Shiva, The Lord of Meditation, the ultimate renuniciate, is known for his deep states of meditation, ability to destroy the ego and capacity to bring about extensive changes and transformation (inside and out) is said to reside at the summit of Mt. Kailash (in Tibet), where he sits in a perpetual state of meditation, along with his wife Parvati and his bull, Nandi.
Images of Shiva hold a lot of meaning and provide great reminders for everyday meditators to keep going and to plug away with their practice. As a meditator myself, let me share with you what I've learned over the years from my teachers, Shri Anandi Ma and Dileepji :).
THIRD EYE - While his two regular eyes represent the physical, everyday world, his third eye represents the Ajna Chakra and the spiritual wisdom and power acquired through meditation, that allows one to see beyond maya (illusion).
SERPENT AROUND NECK - The serpent represents the Kundalini, the source of divine energy that lies dormant at the base of the spine, until awakened. Once awakened, she moves in an upward direction, piercing various chakras along way until she reaches the Sahasrar chakra, thus leading spiritual aspirants to the ultimate state of consciousness.
CRESCENT MOON - There's a long story behind this symbol, but the jist is that it represents the waxing and waning of the moon, the mind and the continuim of time, which when adorned on Shiva signifies the control over the mind and time.
GANGES RIVER - The holy ganges river is known as the holiest river in India and is personified as the Goddess Ganga. The story says that Shiva was asked to break her descent from heaven to earth as the force of her fall would have flooded and wrecked havoc rather than help the inhabitants of the world. So the Ganges flows first through Shiva's matted locks and then from there he lets her gently flow out so that devoted souls can bathe in her waters and purify their souls.
TRIDENT- The trident in his hands represents several things, the most important being the trinity of supreme divinity which oversees the cosmic functions of creation, maintenance and destruction. Brahma is known as the creator, Vishnu is known as the preserver and the Shiva as the destroyer/transformer.
DAMARU (drum)- The damaru represents the heartbeat of life, the cosmic sound of AUM and the process of creation.
BULL- Nandi, Shiva's bull is not only a great devotee of his, but is also his trusted vehicle and represents truth. He's a reminder of the strength and power that comes from living truthfully, righteousnessly and harnessing the infinite consciousness that lies within you.
May this piece inspire you to keep up with your meditation practice!
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