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Tag Archives: shiva

Hindu God Dattatreya, Synthesis of Shiva, Vishnu & Brahma

Posted on October 03, 2012 by Kyle Tortora
HIndu God Dattatreya statue
View this statue of the Hindu God Dattatreya

Dattatreya or Datta is considered by Hindus to be god who is an incarnation of the Divine Trinity, the three main Hindu Gods Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. The word Datta means “Given”, Datta is called so because the divine trinity has “given” themselves in the form of a son to the sage couple Atri and Anasuya. He is the son of Atri, hence the name “Atreya.”

Dattatreya is recognized as an Avatar or incarnation of the Lord Shiva and as the Adi-Guru (First Teacher) of the Adinath Sampradaya of the Nathas. Although Dattatreya was at first a “Lord of Yoga” exhibiting distinctly Tantric traits, he was adapted and assimilated into the more devotional Vaishnavite cults; while still worshiped by millions of Hindus, he is approached as a benevolent god and a teacher of the highest essence of Indian thought.

In sculpture Dattatreya statues have some distinct characteristics. He always has three faces, one for Shiva, Vishnu and Brahma. Vishnu faces forward with Shiva on the left of Vishnu and Brahma on the right. He has six hands where he holds a drum (damru), discus (chakra), conch shell (sank), japa mala, water vessel (kamandala) and a trident (trishul). All these attributes of the Lord have their esoteric meanings. The trident is used for killing the ego, and the drum is used to awaken those souls who are still sleeping in the slumber of ignorance. Lord Datta’s conch shell is used to make the sacred sound OM. Lord Dattatreya is also holding a rotating discus -chakra. It is a round circle with no beginning and no end. Like the universe, it too is constantly moving, always in a flux. He uses this chakra to destroy all kinds of karmic bonds of His devotees. His right hand holds a rosary -japa mala. With this the Lord counts His devotees, liberating them by merely thinking of their name. In another hand the Lord is carrying the water pot -kamandala. This holds the nectar of pure wisdom. With this He revives the souls thirsty for knowledge, liberating them from the endless cycle of life and death.

Bronze Hindu God Dattatreya statue
View this Bronze Hindu God Dattatreya statue with 4 dogs and Kamadhenu the gift giving cow

Accompanying Dattatreya are 4 dogs and a cow. The four dogs surrounding Datta represent the four Vedas. The dogs are both wild and tame and symbols of fidelity and devotion. The cow is Kamadhenu the gift giving cow. She grants all wishes and desires. She is the cow of plenty, which emerged from SAMUDRAMANTHAN (the churning of the ocean) and and was claimed by Indra as his property. She is the mother of all cows.

Why are there no Temples Dedicated to the Hindu God Brahma

Posted on October 02, 2012 by Kyle Tortora
Brass Hindu God Brahma Statue
View all our statues of the Hindu God Brahma

In the Shiva Purana, at the beginning of time in the Cosmos, Vishnu and Brahmā approached a huge Shiva Lingam and set out to find where Shiva began and where he ended. Vishnu was appointed to seek the end and Brahma the beginning. Taking the form of Vishnu’s 3rd avatar; the boar Varaha, Vishnu began digging downwards into the earth, while Brahma took the form of a swan and began flying upwards. However, neither could find the end or begining to Shiva. He was infinite. The Hindu God Vishnu, satisfied, came up to Shiva and bowed down to him as a swarupa of Brahman. Brahmā did not give up so easily. As He was going up, he saw a ketaki (Sanskrit – Kaetakee) flower, dear to Shiva. His ego forced him to ask the flower to bear false witness about Brahmā’s discovery of Shiva’s beginning. When Brahmā told his tale, Shiva, the all-knowing, was angered by the Brahma’s ego. Shiva cursed Brahma that no being in the three worlds will worship him.

Another story in connection with Brahma’s lack of worship is when Brahma was creating the universe, he made a female deity known as Shatarupa (one with a hundred beautiful forms). Brahma became immediately infatuated with his creation.  Shatarupa moved in various directions to avoid the gaze of Brahma. But wherever she went, Brahma developed a head.  Thus, Brahma developed five heads, one on each side and one above the others.

In order to control Brahma, Shiva cut off the top head. Also, Shiva felt that Shatarupa was Brahma’s daughter, being created by him. Therefore, Shiva determined, it was wrong for Brahma to become obsessed with her.  He directed that there be no proper worship in India for the “unholy” Brahma.  Thus, only Vishnu and Shiva continue to be worshiped with temples all over the world while Brahma only has two temples dedicated to him. Ever since the incident, Brahma has been reciting the four Vedas in his attempt at repentance.

The Hindu God Nandi, Sacred Bull of Shiva

Posted on September 27, 2012 by Ashley Lovett
Nandi, Shiva's white bull
Click to view all our Shiva and Nandi Statues

Within Hinduism, Nandi, or sometimes called Nandin, takes on many different roles.  In his most prevalent form he is the sacred steed of Shiva the Hindu god of Destruction, depicted as a powerful white bull.  His white color is marked as a symbol of purity and devotion.  Nandi is said to be Shiva’s main form of transportation and most ardent devotee.  As his most astute follower, Nandi is in charge of leading all of Shiva’s followers.  Along the same lines, Nandi is regarded as the gatekeeper and protector of Shiva as well as Shiva’s consort the Hindu Goddess Parvati.  He can be found in many temples dedicated to Shiva throughout Asia seated and facing the main temple as protector.  His name, Nandi, is even used as metaphor meaning “to stand in the way of”.  It is said that one must first gain the approval of Nandi before being allowed worship of Lord Shiva himself.

Nandi in human form as Nandikeshwara
Click here to view Nandi in human form as Nandikeshwara

As a primary Hindu God, Nandi is traced in lineage back to ancient dairy farmers that depended on cows for their main livelihood.  As their foremost source of sustenance, Nandi was worshiped as keeper of the herds.  In this form he was said to be bull-faced with a body much like his hallowed Shiva, but with 4 hands.  Two hands holding axe and antelope, and the other two joined in homage.  In this human form he is known as Nandikeshwara.

It is said that many women visit these large Nandi statues outside temples throughout the world and decorate him with flowers and touch his stone in order gain fertility.  Many worshipers who flock to his side also often whisper to in him in order to announce their hopes and dreams hoping Nandi relays their message on to Shiva.

Click here to read more about Shiva the Destroyer

Shiva as Ardhanari: ‘Lord Who is Half Woman’

Posted on September 19, 2012 by Kyle Tortora
red marble shiva as ardhanari statue
Click here to view our Shiva as Ardhanari statues

Shiva as Ardhanari, or Ardhanarishvara, translates to ‘Lord who is half woman.’ Ardhanarishvara is the androgynous combination of Shiva and his consort Parvati, split down the middle as half man half woman. Shiva, usually depicted on the right, is often adorned with headdress of a half crescent moon, serpent earring, third eye upon the center of his forehead, and wears a sacred thread across his chest. Parvati down the left is commonly portrayed with basket shaped crown, kundala earing, red dot matching Shiva’s third eye, and multi-colored or white linen dress. Visually, Shiva and Parvati embody their corresponding gender vigorously so as to starkly contrast their opposing counterpart.

Ardhanarishvara is said to characterize the fusion of the masculine and feminine energies of the world and exemplifies how Shakti, the female principle of God, is inseparable from Shiva, the male principle of God. The merger between these masculine and feminine energies is regarded as the root of all creation.

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 oppositions of the universe.

It is believed that Parvati is not just Shiva’s consort, but an actual part of him.

Ardhanari is one of the most popularly worshiped forms of Shiva and can be found in virtually every temple or shrine throughout India and south-east Asia. It is often regarded that the ultimate goal of a devotee is to be united with Shiva as Parvati is in the Ardhanarishvara form.

Click to read more about Shiva or Parvati.

Learn to Quiet Your Anxious Mind with Shiva as Dakshinamurthy

Posted on August 28, 2012 by Kyle Tortora

The practice of yoga in the United States has been on a constant rise over the last 30 years since its introduction in the 1980s as a wonderful form of physical health and well being regardless of its original religious context.   As of January 2012 it was estimated that over 20 million Americans regularly practiced yoga as both a form of exercise and spiritual release, up from around 4 million in 2001.

It is no question that given the swelling numbers many have found value in the practice to both their physical and mental health.  Today yoga is even used as cancer treatment to decrease symptoms of depression, insomnia, pain, and fatigue in patients.  Hatha yoga specifically has become very popular in the west for its incorporation of physical exercise, breathing control, and meditation.  If you are looking for a way to reduce stress, symptoms of tiredness, increase general mood, and to get your body in shape, yoga is a great practice for all age groups and gender.

Slowing down and taking the time to become in touch with ones body can be a highly fulfilling practice as we all struggle with the stresses of daily living in our modern fast paced society.   As the Buddha said,

“Meditate. Live Purely.  Be quiet.  Do your work with mastery.  Like the moon, come out from behind the clouds!  Shine.” 

Almost all of us have a special place we hold dear and go to clear our heads and think…a favorite park bench, out for a run, sitting with our toes in the sand.  But what many don’t realize is that it isn’t the destination that is key, but actually the state of mind that place brings to you.  Instead of escaping somewhere external, try yoga and meditation.  Anyone can develop inner peace, without really going anywhere but in.

To help with your practice, add a Dakshinamurthy statue by Lotus Sculpture to your meditation corner.  Shiva in the form of universal teacher, Dakshinamurthy, can help guide you in your path to inner awakening.

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