of the Ornaments of Shiva
Ganga on his
head: Ganga (river Ganges) is associated with Hindu mythology and is the most sacred river of Hindus. According to tradition,
one who bathes in Ganga , is relived from sin and attains knowledge, purity and peace. Ganga, symbolically represented on
the head of the Lord by a female with a jet of water emanating from her mouth and falling on the ground, signifies that the
Lord destroys sin, removes ignorance, and bestows knowledge, purity and peace on the devotees.
Story behind Ganga.
to flow in heavens till the time The sage Baghiratha brought Ganga to earth, his 60000 ancestors were laying on the earth
as ash due to the curse of kaplila muni.
A mighty king named Sagara was performing a great sacrificial
ritual, which would make him as the undisputed ruler over all earth.
The ritual consisted of letting lose a white horse, who would
be free to wander anywhere upon earth. Following it would be the mighty army of Sagara. Wherever the horse ventured, the king
of that area would have to give him free way, and presenting him with material
gifts of supplication. In the event of this not happening, Sagara's army make war with such king. BY seing the power of king
Sagara's , no ruler on the way dared hold up the horse.
The news of the impending victory of Sagara reached the ears
of Indra, the king of gods. Fearing a challenge to his own throne, Indra disguised himself as a human being, went to the earth
and laid his hands on the sacrificial horse. He hid it in the Ashram of sage
The army which contains 60000
legends of King Sagara have found the horse in the ashram of the sage, the princes
rushed towards him in anger, and called him thief. The sage, who was doing meditation
was un aware of all the things happening. Opening his eyes, he had merely gazed at the princes with trepidation, than they
were reduced to ashes.
The news of the unfortunate demise of his sons soon reached
king Sagara. Now the traditional Indian belief is that if someone dies an untimely death, he or she remains a ghost and is
not liberated until something is done to purify the soul from the residue of its accumulated sins. Sagara too, was extremely
desirous of ridding the souls of his sons from the after-effects of curse of the wise sage Kapila. On asking, the latter informed
the monarch that it was only Ganga, having the auspicious nature of purifying anybody and everybody who crossed her path,
who was capable of liberating his sixty thousand sons, and wash away their ashes in her overwhelming flow.
Hearing this, king Sagara immediately handed over the throne
to his surviving grandson and went to the Himalayas to perform tapasu in order to please
Brahma, the Supreme Creator, attempting to convince him to ask Ganga to flow to the earth. Though he tried hard and
sincerely, Sagara died before accomplishing his goal. After him his grandson tried to call upon Brahma, but he too was unsuccessful.
In this manner, generation after generation of Sagara tried to please Brahma to no avail. It was only the seventh descendant
of Sagara, a just and noble king named Bhagiratha who could manage enough to make Brahma appear before him. Happy with Bhagiratha's
conduct and also that of his preceding ancestors, Brahma asked Bhagiratha for any boon he wished. Naturally enough, he asked
Brahma to request Ganga to flow to the earth from her current abode in heaven. Brahma accepted his request, and said the force
of Ganga is very massive, if it is released as it is from the heaven the earth cannot bear the force, and all the life will
be washed away in floods. So Bramha asked Bhagiratha to pray Lord Shiva, whose matted hair held sufficient power to withstand
the Ganga's forceful fall.
Thus the prince began praying Lord Shiva, who appeared soon before him and agreed to tie Ganga's fall in his matted hair locks.
She followed Brahma's order to descend to earth, being mischievous
she said that her force can even seep away mighty shiva in her forceful current. Shiva decided to teach her a lesson. Spreading
open his coils of hair, he covered the entire sky, and collected all the waves of Ganga in his outspread locks.
Then with a mighty swoop, he collected his hair, tied into
a neat and tight bun, and captured Ganga in his Jatajutam . Ganga still flowed with tremendous force, but could not escape,
and remained imprisoned and confined inside Shiva's hair.
Bhagiratha, requested to Shiva to release Ganga, so that
she could wash away the sins of his ancestors, Thus Ganga started following Bhagiratha, who showed her the way.
Just near their ultimate destination lay the ashram of another
accomplished sage, known as Jahnu. Ganga, ever the playful maiden, hurried over and entered upon the area of the ashram, that
it became flooded, and all sacrificial fires were extinguished. The utensils and tools were washed away, and the inhabitants
of the area became frightened and anxious. The leader of the ashram, sage Jahnu, came to know about ganga with his intrusion
. He then chanted a mantra, and took a sip of the water flowing all around his hermitage. With the power of his mantra, he
swallowed away Ganga with all her waters. All traces of Ganga were gone. Bhagiratha was in a fix. He hurried over to Jahnu,
and explained to him the magnitude and significance of the task he was out to accomplish. Jahnu gave him a sympathetic hearing
and appreciated his hard work in bringing Ganga to the earthly realm. Consoling Bhagiratha, he said: " For you, I will release
Ganga immediately," and saying this, he made a cut in his left thigh, and the waters of Ganga flew out like a fountain. Hence
did Ganga came to be known as Jahnvi, the daughter of sage Jahnu.
Bhagiratha successfully showed Ganga the way to the ashes
of his ancestors. As soon as Ganga touched the ashes, the ancestors arose, glowing forth in their astral bodies, and ascended
towards heaven. Carrying away their mortal remains, Ganga merged into the ocean, which had been dry.
From that day onwards, the ocean came to be known as 'Sagara,'
in honor of the king who started it all in the first place. The place where Ganga merged in the ocean, came to be known as
Ganga-Sagar, and to this day, a great festival is held here every year, to celebrate Ganga's birthday, or the day when she
came to earth. This occasion is knows as Ganga Dassehra.
Shiva's head, where she meanders through his jatajuttam, the mighty Ganga appears in this world after having been made more
sacred by her direct contact with Shiva, and also the accomplished ascetic Jahnu. The river then spreads the divine potency
of these hallowed personalities into the world, when she flows into the terrestrial realm.
The water of the Ganga river is poured over the sacred Shiva
Linga. Here it is important to note that the linga of Shiva is often thought of as incandescent pillar of fire. By cooling
the linga with her soothing waters, Ganga is in a sense saving the world from Shiva's fiery linga, whose extreme heat could
destroy all life on earth. Bearing her on his head, Shiva becomes the facilitator for Ganga's smooth fall to the earth. But
if Shiva saves the world from the power and force of Ganga's torrent, it is also Ganga, who in a similar manner, saves us
from Shiva's scorching powers of destruction.
Covering body with ash
Ash is called
vibhuti. It symbolizes death or detachment from the world and lust. It also indicates that our bodies, being inert
matter in their essential form, will also become ashes when we die and if the body is cremated. Thus, we must rise above the
bodily identification and become conscious of our real identity within. Ash is the sign of Shiva’s complete renunciation
of the world.
Rudraksha maala: Rudra is another name of Shiva. Rudra also means "strict or uncompromising" and aksha means "eye." Rudraksha
necklace worn by the Lord illustrates that He uses His cosmic laws firmly - without compromise - to maintain law and order
in the universe.
Moon on the head of shiva.
Moon increases and decreases. When moon increases to a full
big size it is called as purnami, when moon decreases and becomes invisible it is called amavasya, which is completely dark.
The increase and decrease in the size of moon represent passage of time. Wearing it in the head signify that Lord is the controller
Amavasya is completely dark which implies ignorance, purnami
is bright which implies knowledge, which implies shiva is the only person who can remove the darkness of ignorance , and create
the brightness of knowledge.
Shiva holds Trishula in his hands, Thrishula means Three
gunas satvikam, rajas am, and tamasam. Holding it in his hands resemble that he is controller of all the three gunas.
When damarukam is vibrated it produces dissimilar sounds
which are combined into one sound which is Om.
A tiger skin symbolizes potential
energy. Lord Shiva, sitting on or wearing a tiger skin, illustrates the idea that He is the source of the creative energy
that remains in potential form during the dissolution state of the universe.
Shiva sitting in the cremation ground signifies
that He is the controller of death in the physical world. Since birth and death are cyclic, controlling one implies controlling
the other. Thus, Lord Shiva is revered as the ultimate controller of birth and death in the phenomenal world.
the neck: Snakes are the
most feared and dangerous animal in the world. Snakes represent the evil and
demonical nature, wearing them in his neck gives us an assurance that no evils can touch us are destroy us if we surrender
our self to the mighty god with deep devotion. Snake is having kundalani power. Its is compared to muladhara kundalani
of all human beings which will incline upwards when one starts a spiritual journey, The snake around the neck of Siva
conveys the meaning that in him the kundalini not only has arisen fully but is also actively involved in the divine activity
by keeping an eye on all the devotees who approach Siva with their individual problems.
The snake also stands for all passions and desires. By wearing the snakes around his neck, Lord Siva conveys
the message to all his devotees that He has overcome all desires and is in full control of Prakriti or maya.
Kundalas ( ear rings) : The names of two Kundalas are Alakshaya and niranjan. The Kundala of the left ear
is of the type which is used by women and the kundala of the right ear is of the type used by men. These symbolizes Shiva