The Ardhanarishvara (Sanskrit: अर्धनारीश्वर, Ardhanārīśwara) is a composite androgynous form of the Hindu deities Shiva and Parvati (the latter being known as Devi, Shakti and Uma in this icon). Ardhanarishvara is depicted as half-male and half-female, equally split down the middle. The right half is usually the male Shiva, illustrating his traditional attributes.
The earliest Ardhanarishvara images are dated to the Kushan period, starting from the first century CE. Its iconography evolved and was perfected in the Gupta era. The Puranas and various iconographic treatises write about the mythology and iconography of Ardhanarishvara. Ardhanarishvara remains a popular iconographic form found in most Shiva temples throughout India, though very few temples are dedicated to this deity.
Ardhanarishvara represents the synthesis of masculine and feminine energies of the universe (Purusha and Prakriti) and illustrates how Shakti, the female principle of God, is inseparable from (or the same as, according to some interpretations) Shiva, the male principle of God. The union of these principles is exalted as the root and womb of all creation. Another view is that Ardhanarishvara is a symbol of Shiva's all-pervasive nature.
|Affiliation||A combined form of Shiva and Parvati|
|Mount||Nandi (usually), sometimes along with a lion|
The name Ardhanarishvara means "the Lord Who is half woman." Ardhanarishvara is also known by other names like Ardhanaranari ("the half man-woman"), Ardhanarisha ("the Lord who is half woman"), Ardhanarinateshvara ("the Lord of Dance Who is half-woman"), Parangada, Naranari ("man-woman"), Ammiappan (a Tamil Name meaning "Mother-Father"), and Ardhayuvatishvara (in Assam, "the Lord whose half is a young woman or girl"). The Gupta-era writer Pushpadanta in his Mahimnastava refers to this form as dehardhaghatana ("Thou and She art each the half of one body"). Utpala, commenting on the Brihat Samhita, calls this form Ardha-Gaurishvara ("the Lord whose half is the fair one"; the fair one – Gauri – is an attribute of Parvati). The Vishnudharmottara Purana simply calls this form Gaurishvara ("The Lord/husband of Gauri).
The conception of Ardhanarishvara may have been inspired by Vedic literature's composite figure of Yama-Yami, the Vedic descriptions of the primordial Creator Vishvarupa or Prajapati and the fire-god Agni as "bull who is also a cow," the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad's Atman ("soul") in the form of the androgynous cosmic man Purusha and the androgynous myths of the Greek Hermaphroditus and Phrygian Agdistis. The Brihadaranyaka Upanishad says that Purusha splits himself into two parts, male and female, and the two halves copulate, producing all life – a theme concurrent in Ardhanarishvara's tales. The Shvetashvatara Upanishad sows the seed of the Puranic Ardhanarishvara. It declares Rudra – the antecedent of the Puranic Shiva – the maker of all and the root of Purusha (the male principle) and Prakriti (the female principle), adhering to Samkhya philosophy. It hints at his androgynous nature, describing him both as male and female.
The concept of Ardhanarishvara originated in Kushan and Greek cultures simultaneously; the iconography evolved in the Kushan era (30–375 CE), but was perfected in the Gupta era (320-600 CE). A mid-first century Kushan era stela in the Mathura Museum has a half-male, half-female image, along with three other figures identified with Vishnu, Gaja Lakshmi and Kubera. The male half is ithyphallic or with an urdhvalinga and makes an abhaya mudra gesture; the female left half holds a mirror and has a rounded breast. This is the earliest representation of Ardhanarishvara, universally recognized. An early Kushan Ardhanarishvara head discovered at Rajghat is displayed at the Mathura Museum. The right male half has matted hair with a skull and crescent moon; the left female half has well-combed hair decorated with flowers and wears a patra-kundala (earring). The face has a common third eye. A terracotta seal discovered in Vaishali has half-man, half-woman features. Early Kushan images show Ardhanarishvara in a simple two-armed form, but later texts and sculptures depict a more complex iconography.
Ardhanarishvara is referred to by the Greek author Stobaeus (c. 500 AD) while quoting Bardasanes (c. 154–222 AD), who learnt from an Indian embassy's visit to Syria during the reign of Elagabalus (Antoninus of Emesa) (218–22 AD). A terracotta androgynous bust, excavated at Taxila and dated to the Saka-Parthian era, pictures a bearded man with female breasts.
Ardhanarishvara is interpreted as an attempt to syncretise the two principal Hindu sects, Shaivism and Shaktism, dedicated to Shiva and the Great Goddess. A similar syncretic image is Harihara, a composite form of Shiva and Vishnu, the Supreme deity of the Vaishnava sect.
The iconographic 16th century work Shilparatna, the Matsya Purana and Agamic texts like Amshumadbhedagama, Kamikagama, Supredagama and Karanagama – most of them of South Indian origin – describe the iconography of Ardhanarishvara. The right superior side of the body usually is the male Shiva and the left is the female Parvati; in rare depictions belonging to the Shaktism school, the feminine holds the dominant right side. The icon usually is prescribed to have four, three or two arms, but rarely is depicted with eight arms. In the case of three arms, the Parvati side has only one arm, suggesting a lesser role in the icon.
The male half wears a jata-mukuta (a headdress formed of piled, matted hair) on his head, adorned with a crescent moon. Sometimes the jata-mukuta is adorned with serpents and the river goddess Ganga flowing through the hair. The right ear wears a nakra-kundala, sarpa-kundala ("serpent-earring") or ordinary kundala ("earring"). Sometimes, the male eye is depicted smaller than the female one and a half-moustache is also seen. A half third eye (trinetra) is prescribed on the male side of the forehead in the canons; a full eye may also be depicted in middle of forehead separated by both the sides or a half eye may be shown above or below Parvati's round dot. A common elliptical halo (prabhamandala/prabhavali) may be depicted behind the head; sometimes the shape of the halo may differ on either side.
In the four-armed form, a right hand holds a parashu (axe) and another makes an abhaya mudra (gesture of reassurance), or one of the right arms is slightly bent and rests on the head of Shiva's bull mount, Nandi, while the other is held in the abhaya mudra gesture. Another configuration suggests that a right hand holds a trishula (trident) and another makes a varada mudra (gesture of blessing). Another scripture prescribes that a trishula and akshamala (rosary) are held in the two right hands. In the two-armed form, the right hand holds a kapala (skull cup) or gestures in a varada mudra. He may also hold a skull. In the Badami relief, the four-armed Ardhanarishvara plays a veena (lute), using a left and a right arm, while other male arm holds a parashu and the female one a lotus.
The Shiva half has a flat masculine chest, a straight vertical chest, broader shoulder, wider waist and muscular thigh. He wears a yagnopavita (sacred thread) across the chest, which is sometimes represented as a naga-yagnopavita (a snake worn as a yagnopavita) or a string of pearls or gems. The yajnopavita may also divide the torso into its male and female halves. He wears ornaments characteristic of Shiva's iconography, including serpent ornaments.
In some North Indian images, the male half may be nude and also be ithyphallic (urdhavlinga or urdhavreta: with an erect phallus), or with a full or half phallus and one testicle. However, such imagery is never found in South Indian images; the loins are usually covered in a garment (sometimes a dhoti) of silk or cotton, or the skin of a tiger or deer), typically down to the knee, and held in place by a sarpa-mekhala, serpent girdle or jewellery. The right leg may be somewhat bent or straight and often rests on a lotus pedestal (padma-pitha). The whole right half is described as smeared with ashes and as terrible and red-coloured or gold or coral in appearance; however, these features are rarely depicted.
The female half has karanda-mukuta (a basket-shaped crown) on her head or well-combed knotted hair or both. The left ear wears a valika-kundala (a type of earring). A tilaka or bindu (a round red dot) adorns her forehead, matching Shiva's third eye. The left eye is painted with black eyeliner. While the male neck is sometimes adorned with a jewelled hooded serpent, the female neck has a blue lotus matching it.
In the four-armed form, one of the left arms rests on Nandi's head, while the other is bent in kataka pose and holds a nilotpala (blue lotus) or hangs loosely at her side. In the three-armed representation, the left hand holds a flower, a mirror or a parrot. In the case of two-armed icons, the left hand rests on Nandi's head, hangs loose or holds either a flower, a mirror or a parrot. The parrot may be also perched on Parvati's wrist. Her hand(s) is/are adorned with ornaments like a keyura (anklet) or kankana (bangles).
Parvati has a well-developed, round bosom and a narrow feminine waist embellished with various haras (religious bracelets) and other ornaments, made of diamonds and other gems. She has a fuller thigh and a curvier body and hip than the male part of the icon. The torso, hip and pelvis of the female is exaggerated to emphasize the anatomical differences between the halves. Though the male private parts may be depicted, the female genitalia are never depicted and the loins are always draped. She wears a multi-coloured or white silken garment down to her ankle and one or three girdles around her waist. The left half wears an anklet and her foot is painted red with henna. The left leg may be somewhat bent or straight, resting on a lotus pedestal. In contrast to the Shiva half, the Parvati half – smeared with saffron – is described as calm and gentle, fair in colour. Very rarely, Parvati is shown with parrot-green skin, this represents how she is the daughter of the mountains but mostly she is shown as Gauri (the fair one). She may be draped in a sari covering her torso and legs.
The posture of Ardhanarishvara may be tribhanga – bent in three parts: head (leaning to the left), torso (to the right) and right leg or in the sthanamudra position (straight), sometimes standing on a lotus pedestal, whereupon it is called samapada. Seated images of Ardhanarishvara are missing in iconographic treatises, but are still found in sculpture and painting. Though the canons often depict the Nandi bull as the common vahana (mount) of Ardhanarishvara, some depictions have Shiva's bull vahana seated or standing near or behind his foot, while the goddess's lion vahana is near her foot.
The Parashurameshvara Temple at Bhubaneswar has a dancing eight-armed Ardhanarishvara. The upper male arms hold a lute and akshamala (rosary), while the upper female ones hold a mirror and a book; the others are broken. Another non-conventional Ardhanarishvara is found at Darasuram. The sculpture is three-headed and eight-armed, holding akshamala, khadga (sword), pasha, musala, kapala (skull cup), lotus and other objects.
The Naradiya Purana mentions that Ardhanarishvara is half-black and half-yellow, nude on one side and clothed on other, wearing skulls and a garland of lotuses on the male half and female half respectively. The Linga Purana gives a brief description of Ardhanarishvara as making varada and abhaya mudras and holding a trishula and a lotus. The Vishnudharmottara Purana prescribes a four-armed form, with right hands holding a rosary and trishula, while the left ones bear a mirror and a lotus. The form is called Gaurishvara in this text.
The unnamed half-female form of Shiva is also alluded to in the epic Mahabharata. In Book XIII, Upamanyu praises Shiva rhetorically asking if there is anyone else whose half-body is shared by his spouse, and adds that the universe had risen from the union of sexes, as represented by Shiva's half-female form. In some narratives, Shiva is described as dark and fair-complexioned, half yellow and half white, half woman and half man, and both woman and man. In Book XIII, Shiva preaches to Parvati that half of his body is made up of her body.
In the Skanda Purana, Parvati requests Shiva to allow her to reside with him, embracing "limb-to-limb", and so Ardhanarishvara is formed. It also tells that when the demon Andhaka wanted to seize Parvati and make her his wife, Vishnu rescued her and brought her to his abode. When the demon followed her there, Parvati revealed her Ardhanarishvara form to him. Seeing the half-male, half-female form, the demon lost interest in her and left. Vishnu was amazed to see this form and saw himself in the female part of the form.
The Shiva Purana describes that the creator god Brahma created all male beings, the Prajapatis, and told them to regenerate, which they were unable to do. Confronted with the resulting decline in the pace of creation, Brahma was perplexed and contemplated on Shiva for help. To enlighten Brahma of his folly, Shiva appeared before him as Ardhanarishvara. Brahma prayed to the female half of Shiva to give him a female to continue creation. The goddess agreed and created various female powers from her body, thereby allowing creation to progress. In other Puranas like the Linga Purana, Vayu Purana, Vishnu Purana, Skanda Purana, Kurma Purana, and Markandeya Purana, Rudra (identified with Shiva) appears as Ardhanarishvara, emerging from Brahma's head, forehead, mouth or soul as the embodiment of Brahma's fury and frustration due to the slow pace of creation. Brahma asks Rudra to divide himself, and the latter complies by dividing into male and female. Numerous beings, including the 11 Rudras and various female shaktis, are created from both the halves. In some versions, the goddess unites with Shiva again and promises to be born as Sati on earth to be Shiva's wife. In the Linga Purana, the Ardhanarishvara Rudra is so hot that in the process of appearing from Brahma's forehead, he burns Brahma himself. Ardhanarishvara Shiva then enjoys his own half – the Great Goddess – by "the path of yoga" and creates Brahma and Vishnu from her body. In the repetitive cycle of aeons, Ardhanarishvara is ordained to reappear at the beginning of every creation as in the past.
The Matsya Purana describes how Brahma, pleased with a penance performed by Parvati, rewards her by blessing her with a golden complexion. This renders her more attractive to Shiva, to whom she later merges as one half of his body.
Tamil temple lore narrates that once the gods and sages (rishi) had gathered at Shiva's abode, they prayed their respects to Shiva and Parvati. However, the sage Bhringi had vowed to worship only one deity, Shiva, and ignored Parvati while worshipping and circumambulating him. Agitated, Parvati cursed Bhringi to lose all his flesh and blood, reducing him to a skeleton. In this form Bhringi could not stand erect, so the compassionate ones who witnessed the scene blessed the sage with a third leg for support. As her attempt to humiliate the sage had failed, Parvati punished herself with austerities that pleased Shiva and led him to grant her the boon of uniting with him, thereby compelling Bhringi to worship her as well as himself in the form of Ardhanarishvara. However, the sage assumed the form of a beetle and circumambulating only the male half, drilling a hole in the deity. Amazed by his devotion, Parvati reconciled with the sage and blessed him. The seventh-century Shaiva Nayanar saint Appar mentions that after marrying Parvati, Shiva incorporated her into half of his body.
In the Kalika Purana, Parvati (called Gauri here) is described as having suspected Shiva of infidelity when she saw her own reflection in the crystal-like breast of Shiva. A conjugal dispute erupted but was quickly resolved, after which Parvati wished to stay eternally with Shiva in his body. The divine couple was thereafter fused as Ardhanarishvara. Another tale from North India also talks about Parvati's jealousy. Another woman, the river Ganga – often depicted flowing out of Shiva's locks – sat on his head, while Parvati (as Gauri) sat on his lap. To pacify Gauri, Shiva united with her as Ardhanarishvara.
Only in tales associated with the cult of Shakta (in which the Goddess is considered the Supreme Being) is the Goddess venerated as the Maker of All. In these tales, it is her body (not Shiva's) which splits into male and female halves.
Ardhanarishvara symbolizes that the male and female principles are inseparable. The composite form conveys the unity of opposites (coniunctio oppositorum) in the universe. The male half of Ardhanarishvara stands for Purusha and female half is Prakriti. Purusha is the male principle and passive force of the universe, while Prakriti is the female active force; both are "constantly drawn to embrace and fuse with each other, though... separated by the intervening axis". The union of Purusha (Shiva) and Prikriti (Shiva's energy, Shakti) generates the universe, an idea also manifested in the union of the Linga of Shiva and Yoni of Devi creating the cosmos. The Mahabharata lauds this form as the source of creation. Ardhanarishvara also suggests the element of Kama or Lust, which leads to creation.
Ardhanarishvara signifies "totality that lies beyond duality", "bi-unity of male and female in God" and "the bisexuality and therefore the non-duality" of the Supreme Being. It conveys that God is both Shiva and Parvati, "both male and female, both father and mother, both aloof and active, both fearsome and gentle, both destructive and constructive" and unifies all other dichotomies of the universe. While Shiva's rosary in the Ardhanarishvara iconography associates him with asceticism and spirituality, Parvati's mirror associates her to the material illusory world. Ardhanarishvara reconciles and harmonizes the two conflicting ways of life: the spiritual way of the ascetic as represented by Shiva, and the materialistic way of the householder as symbolized by Parvati, whose raison d’être in Hindu mythology is to lure the ascetic Shiva into marriage and the wider circle of worldly affairs. The interdependence of Shiva on his power (Shakti) as embodied in Parvati is also manifested in this form. Ardhanarishvara conveys that Shiva and Shakti are one and the same, an interpretation also declared in inscriptions found along with Ardhanarishvara images in Java and the eastern Malay Archipelago. The Vishnudharmottara Purana also emphasizes the identity and sameness of the male Purusha and female Prakriti, manifested in the image of Ardhanarishvara. According to Shaiva guru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami (1927–2001), Ardhanarishvara signifies that the great Shiva is "All, inseparable from His energy" (i.e. his Shakti) and is beyond gender.
Across cultures, hermaphrodite figures like Ardhanarishvara have traditionally been associated with fertility and abundant growth. In this form, Shiva in his eternal embrace with Prakriti represents the eternal reproductive power of Nature, whom he regenerates after she loses her fertility. "It is a duality in unity, the underlying principle being a sexual dualism". Art historian Sivaramamurti calls it "a unique connection of the closely knit ideal of man and woman rising above the craving of the flesh and serving as a symbol of hospitality and parenthood". The dual unity of Ardhanarishvara is considered "a model of conjugal inseparability". Padma Upadhyaya comments, "The idea of ... Ardhanārīśvara is to locate the man in the woman as also the woman in the man and to create perfect homogeneity in domestic affairs".
Often, the right half of Ardhanarishvara is male and the left is female. The left side is the location of the heart and is associated with feminine characteristics like intuition and creativity, while the right is associated with the brain and masculine traits – logic, valour and systematic thought. The female is often not equal in the Ardhanarishvara, the male god who is half female; she remains a dependent entity. Ardhanarishvara "is in essence Shiva, not Parvati". This is also reflected in mythology, where Parvati becomes a part of Shiva. It is likewise reflected in iconography: Shiva often has two supernatural arms and Parvati has just one earthly arm, and his bull vahana – not her lion vahana – typically accompanies them.
Ardhanarishvara is one of the most popular iconographic forms of Shiva. It is found in more or less all temples and shrines dedicated to Shiva all over India and South-east Asia. There is ample evidence from texts and the multiple depictions of the Ardhanarishvara in stone to suggest that a cult centred around the deity may have existed. The cult may have had occasional followers, but was never aligned to any sect. This cult focusing on the joint worship of Shiva and the Goddess may even have had a high position in Hinduism, but when and how it faded away remains a mystery. Though a popular iconographic form, temples dedicated to the deity are few. A popular one is located in Thiruchengode, while five others are located in Kallakkurichi taluk, all of them in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu.
The Linga Purana advocates the worship of Ardhanarishvara by devotees to attain union with Shiva upon dissolution of the world and thus attain salvation. The Ardhanarinateshvara Stotra is a popular hymn dedicated to the deity. The Nayanar saints of Tamil Nadu exault the deity in hymns. While the 8th-century Nayanar saint Sundarar says that Shiva is always inseparable from the Mother Goddess, another 7th-century Nayanar saint Sambanthar describes how the "eternal feminine" is not only his consort, but she is also part of him. The renowned Sanskrit writer Kalidasa (c. 4th–5th century) alludes Ardhanarishvara in invocations of his Raghuvamsa and Malavikagnimitram, and says that Shiva and Shakti are as inseparable as word and meaning. The 9th-century Nayanar saint Manikkavacakar casts Parvati in the role of the supreme devotee of Shiva in his hymns. He alludes to Ardhanarishvara several times and regards it the ultimate goal of a devotee to be united with Shiva as Parvati is in the Ardhanarishvara form.
Very old famous temple, for Sri ArdhaNareshwara, in Vasudeva Nallur, is worth visiting. This town is located between Sivagiri and Tenkasi of Thirunelveli district.Amirthakadeswarar Temple, Sakkottai
Amirthakadeswarar Temple (அமிர்தகடேஸ்வரர் கோயில், சாக்கோட்டை) is a Hindu temple dedicated to the deity Shiva, located at Sakkottai in Tamil Nadu, India. The temple is dedicated to Shiva. Shiva is worshiped as Amirthakadeswarar, and is represented by the lingam. His consort Parvati is depicted as Amirthavalli Amman. The presiding deity is revered in the 7th century Tamil Saiva canonical work, the Tevaram, written by Tamil saint poets known as the Nayanmars and classified as Paadal Petra Sthalam.
As per Hindu legend, the essence of creation arrived at this place in a pot (locally called kalayam), the place came to be known as Kalayanallur. The temple is closely associated with Sakya Nayanmar, one of 63 saints associated with Saivism. The temple has four daily rituals at various times from 7:00 a.m. to 10 p.m., and three major yearly festivals on its calendar. Maha Shivrathri and Masi Magam during the Tamil month of Masi (February - March) and Margazhi Tiruvadhirai during Margazhi (December - January) are the major festivals celebrated in the temple.
The temple complex houses a three-tier known as gopuram (gateway tower) and has moats inside and outside the surrounding walls. The temple has numerous shrines, with those of Amirthakadeswarar and Amirthavalli Amman being the most prominent. The present masonry structure was built during the Chola dynasty in the 9th century, while later expansions are attributed to Thanjavur Nayaks. The image of Lingothbhava is made of emerald, while the image of Ardhanarishvara is depicted with his right leg in relaxing posture. The temple is maintained and administered by the Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments Department of the Government of Tamil Nadu.Ardhanaari
Ardhanaari (2012) is a Malayalam film about the life of transgender people in Kerala. The film is directed by Santhosh Souparnika and produced by M. G. Sreekumar under his production house MG Sound & Frames.Vinayan (Manoj K. Jayan), is a transgender person with male physique and female behavioral traits which leads to ridicule and snide remarks from his brother and others. The film brings out the rituals, customs, angst and preferences of transgender people. The title of the film alludes to the half male and half female Hindu god Ardhanarishvara. Also starring in the film are Maniyanpilla Raju, Thilakan, Sukumari and Saikumar. It was one of the last films featuring Thilakan who died weeks before the release of the film.
The film opened to mixed critical reviews but the performance by Manoj K. Jayan as a eunuch gained unanimous appreciation. It is widely considered as one of the finest performances by the actor.Bhringi
According to Hindu epics, Bhringi was an ancient sage (rishi), and a great devotee of Shiva, the Hindu God. According to epics, all the rishis paid homage to both Shiva and Parvati,consort of Shiva , but Bhringi would not worship Parvati and dedicated himself solely to Shiva .
The story goes that Bhringi one day, came to Mount Kailash, the abode of Shiva , and expressed his desire to go around Shiva . As he was going around, Shiva 's consort, Shakti, said, “You cannot just go around him. You have to go around me too. We are two halves of the same truth.”
Bhringi, however, was so focussed on Shiva that he had no desire to go around Shakti. Seeing this, Shakti sat on Shiva’s lap making it difficult for Bhringi to go around Shiva alone. Bhringi, determined to go around Shiva took the form of a Bhring (Black Bee) and tried to slip in between the two.
Amused by this, Shiva made Shakti one half of his body – the famous Ardhanarishvara form of Shiva . This was God whose one half is the Goddess. But Bhringi was adamant. He would go around Shiva alone. So he took the form of a rat, some say a bee, and tried to gnaw his way between the two.
This annoyed the Goddess so much that she said, “May Bhringi lose all parts of the body that come from the mother.” In Tantra, the Indian school of alchemy, it is believed that the tough and rigid parts of the body such as nerves and bones come from the father while the soft and fluid parts of the body such as flesh and blood come from the mother. Instantly, Bhringi lost all flesh and blood and he became a bag of bones. He collapsed on the floor, unable to get up.
Bhringi realized his folly. Shiva and Shakti make up the whole. They are not independent entities. One cannot exist without the other. Without either there is neither. He apologized.
So the world never forgets this lesson. Bhringi was denied flesh and blood forever. To enable him to stand upright he was given a third leg, so that his legs served as a tripod.Devon Ke Dev...Mahadev
Devon Ke Dev... Mahadev (English: God of the Gods... Mahadev) is a drama series based on the legends of the God Lord Shiva, also known as Mahadev. It premiered on 18 December 2011 airing Monday through Friday nights on Life OK. It was dubbed into several languages. The show ran until 14 December 2014 for a total of 820 episodes. The show has re-aired on Star Bharat from 5 August 2018.Elephanta Caves
Elephanta Caves are a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a collection of cave temples predominantly dedicated to the Hindu god Shiva. They are located on Elephanta Island, or Gharapuri (literally "the city of caves") in Mumbai Harbour, 10 kilometres (6.2 mi) to the east of the city of Mumbai in the Indian state of Mahārāshtra. The island, located offshore about 2 kilometres (1.2 mi) west of the Jawaharlal Nehru Port, consists of five Hindu caves and a few Buddhist stupa mounds that date back to the 2nd century BCE, as well as a small group of two Buddhist caves with water tanks.The Elephanta Caves contain rock cut stone sculptures that show syncretism of Hindu and Buddhist ideas and iconography. The caves are hewn from solid basalt rock. Except for a few exceptions, much of the artwork is defaced and damaged. The main temple's orientation as well as the relative location of other temples are placed in a mandala pattern. The carvings narrate Hindu mythologies, with the large monolithic 20 feet (6.1 m) Trimurti Sadashiva (three-faced Shiva), Nataraja (Lord of dance) and Yogishvara (Lord of Yoga) being the most celebrated.The origins and date when the caves were constructed have attracted considerable speculations and scholarly attention since the 19th century. These date them between 5th and 9th century, and attribute them to various Hindu dynasties. They are more commonly placed between 5th and 7th centuries. Most scholars consider it to have been completed by about 550 CE.They were named Elefante – which morphed to Elephanta – by the colonial Portuguese when they found elephant statues on it. They established a base on the island, and its soldiers damaged the sculpture and caves. The main cave (Cave 1, or the Great Cave) was a Hindu place of worship until the Portuguese arrived, whereupon the island ceased to be an active place of worship. The earliest attempts to prevent further damage to the Caves were started by British India officials in 1909. The monuments were restored in the 1970s. In 1987, the restored Elephanta Caves were designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is currently maintained by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI).Hindu deities
Hindu deities are the gods and goddesses in Hinduism. The terms and epithets for deity within the diverse traditions of Hinduism vary, and include Deva, Devi, Ishvara, Ishvari, Bhagavān and Bhagavati.The deities of Hinduism have evolved from the Vedic era (2nd millennium BC) through the medieval era (1st millennium AD), regionally within Nepal, India and in southeast Asia, and across Hinduism's diverse traditions. The Hindu deity concept varies from a personal god as in Yoga school of Hindu philosophy, to 33 Vedic deities, to hundreds of Puranics of Hinduism. Illustrations of major deities include Parvati, Vishnu, Sri (Lakshmi), Shiva, Sati, Brahma and Saraswati. These deities have distinct and complex personalities, yet are often viewed as aspects of the same Ultimate Reality called Brahman. From ancient times, the idea of equivalence has been cherished for all Hindus, in its texts and in early 1st millennium sculpture with concepts such as Harihara (half Shiva, half Vishnu), Ardhanārīshvara (half Shiva, half Parvati), with myths and temples that feature them together, declaring they are the same. Major deities have inspired their own Hindu traditions, such as Vaishnavism, Shaivism and Shaktism, but with shared mythology, ritual grammar, theosophy, axiology and polycentrism. Some Hindu traditions such as Smartism from mid 1st millennium AD, have included multiple major deities as henotheistic manifestations of Saguna Brahman, and as a means to realizing Nirguna Brahman.Hindu deities are represented with various icons and anicons, in paintings and sculptures, called Murtis and Pratimas. Some Hindu traditions, such as ancient Charvakas rejected all deities and concept of god or goddess, while 19th-century British colonial era movements such as the Arya Samaj and Brahmo Samaj rejected deities and adopted monotheistic concepts similar to Abrahamic religions. Hindu deities have been adopted in other religions such as Jainism, and in regions outside India such as predominantly Buddhist Thailand and Japan where they continue to be revered in regional temples or arts.In ancient and medieval era texts of Hinduism, the human body is described as a temple, and deities are described to be parts residing within it, while the Brahman (Absolute Reality, God) is described to be the same, or of similar nature, as the Atman (self, soul), which Hindus believe is eternal and within every living being. Deities in Hinduism are as diverse as its traditions, and a Hindu can choose to be polytheistic, pantheistic, monotheistic, monistic, agnostic, atheistic, or humanist.Parvati
Parvati (Sanskrit: पार्वती, IAST: Pārvatī), Uma (Sanskrit: उमा, IAST: Umā) or Gauri (Sanskrit: गौरी, IAST: Gaurī) is the Hindu goddess of fertility, love, beauty, marriage, children, and devotion; as well as of divine strength and power. Known by many other names, she is the gentle and nurturing aspect of the Supreme Hindu goddess Adi Parashakti and one of the central deities of the Goddess-oriented Shakta sect. She is the Mother goddess in Hinduism, and has many attributes and aspects. Each of her aspects is expressed with a different name, giving her over 100 names in regional Hindu stories of India. Along with Lakshmi and Saraswati, she forms the trinity of Hindu goddesses (Tridevi).Parvati is the wife of the Hindu god Shiva – the protector, the destroyer (of evil) and regenerator of the universe and all life. She is the daughter of the mountain king Himavan and queen Mena. Parvati is the mother of Hindu deities Ganesha, Kartikeya, Ashokasundari. The Puranas also referenced her to be the sister of the preserver god Vishnu. She is the divine energy between a man and a woman, like the energy of Shiva and Shakti. She is also one of the five equivalent deities worshipped in Panchayatana puja of the Smarta Tradition of Hinduism.With Shiva, Parvati is a central deity in the Shaiva sect. In Hindu belief, she is the recreative energy and power of Shiva, and she is the cause of a bond that connects all beings and a means of their spiritual release. In Hindu temples dedicated to her and Shiva, she is symbolically represented as the argha. She is found extensively in ancient Indian literature, and her statues and iconography grace Hindu temples all over South Asia and Southeast Asia.Pattathanam
Pattathanam is a residential area in the city of Kollam in Kerala, south west India. Located 4 kilometres (2.5 mi) from Chinnakkada, the commercial hub of Kollam city, the area is home to the Subrahmanya Swami Temple and its annual elephant festival (Pattathanam Gajamela). The Latin Catholic Bharata Rajni Church and the Ammannada Ardhanarishvara temple are located in Pattathanam.The temple was once a family temple of Kaliyilil puthen Veedu,later it was handed over to NSS.Pāśa
Pāśa (Sanskrit: पाश, romanized: pāśa, lit. "bondage", "fetter") is one of the three main components considered in Shaivism. It is defined as whole of the existence, manifest and unmanifest. According to Shaiva Siddhanta, Pati (the supreme being), Pashu (atmans) and Pasha are eternal, self-consistent, neither distinguishable nor indivisible triad in the nature.Shatarupa
In Hinduism, when Brahma was creating the universe, he made a female deity known as Shatarupā (ਸਤਰੂਪਾ, śata-rūpā = "she of a hundred beautiful forms/one who can acquire hundred forms"). According to the Matsya Purana, Shatarupa was known by different names, including Satarupa, Sandhya and Brahmi. According to Brahma Purana, Shatarupa is regarded as the first woman to be created by Brahma along with Manu.Hindu mythology uses a story to explain Brahma’s four heads. When Brahma created Shatarupa, he was immediately infatuated and pursued her wherever she went. Shatarupā moved in various directions to avoid his gaze but wherever she went, Brahmā developed another head until he had four, one for each direction of the compass. Desperate, Shatarupa leaped over him to stay out of his gaze even for a moment. A fifth head, however, appeared above the others. Thus, Brahmā developed five heads. At this moment Shiva appeared, determined that since Shatarupā was Brahma's daughter (being created by him), it was wrong and merged into devi Parvati and formed the Ardhanarishvara, translated as "half-man and half-woman god." Shiva told Brahma that males and females are both the same as their souls are exactly the same, and the soul doesn’t have a gender only material. The outer body is different only because of different body parts.
Shatarupa married Svayambhuva Manu and had five children — two sons, Priyavrata and Uttānapāda, and three daughters, Ākūti, Devahūti and Prasuti. Manu handed over his first daughter Ākūti to the sage Ruci, the middle daughter, Devahūti, to the sage Kardama, and the youngest, Prasūti, to the god Daksha.Shiva Tandava Stotra
Shiva Tandava Stotra (Sanskrit: शिवताण्डवस्तोत्र, romanized: śiva-tāṇḍava-stotra) is a stotra (Hindu hymn) that describes Shiva's power and beauty. It is traditionally attributed to Ravana, the asura King of Lanka and devotee of Shiva.Siddha Siddhanta
Siddha Siddhanta is one of the six main Shaivite philosophical traditions. It is also known as Gorakshanatha Saivism after its founding Guru Gorakhnath.Stotra
Stotra (Sanskrit:स्तोत्र)(sometimes stotram,स्तोत्रम्) is a Sanskrit word that means "ode, eulogy or a hymn of praise". It is a literary genre of Indian religious texts designed to be melodically sung, in contrast to a shastra which is composed to be recited.A stotra can be a prayer, a description, or a conversation, but always with a poetic structure. It may be a simple poem expressing praise and personal devotion to a deity for example, or poems with embedded spiritual and philosophical doctrines.Many stotra hymns praise aspects of the divine, such as Devi, Shiva, or Vishnu. Relating to word "stuti", coming from the same Sanskrit root *stu- ("to praise"), and basically both mean "praise". Notable stotras are Shiva Tandava Stotram in praise of Shiva and Rama Raksha Stotra, a prayer for protection to Rama.
Stotras are a type of popular devotional literature. Among the early texts with Stotras are by Kuresha, which combine Ramanuja's Vedantic ideas on qualified monism about Atman and Brahman (ultimate, unchanging reality), with temple practices.Temples consecrated by Narayana Guru
Narayana Guru built Temples at different places -Kollam, Thiruvananthapuram, Thrissur, Kannur, Anchuthengu, Thalassery, Kozhikode, Mangalore. Some of the temples built by the guru are :
1888.Shiva temple established at Aruvippuram, Thiruvananthapuram
1889.Devi Temple dedicated at Mannanthala, Thiruvananthapuram
1892.Temple established at AayiramThengu, Alappad, Kollam
1893.temple established at Poothotta(Sre Narayana Vallabha Siva Subramanya Temple, Poothotta), Ernakulam
1893.Sri Narayana krishnan Kovil, Pilackool, Thalassery, Kannur
1893.Dedicated Sree Subrahmanya Temple(Sree Dharmashastha Temple), Earathu near Kayikkara Thiruvananthapuram
1895.Bhagavathi temple dedicated at Karunagappalli (near Kunnazathu), Kollam
1898.Subrhamaniya temple dedicated at Vazhamuttam, Kunnumpara, Thiruvananthapuram
1904.Sree Narayanapuram krishna Temple, Aashraamam, Kollam
1907The Sree Bhakthi Samvardhini Yogam, Kannur was constituted with the blessings of Sree Narayana Guru
1908 February.Jaganatha Shiva Temple at Thalasserry, Kannur dedicated.
1909.Foundation stone laid for temple at Mangalore
1914.August, Advaitha Ashramam at Aluva started.
1914Ernakulam (Poonurunni-Vytila Road) Sree Narayaneswaram Shiva, Parvati, Vishnu, Ganesha, Kartikeya Temple. The temple was raised at the instance of Sree Narayana Guru.
1915.Dedicated Jnanaswara Shiva temple at Anchuthengu
1916.Sree Maheshwara (Shiva)Temple at Koorkkancheri, Thrissur dedicated.
1920Dedicated the temple at Karamukku, Thrissur.
1921.Dedicated the Sree Kalakandeshwaram (Shiva) Temple, Murukumpuza, Thiruvananthapuram
1927.June 14, Temple dedicated at Kalavamkodam Saktiswaram - Ardhanarishvara (Cherthala Thaluk of Alappuzha District) with a mirror
Some of the other temples built by Sree Narayana Guru are
Puthiya Kavu Subrahmanya Temple, Vakkom, Thiruvananthapuram
Vakkom Subrahmanya Temple (Velayudhan Nada), Vakkom, Thiruvananthapuram
Vakkom Deveshwara Temple, (Vakkom Puthan Nada), Vakkom, Thiruvananthapuram
Mannanthala Anandavalleshwaram Parvati Devi Temple, Mannanthala, Thiruvananthapuram
Sreekapaleshwara (Shiva)Temple, Anjuthengu, Thiruvananthapuram
Poothotta Sree Narayana Vallabha (Shiva) Temple , Kanayanoor, Ernakulam
Vealikkattu Sree Narayanamangalam Kartikeya Temple, Kollam
Kunninezath Sree Narayana Bhoovaneshwari Temple, Kozhikod, Karunagappalli, Kollam
Sree Narayanamangalam Temple, Moothakunnam, North Paroor, Ernakulam
Sree Kumaramangalam Subrahmanya Temple, Kumarakom, Kottayam
Vezhapra Shaktiparambu Temple, Ramankary, Alappuzha
Sree Ardhanarishvara Temple, Kumbalangy, Kochi
Sree Bhavaneeswara Temple (Shiva Temple) , Palluruthy, Ernakulam district
Sree Pillayar Kovil(Temple), Kottar, Nagar Kovil, Tamil Nadu
Sree Gowreeshwara (Family Of Lord Shiva)Temple, Cherai, Ernakulam
Sree Sharada Temple, Sivagiri, Varkala, Thiruvananthapuram
Sree Anandabhuteshwaram Temple, Mezhuveli, Kozhenchery, Pathanamthitta
Sree Pottayil Devi Temple, Nadama, Thripunithura, Ernakulam
Sree Njaneshwara (Shiva) Temple, Puthan Nada, Chirayinkeezhu, Thiruvananthapuram
Sree Mahadevar Temple, Nagambadam, Kottayam
Sree Ardhanarishvara Temple, Ootuparambu, Kadakkavoor, Thiruvananthapuram
Sree Maheshwara Temple, Sreenarayanapuram, Koorkenchery, Thrissur
Sree Somasekharam Temple, Tannyam, Peringottukara, Thrissur
Sree Subrahmanya Temple, Nellikkunnu, Kasaragod
Palakkunnu Sree Bhagavati Temple, Uduma, Kasaragod
Sree Narayaneshwaram Subrahmanya Temple, Vaikom, Kottayam
Sree Bhadrachala Subrahmanya Temple, Valappad, Thrissur
Sree Chidambara Temple, Kandassamkadavu, Thrissur
Sree Kandeshwaram Sree Mahadeva Temple, Cherthala, Alappuzha
Sree Kumarapuram Temple, Mangad, Kollam
Manakkal Temple, Chempazanthi, Thiruvananthapuram
Sree Balasubrahmanya Temple, Bharananganam, Meenachil, Kottayam
Aakalpantha Prashobhini Sree Subrahmanya Temple, Poonjar Thekkekara, Meenachil, Kottayam
Sree Brahmapuram (Mathaanam) Temple, Vadayar, ThalayolaParambu, Kottayam
Chernnamangalam Siva Temple, Koduvazhannoor, Pulimath Vazhi, Thiruvananthapuram
Sree Shakteeshwaram Temple, Vayalar, Alappuzha
Ullala Omkareshwara (Shiva) Temple, Thalayazham, Vaikom, Kottayam
Sree Nayinaar Deva Temple, Arumanoor, Neyyattinkara, Thiruvananthapuram
Sree Vishwanatha Temple, Manathala, Gurupadapuri, Chavakad, Thrissur
Vallabhasseril Siva Temple, Alamthuruthi, Tiruvalla, Pathanamthitta
Sree Sankara Narayana Temple, Koovappadi, Cheranellur, Ernakulam
Katiravan Kunnu Sree Balasubrahmanya Swamy Temple, Puthoor, Kollam
Sree Narayana Maheshwara Temple, Pullazhi, Thrissur
Myladum Kunnu Bhajana Madom Subrahmanya Temple,Anappad, Thiruvananthapuram
Kumarapuram Sree Subrahmanya Temple, Maannanam, Kottayam
Sree Ghuhanandapuram Temple, Thekkumbhagam, Chavara, Kollam
Kuppana Sree Velayudhamangala Temple, Kollam
Sree Swamy Madom Temple, Anjuthengu, Thiruvananthapuram
Sree Amruthamkulangara Temple, Kollam
Bhuvaneshwari Temple, Thachankonam, Varkala, Thiruvananthapuram
Sree Chidambaranatha Temple, Oottara, Kanjiramkulam, Thiruvananthapuram
Sree Kalikulangara Temple, Nandyattukunnam, Paravoor, Ernakulam
Sanmargasandayini Sree Anandasayaneshwaram Temple, Kayippuram, Muhamma, Alappuzha
Sree Shaktidhara Temple, Njarakkal, Vaipin, Ernakulam
Sree Narayana MahavishnuTemple, Puliyannur, Meenachil, Kottayam
Sree Narayanapuram Temple, Aashraamam, Kollam
Plavazhikam Devi Temple, Nedunganda, Varkala, Thiruvananthapuram
Shivadarshana Devaswom Temple, Pampadi, Kottayam
Elankavu Sree Bhagavati Temple, Mullakkal, Alappuzha
Sree Ganeshamangalam Temple, Vadanappilli, Thrissur
Sree Suryanarayanapuram Temple, Pampadi, Kottayam
Sree Balasubrahmannya Temple, Kurichikara, Thrissur
Dharmagiri Sree Subrahmanya Swamy Temple, Thruthala, Palakkad
Erected Madam(Guruswamy Mutt) at Kudakkalam, near Thalassery, Kannur
Sri Narayana Kovil, Pilackool, Thalassery, KannurTārakāsura
Tārakāsura (Sanskrit: तारकासुर) or Tāraka (Sanskrit: तारक) was a powerful asura and the son of Vajranaka in Hindu belief. Tarakasur repeatedly defeated the gods until heaven was on the verge of collapse. Yet he had a clever boon that he could be defeated only by the son of Shiva, who was a complete yogi, given to severe austerities, far from any thoughts of marriage. However, Parvati who was re-incarnation of Sati, Shiva's first wife and also incarnation of Aadi Shakti who was once a part of Shiva, in their Ardhanarishvara form. Eventually their son Kartikeya was born. Kartikeya killed Tarakasur and his brothers Simhamukhan and Surapadman who eventually became the mounts of Parvati and Kartikeya.Vadathika Cave Inscription
The Vadathika Cave Inscription, also called the Nagarjuni Hill Cave Inscription of Anantavarman, is a 5th- or 6th-century CE Sanskrit inscriptions in Gupta script found in the Nagarjuni hill cave of the Barabar Caves group in Gaya district Bihar. The inscription is notable for including symbol for Om in Gupta era. It marks the dedication of the cave to a statue of Bhutapati (Shiva) and Devi (Parvati). The statue was likely of Ardhanarishvara that was missing when the caves came to the attention of archaeologists in the 18th-century.Vaikuntha Kamalaja
Vaikuntha-Kamalaja (or Lakshmi-Narayana) is a composite androgynous form of the Hindu god Vishnu and his consort Lakshmi. Though inspired by the much more popular Ardhanarishvara form of Shiva and Parvati, Vaikuntha-Kamalaja is a rare form, mostly restricted to Nepal and the Kashmir region of India.
Like Ardhanarishvara, Vaikuntha-Kamalaja is depicted as half male and half female, split down the middle. The right half is the male Vishnu, illustrating his traditional attributes. The icon symbolises the oneness or non-duality of male and female principles of the universe. Unlike the Ardhanarishvara icon much celebrated in Hindu scriptures, Vaikuntha-Kamalaja is mentioned in few Tantric and iconographical texts and no tale of the origins of this form is found in Hindu legends.Vibhuti
Vibhuti (Sanskrit: विभूति; vibhūti), also called Bhasma (ash), Vibhooti, is a word that has several meanings in Hinduism. Generally, it is used to denote the sacred ash which is made of burnt dried wood in Āgamic rituals. Hindu devotees apply vibhuti traditionally as three horizontal lines across the forehead and other parts of the body to honor Shiva. Vibhuti smeared across the forehead to the end of both eyebrows is called Tripundra. According to the MahaShiva Purana the particles of ash which cling to the skin when tripundra is applied are to be considered as individual Lingams. The scriptures further state that bhasma purifies the soul, elevates the devotee of Shiva and works done without wearing Bhasma are infructuous. There are various methods for the application of the ashes according to the purana and various mantras to be recited during application.
Another meaning of vibhuti is a 'glorious form', in contrast with Avatar, a reincarnation of Brahman. Bhagavata Theology describes a vibhuti as 'incarnation of power', which is only a temporary occasional manifestation such as when holy men are infused with divine virtues and qualities are infused. Aurobindo mentions a vibhuti as 'the hero of a race's struggle towards divine achievement, the hero in the Carlylean sense of heroism, a power of God in man.'Vighnaharta Ganesha
Vighnaharta Ganesh is a Hindi TV Show based on Hindu scriptures revolving around Lord Ganesha which was launched on Sony TV in India in August 2017. The serial is produced by Abhimanyu Singh under the banner of Contiloe Entertainment. Lord Ganesha is portrayed as a young boy who believed in the power of struggle which eventually helped him succeed, and become the Remover of Obstacles, hence the name of the show "Vighnaharta Ganesh". The ensemble cast includes Nishkarsh Dixit as Lord Ganesha, Akanksha Puri as Goddess Parvati & Malkhan Singh as Lord Shiva. Kuldeep Singh as Lord Vishnu & Basant Bhatt as Lord Kartikeya appear in recurring roles. The plot revolves around the stories of the popular Hindu Gods Lord Ganesha, Goddess Mahakali, Goddess Durga & Lord Shiva. Most of the stories are narrated by other characters to Ganesha or by Ganesha himself.
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