Adiyogi Shiva

adiyogi shiva statue

‘Shi-va’ is ‘that which is not’, a primordial emptiness; Shiva is also the first-ever yogi, Adiyogi, the one who first perceived this emptiness. Adiyogi is symbol and myth, historic figure and living presence, creator and destroyer, outlaw and ascetic, cosmic dancer and passionate lover, all at once. A book like no other, this extraordinary document is a tribute to Shiva, the Adiyogi, by a living yogi; a chronicle of the progenitor of mysticism by a contemporary mystic. Here science and philosophy merge seamlessly, so do silence and sound, question and answer to capture the unspeakable enigma of Adiyogi in a spellbinding wave of words and ideas that will leave one entranced, transformed.

Shiva (or Siva) is one among the foremost important gods within the Hindu pantheon and, alongside Brahma and Vishnu, is taken into account a member of the Trinity (Trimurti) of Hinduism. a posh character, he may represent goodness, benevolence and function the Protector but he also features a darker side because of the leader of evil spirits, ghosts and vampires and because of the master of thieves, villains and beggars. he’s also related to Time, and particularly because of the destroyer of all things. Nevertheless, Shiva is additionally related to creation. In Hinduism, the universe is assumed to regenerate in cycles (every 2,160,000,000 years). Shiva destroys the universe at the top of every cycle which then allows for a replacement Creation. Shiva is additionally the good ascetic, abstaining from all sorts of indulgence and pleasure, concentrating rather a on meditation as a way to seek out perfect happiness. he’s the foremost important Hindu god for the Shaivism sect, the patron of Yogis and Brahmins, and also the protector of the Vedas, the sacred texts.

Shiva, Parvati & Ganesha

Shiva’s wife was Parvati, often incarnated as Kali and Durga. She was actually a reincarnation of Sati (or Dakshayani), the daughter of the god Daksha. Daksha didn’t approve of Sati’s marriage to Shiva and even went further and held a special sacrificial ceremony to all or any the gods except Shiva. Outraged at this slight, Sati threw herself on the sacrificial fire. Shiva reacted to the present tragedy by creating two demons (Virabhadra and Rudrakali) from his hair who wreaked havoc on the ceremony and beheaded Daksha. the opposite gods appealed to Shiva to finish the violence and, complying, he brought Daksha back to life but with the top of a ram (or goat). Sati was eventually reincarnated as Parvati in her next life and she or he re-married Shiva.


With Parvati, Shiva had a son, the god Ganesha. The boy was actually created out of earth and clay to stay her company and protect her while Shiva went on his meditative wanderings. However, Shiva returned at some point and, finding the boy guarding the space where Parvati was bathing, he enquired who he was. Not believing the boy was his son, and thinking him an impudent beggar, Shiva called up the bhutaganas demons who fought the boy and eventually managed to distract him with the looks of the gorgeous Maya and, whilst he admired the sweetness, they lopped his head. At the commotion, Parvati rushed from her bath and screamed that her son had been killed. Realising his error, Shiva then sent for a replacement head with which to form the boy whole again but the closest at hand was of an elephant. then Ganesha, the elephant-headed god, was born. Other sons of Shiva are Skanda or Karttikeya, the god of war and Kuvera, the god of treasures.

Shiva Nataraja (Lord of the Dance)
by Peter F (CC BY-SA)

Ganga (the goddess who personified the river Ganges) was given to Shiva by Vishnu who couldn’t take any longer of the constant quarrels between his then three wives of Lakshmi (goddess of excellent fortune), Saraswati (goddess of wisdom) and Ganga. To cushion Ganga’s fall to the world , and stop such an excellent river destroying civilisation, Shiva caught her in his hair topknot; once more , illustrating his quality of self-sacrifice.


Shiva in Mythology

As with any major god, Shiva was involved in many adventurous episodes which illustrate his virtuous character and offer instruction on the way to live correctly. for instance, self-sacrifice is emphasised when Vasuki, the king of Serpents, threatened to vomit venom across the seas. Shiva, assuming the shape of an enormous tortoise or turtle, collected the venom in his palm and drank it. The poison burned his throat and left a permanent blue scar, hence one among his many titles became Nilakantha or Blue Throat.

Another celebrated episode describes how Shiva became related to the bull Nandi. One day, Surabhi, who was the first mother of all the world’s cows, began to offer birth to an untold number of perfectly white cows. The milk from of these cows flooded the house of Shiva, somewhere within the Himalaya. Angry at this disturbance to his meditation, the god struck the cows with fire from his pineal eye . In consequence, patches of the cows’ hides were turned brown. Still angry, the opposite gods sought to calm Shiva down by offering him a powerful bull – Nandi, the son of Surabhi and Kasyapa – which Shiva accepted and rode. Nandi also became the protector of all animals.

adiyogi statue
Adiyogi statue by isha foundation

Shiva is closely related to the Linga (or Lingham) – a phallus or symbol of fertility or divine energy found in temples to the god. Following the death of Sarti, and before her reincarnation, Shiva was in mourning and visited the Daru forest to measure with rishis or sages. However, the wives of the rishis soon began to require an interest in Shiva. In jealousy, the rishis first sent an outsized antelope than a big tiger against the god but Shiva swiftly addressed them and wore the tiger skin thereafter. The sages then cursed Shiva’s manhood which, in consequence, fell off. When the phallus struck the bottom, earthquakes began and therefore the ricsis became afraid and asked for forgiveness. This was given but Shiva told them to forever after worship the phallus because of the symbolic Linga.

Shiva in Art

In Asian art Shiva could also be represented in slightly alternative ways counting on the actual culture: Indian, Cambodian, Javanese etc. but he’s most ordinarily depicted naked, with multiple arms and together with his hair engaged during a topknot. He often has three horizontal stripes and a 3rd vertical eye on his forehead. He wears a headdress with a crescent moon and a skull (representing the fifth head of Brahma, which he decapitated as punishment for the god lusting after his own daughter Sandhya), a necklace of heads, and snakes as bracelets. during this guise, he usually represents Nataraja and dances the Tandava within a circle of fireside which represents the never-ending cycle of your time. He holds the divine fire (Agni) which destroys the universe and therefore the drum (Damaru) which makes the primary sounds of the creation. One hand makes the calming abhayamudra gesture and another point to his left foot, the symbol of salvation. He also stamps one foot on the dwarf figure Apasmara Purusha who represents illusion and who leads men far away from reality.

Shiva can also be depicted standing on one leg with the proper leg folded ahead of the left knee and holding a rosary in his right, the standard posture of ascetic meditation. Sometimes he also rides his white bull, carries a silver bow (Pinaka), holds an antelope, and wears a tiger or elephant skin, all symbolic of his famed prowess as a hunter.

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