Lord Shiva is the most revered God in Hinduism. He is the Supreme Power and the ultimate yogi. He represents the Universal Masculine and Shakti his consort represents the Universal feminine. The couple is worshipped in the form of a Lingam. Shiva is known by several names like Shankara, Mahadeva, Rudra, Adiyogi, Neelakanta Mahesh, and many others.
Shiva is one of the three gods which form the Holy Trinity. Brahma is the God of creation, Vishnu is the God of sustenance and Shiva is the God of destruction. It is believed that the cosmic dance of Lord Shiva marks the end of the cosmos. Shiva does not discriminate among his devotees. He is the simplest to please and accepts every living being. Even ghosts and goblins are his devotees. He accepts everything that is generally discarded by this world. Creatures like snakes, goblins, ghosts, nomads are a part of his gana or tribe. According to scriptures, Shiva's abode Shivaloka is in mountain Kailash where he resides with his consort Parvati. The couple bore two sons Ganesha and Kartikeya and one daughter Ashok Sundari.
Shiva's first wife Sati was Prajapati Daksha's daughter. Both Sati and Parvati are the incarnations of Adi Shakti who is the Divine feminine. Before the creation of this Cosmos, there was only one God, Sadashiv. Adi Shakti was a part of him. For the purpose of creation, Brahma was created. Brahma needed Adishakti to help him create this world. Hence upon his request, Sadashiv separated from Adishakti. Adi Shakti reunited with Shiva as Sati. Sati was Dakaha's daughter. Daksha was a mind-born son of Brahma. When Daksha came to know that his daughter Sati wanted to marry the ascetic Shiva he got furious. Sati was a princess and getting her married to a yogi who lived in the forests was completely unacceptable. However, Sati went against her father's wish and married Shiva. Daksha abandoned his daughter out of fury. He completely cut off all his ties with her. Once Daksha organised a Yagya to please all the Gods. He invited all the deities except Shiva and Sati. Sati was heartbroken about not being invited. She decided to attend the Yagya and confront her father. On seeing Sati at the Yagya, Daksha insulted her and Shiva mercilessly. Humiliated with all the insult Sati immolated herself by jumping into the sacred fire of the Yagya.
Devasted with Sati's death Shiva's rage manifested into his fiercest form Veerabhadra. Shiva assigned the task of killing Dakaha to him. Veerabhadra along with his army destroyed the Yagya and killed Daksha by beheading him. The Gods get scared with Shiva‘s anger and plead forgiveness on Daksha's behalf. The benevolent Shiva calmed down and restores Daksha's life by replacing his head with that of a goat.
Shiva isolated himself after Sati's death and went into a deep meditative state for several thousand years. Meanwhile, Sati was reborn as Parvati to Himavan and Meenavati. Parvati underwent the toughest penance to conquer Shiva and united with him again. This time again Shiva became a householder from a hermit.
Shiva is the lord of Yoga and is also known as Adiyogi. Shiva represents the seventh chakra or the Sahasrara chakra which is seated at the crown of our head. The Shakti center is the root chakra or the Muladhara which resides in our pelvic area. With the aid of Kundalini yoga, Shakti rises above from Muladhara or root chakra to Sahasrara or shiva center. Their union results in enlightenment. Their union represents cosmic harmony depicted as Ardhanarishwara. Their union represents a perfect balance between the Divine Feminine and Divine Masculine which is the ultimate goal of this human life.
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