Asura or Demon) that if Bhasmasura puts his hand on anyone’s head, that person will turn into Bhasma or Ashes. Thereafter, Bhasmasura once tried to put his hand on Lord Shiva and hence ran to save himself from God, however, later on, rescued by Lord Vishnu.
As per the Rig Veda, Lord Shiva was supposed to be evolved from the earlier God ‘Rudra. Shiva is associated with reincarnation as well as the destruction. He can destroy everything except ParaBrahman Narayana. Since in Hinduism, it has been defined that- The death is necessary for Rebirth, therefore, he acts as a superintendent of Human Birth-Death Cycle, thus famed as- Rudra.
Shiva is an ultimate divine God who is made up of the five major elements of existence, which depicts Panchbhoota- The Five Vital Elements. Panchabhoota basically represents the five major essentials, they are- Air, Water, Earth, Sky, Fire. He is also the mighty force, under whom the 5 elements of earth are controlled.
Shiva is also described as a fierce deity in ancient religious scriptures in the form of a Bhairava. Bhairava is his savage Avatara and is devotionally worshipped by Mahakala devotees, especially in Ujjain region. This Avatar of Shiva is- sovereign, unbounded and limitless. He is also designated with the title- “God of destruction for his passionate devotees and followers due to this form.