“SHIV” is the real word not “SHIV + A” and in Vedic terms it means “only formless, omnipresent and almighty God”. Many religious leaders of this world argue that Hinduism is anti-Islamic and anti-Christian faith as it worships statues or material forms. Well, they are very much entitled to publish and put forward their views but a rational approach in this direction is required.
The origin of SHIV
To start with let me put some facts (rather mythological facts) regarding the origin of SHIV. It’s said that when the universe was being created the first word that resonated the earth was “OMMMMMM”, well scientifically if you analyze this, it sounds true because when the earth becomes suitable to propagate sound, it was void and without any features or objects to hold a sound and this is precisely the sound that comes out when the echo any sudden thrust is preceding. In Vedas, it’s said that this sound resonated the earth giving rise to living beings. And this sound is made up of 3-characters.
A-> Brahma-> the god responsible for birth and creation of the universe
U->Vishnu-> the god responsible for the continuation of the universe
M->Shiv-> the god of destruction (not literary), he is responsible to stabilize a system.
It is said that when the earth was in its formative period a large beam of fire (pillar-like structure, the same as a volcano burst) blasted from the earth which was endless in the direction of the sky and deep into the earth. Lord Brahma and Lord Vishnu had a bet, the one who finds the end of this fire beam will be greater than the other.
Lord Vishnu started in the neanderthal and Lord Brahma towards the sky, they traveled for days and years but couldn’t find the end to the fire beam. On his way lord Brahma saw a Ketki flower dropping from sky, he told the Keiki flower to go down and tell Lord Vishnu that he (lord Brahma) has reached the upper end of the fire beam (in Vedas it’s said that during its origin and early days of earth, all plants and animals were able to understand each other’s language). Ketki followed this lie and propagated it to Lord Vishnu, Lord Vishnu accepted his defeat; but before Lord Brahma could cherish his superiority, the iron beam blasted and out came a huge figure with the trident in one hand and long hair. He was SHIV (and that’s the reason he is also named AJANMEY, one without birth), he was furious with Lord Brahma and removed one of his four heads for this lie, he also cursed him that he would not have any temple on this earth (there is only one temple of Lord Brahma that’s in Pushkar in Rajasthan), and to Ketki he cursed that she wouldn’t find a place in his temple. This was the origin of Lord Shiva.
Finding the characteristics of Lord Shiva will have no end
Following are the list of his names which specify his characteristics and attributes :
(1) Nilkanth: because he drank the venom that came out after drilling the ocean, no one was ready to hold this harsh venom, and if spilled on earth it will destroy the earth and if burnt it will destroy the air. Lord Shiva accepted to hold it and drank it till his thought. The Venum was so strong that his neck turned blue and hence the name “one with blue throat”
(2) Bholenath: this is the most loving characteristic of Lord Shiva, he is very easy to worship and can be pleased easily. There are many stories to eulogize this attribute of Lord Shiva.
(3) Mahesh/Mahadev: He is considered to be the foremost among all Lords and hence the name “MAHA=BIG/Foremost” “DEV=LORD”
(4)ChandraChud: One with the moon on his hair lump (jata) (see a picture of shiva for this).
(5)Mahakal: the one who is the keeper of time and who brings of end of time.
(6) Shankar: Giver of happiness.
6 attributes and names of Lord Shiva
These are 6 attributes and names of Lord Shiva, but if we try to find out all the names and attributes…the list is endless and a complete web site would have to be put up to handle the documentation of related stories.
To add Hinduism never portrayed god as a material thing like statue of picture, but it granted democracy to worshipper to follow a god in a form or material that pleases him, u have numerous examples where a person has attained the highest level of spirituality through worshiping god in his/her own way ex: Mirabai worshipped Lord Krishna and fell in love with him, Chaitanya Mahaprabhu used to do ras in a virtual world with his lord and attained a spiritual level.
Hinduism believes that if you have love and affection for anything and you go after that spiritually till the end you will attain moksha.
That’s the love towards god, love toward the husband, love towards wife, love towards kids and anything material on this earth with an essence of spirituality. That’s it and this is the reason why many Hindu gods are portrayed as half animals.