How does Shiva destroy and recreate the universe?
Being the Lord of Dance, Shiva’s favorite dance is believed to be the Tandav. Hindu scholars describe this dance as the “dance of death”. When one era/age ends, Shiva swoops in and performs the Tandav, which in turn produces fire (agni) to destroy the old [universe] and usher in a new world. It is believed that the Tandav is therefore a significant component in the universe’s cycle of birth, death and rebirth.
The Tandav dance that Shiva performs is one that requires careful timing and precision. Done too early or late, and the entire balance of the universe could be disrupted. This was evident when Shiva forgot himself and performed the dance too early, which almost led to catastrophic consequences for the universe.
As the god of time and creation, this Hindu god is believed to destroy the universe every 2,160,000,000 years. After the old universe is destroyed, a new one sprouts up; thereby, ushering in a new cycle. On the other hand, he is believed to create the new universe by drumming a drum called damaru.
Other interesting facts
- The dwelling place of Lord Shiva and his wife Parvati is on the Kailash mountains in the Himalayan region.
- He has sometimes being shown as the Shiva linga. The term tries to depict Shiva in his raw and untamed form. It focuses much on his masculinity side. It is believed that this trait of his was what planted the seeds of the universe. During the Mahashivratri festival, the Shiva linga statue is immersed deep in milk and honey and then the statue is worshiped subsequently.
- He is often associated with Devi, the mother goddess in Hindu religion. Devi is also sometimes seen as Shiva’s consort. It is believed that Devi has the ability to transform into other female Hindu deities such as Kali (the goddess of destruction and death) and Sati (the fertility goddess). Devi has been reincarnated several times, with her commonest one being Parvati.
- A look into his dark side reveals that he is the deity in charge of evil spirits, blood-sucking creatures, troublesome ghosts, thieves, and other villains.
- Shiva’s wife Parvati has reincarnated a number of times. In some of her lives, she incarnated as Durga and Kali. Parvati in turn was the reincarnated version of the goddess Sati (also known as Dakshayani).
- After his wife Sati committed suicide by throwing herself on a ceremonial fire, Shiva is believed to have sent two horrible creatures – Virabhadra and Rudrakali – to murder Sati’s father, Daksha. He created the two demons from a lock of his hair. After the other gods begged Shiva to end his vengeful acts and violence, Shiva brought his father-in-law back to life with the head of a ram.
- To Yogis, Brahmins and Shaivism practitioners, Shiva is the greatest and most important deity.
- For his self-sacrificial act in saving mankind from the poison released by Vasuki, Shiva has been called Nilakantha (Blue Throat).
- Monday is his most revered day.
- Lord Shiva decapitated the fifth head of the creator god Brahma after the latter was caught lusting after Sandhya, Brahma’s own daughter.
- Other symbols of Shiva are a silver bow (Pinaka), a tiger, and an antelope.