Lord Siva is one of the most revered gods of the Hindu pantheon, regarded as the Lord of the all powerful Gods themselves. Among all the 33 crore Hindu dev-devis , if there is one god who has successfully treaded all social hierarchies and enjoyed popularity among people from all classes and castes, then it is definitely Lord Shiva. No matter which corner of this colorful and multi-religious nation you wander off to, you are bound to come across a temple of this lord that would speak in itself, about the authority this supreme entity exercises on the mind of his disciples, who worship him with all their might. Even in the protestant religious Bhakti movements, Shiva continued to be the embodiment of the infinite power that creates the universe and everything within it, being mysterious and incomprehensible himself.
According to the ancient scriptures, lord Shiva is the ‘Rakshak’ and the ‘Bhakshak’, or the protector as well as the destroyer, taking different forms to preserve the good and eliminate the evil. He is an ‘Ardhanārīśvara’- meaning half man and half woman, containing within himself the attributes of both the sexes, and signifying the eternal balance in nature. The lingam that symbolizes the Lord stands as a symbol for his formless nature that attains completeness, after being merged together with the yoni.
In modern times, when most people are losing faith in themselves, and taking refuge in religion, Shiva can prove to be a worthy ‘guru’, capable of delivering his worshipper from earthly sufferings and leading them towards the attainment of the Anatman’- or peace after union with the eternal Lord.