Shiva’s image is that of an ascetic, deep in meditation on Mount Kailasha. He is among the holy triumvirate, of which Brahma is the creator, Vishnu the preserver and Shiva, the destroyer of the universe, according to mythology.
On Maha Shivratri, tell your kids some fascinating facts about Lord Shiva, drawn from mythology and folk tales.
Why is Lord Shiva known as the Destroyer?
Shiva’s image is that of an ascetic, deep in meditation on Mount Kailasha. He is among the holy triumvirate, of which Brahma is responsible for creation, Vishnu of preservation, while Shiva is meant to destroy the universe so it can be reborn. It is believed that when Shiva opens his third eye, he can set the world ablaze. When Shiva does the tandava, the glorious and vigorous dance is said to symbolise destruction and creation. He is also considered the protector of the Vedas, the sacred text of Hinduism.
How many sons did Lord Shiva have?
Shiva is known to have two sons — the lovable elephant-headed god Ganesha, the destroyer of obstacles and Lord Kartikeya, the god of war. However, legend has it that Lord Shiva had six sons in all, which included Lord Ayyappa, worshipped in south India and Bhauma, who was born to Bhumi Devi or Mother Earth when a drop of Shiva’s sweat fell upon her when he was deep in meditation.
Who was Shiva’s daughter?
Shiva’s daughter was named Ashok Sundari as she rid her mother Parvati of her sorrow (‘shok’). Folk tales also refer to the goddess of light, Jyoti, as well as Mansa, who cures snakebites, as his daughters.
Who did Shiva marry?
Lord Shiva’s wife was Parvati, a reincarnation of Sati, whose father Daksha disapproved of her desire to marry Shiva. She also incarnated as goddesses Kali and Durga.
What is the story of Lord Shiva’s sister?
According to mythology, Shiva created Asavari Devi in his image to provide Parvati with a companion, since she missed her family after moving to his home Mount Kailash after marriage. However, it didn’t end well and as the story goes, Asavari is said to have hidden Parvati in her cracked heels till Shiva rescued his wife, who then asked for his sister to depart from Mount Kailash.
Why does Lord Shiva have a snake?
Vasuki, the snake that coils in three rings around Shiva’s neck, representing the past, present and future, is believed to be among his greatest devotees and represents divinity as well as death. According to mythology, he also served as the rope during the Samudra Manthan, where the ocean waters were churned to extract “amrit” or the nectar of immortality.
Why does Shiva have a blue throat?
The churning of the milky ocean or Samudra Manthan also yielded poison or “halahal”, which Shiva drank. However, he did not have to swallow it as goddess Parvati is said to have entered his throat as Mahavidya and blocked it. Thus, he is known as “Neelkanthan” or one with a blue-throat.
Why is the Ganga seen on Shiva’s head?
As the story goes, on Prince Bhagiratha’s plea, Lord Brahma asked Ganga to arrive on earth, but since the force could have swept earth away, Shiva trapped her in his matted locks and let her out in streams to avoid destruction.
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