Physical Description of Lord Shiva
The Tantras have described innumerable forms of Lord Shiva. Some prominent forms of Lord Shiva have been described herein-
1) Sada Shiva- The Five-headed form (Panchamukhi). Each face is three-eyed, all have a crescent moon shining as the head adornment. The colors of the 5 faces in a sequential order are- White, yellow, cloud blue, red and pearl white. He is 10-handed. He holds a Trident, spear, sickle, thunderbolt, a bowl for alms, snake, bell, goad, noose, and a hand displays the blessing mudra. His body is glowing white in complexion. He is seated in a lotus in the Padmasana pose.
2) Ishan- He is 4 armed. In two hands he holds a Shakti and a drum while the other two display the Abhaya and Vara mudra. Effulgent in complexion. He is three eyed and has a crescent moon resting as a crest. He is present in the north-east direction. The Panchamukha Shiva has Ishan’s face towards the north-east direction.
3) Tatpurush- His Complexion resembles a thunderbolt. The Lord holds an axe, deer, hands display the Abhaya and Vara (blessing pose) mudra. He has 4 arms and 4 heads, three eyes, a beautiful crescent moon adorns his face. He meditates in the east direction. The Tatpurush face exists in the Punchamukhi Shiva facing eastwards
4) Aghore- He is 8-handed. He has 4 heads and scary teeth. His complexion is black as kohl and is fearsome. He holds a Rudraksha mala, the Vedas, trident, drum (Damru), sword, horn, the bowl for seeking alms, and the other hand shows the Abhaya mudra. He is prevalent in the Southern direction. The south facing face in Panchamukhi Shiva is called Aghor.
5) Vamadeva- He is Red as Kumkum, has three beautiful eyes and a sober complexion. He smiles beautifully. His hands show the Vara (blessing pose) and the Abhaya mudra. He holds the Rudraksha beads and an axe. He has 4 arms. He is present in the north-facing direction. The north facing face of Panchamukhi shiva is known as Vamadeva.
6) Sadyojaat- Fair and fresh as camphor, three large eyes and 4 heads. He holds a deer, Rudraksha beads, and his hands display the Abhaya and Vara mudra. He is 4-handed and wears the crown of a moon. He is present in the west direction.
7) Haragauri- He is vermillion in complexion, wears a bejeweled crown, a crescent moon shines on his forehead. He has three beautiful eyes, a sweet smile on his face and is decked with divine ornaments. He is 8-armed. Devi Parvati is seated on his left thigh holding a lotus flower.
8) Mrutyunjaya- His three eyes resemble sun, moon and fire. He has a smile on his face. He sleeps on a bed made of two-lotuses and is fair and fresh in complexion. His hands display the Abhaya mudra, a noose, deer and the Rudraksha mala. He is 4 armed. Adorned with ornaments, a moon glimmers on his forehead. He is bathed in the nectar splashing from the moon.
9) Mahesh- Resides in the Himalayan Mountains. A crescent moon adorns his beautiful forehead, He is seated in the Veerasana pose. He is four-armed. Two hands show the Abhaya mudra and a deer while the other two rest on his knees. He has a smiling face, adorns snake ornaments. He is seated around a gathering of enlightened men.
10) Dakshina Murti- His complexion glows like a diamond, a moon adorns his forehead, three eyes like pitchers of nectar. His hands display the Gyana mudra, Vidya Mudra (symbolisms of wisdom), the Trident and a snake. He is 4-handed. Dakshina Murti is the Acharya or Guru form of Lord Shiva.
11) Neelakantha- His Complexion is like the rising sun, a moon is studded on his locks. He wears serpent ornament. He is four handed carrying chanting beads, Trident, the bowl to seek alms and a rishi’s staff. He is 5-headed with each head having three eyes. He clads tiger skin and is seated on a lotus.
12) Ardhanareeshwara- He has three eyes. His complexion is glamorous like a blue lotus. He is four-handed and holds a noose, Trident, a bowl for alms and a red lotus. A crescent moon rests on his forehead. The right side of his body is masculine while the left side is feminine.
13) Pashupati- His complexion glows like the brilliance of mid-afternoon, a crescent moon on his forehead, His laughter induces fear in hearts. He has three eyes and is decked with snakes, His matted locks are scattered. He is four-handed, holding a lotus, Trident, sword and Shakti. He has terrifying teeth and 4 heads.
14) Neelagriva- Hue of the rising sun. Has three eyes, wears a red garland and applies red sandalwood. A smile beatifies his lips. His hands display the Vara mudra, Abhaya mudra. He holds a bowl for seeking alms, and a Trident. He is 4-handed. The moon sits on his forehead. He has a deep-blue colored throat.
15) Neelalohita- Resembling the majesty of a blue mountain, a crested moon on his forehead, wears a garland of heads. H is unclothed and has yellow matted hair locks. He holds a drum, horn, a bent noose, serpent, bell, a bowl for alms, a Kalash, lotus and a hand shows the abhaya mudra. He is the 10 handed form and has ferocious teeth. He is adorned with snakes and is three eyed. He is decked with tinkling bells, gems and ankle bells.
16) Chandeshwara- Red in complexion, has three-eyes and is clad in red garments. He holds a spear, Trident, a Crystal and Rudraksha mala and an ascetic’s pitcher (Kalash). He is the 4-handed form with the moon adornment on his forehead.
How was rudra born?
At the start of creation, Brahma created his first born sons, the 4 Sanak kumaras. Brahma assigned them the task of producing progeny but the brothers plainly refused the proposal. Brahma was enraged at their refusal. His eyebrows tensed as a reflex. From the midst of his eyebrows appeared an infant who began to wail. At his very birth, the child started crying, so he became widely acclaimed as “Rudra.” Brahma asked him “Kid, why are you crying” The child said- “Please reveal my identity and my place of stay.” Brahma showered many names upon him. The names of Rudra are- Manyu, Manu, Rutadhwaja, Ugrareta, Shiva, Bhava, Kala, Mahinasa, Vamadeva, Ghrutavrata and Rudra. Brahma then revealed his area of residence- The senses, life force, heart, ether, wind, fire, water, earth, austerity, the moon and the sun. He married Rudra to – Dhi, Dhruti, Ushana, Niyuti, Sarpi, Ila, Ambika, Uma, Iravati, Sudha and Deeksha.
There are 11 Rudras- 1) Aja, 2) Ekapada, 3) Ahirbudhna 4)Kruttivasa 5)Aparajita 6)Triambak 7)Maheshwara 8)Vrushakapi 9)Shambhu 10)Kapardi 11)Neelalohita
Lord Shiva is the totality while Rudra depicts a particular quality of Lord Shiva. As Brahma had ordered Rudra to create, Rudra created Bhairava, Pishacha, Bhoot, Viaital, Yogini and the similar lot. Looking at this unpleasant sight, Lord Brahma stopped him at once. He said- “Stop making such destructive elements. Do some meditation.” Having heard Brahma’s instructions, Lord Rudra situated himself in deep austerities since then.
Work of Lord Shiva
The word ‘Shiva’ literally means well-being but he is the annihilator. Rudra is the one who makes one cry. Creation and annihilation means Brahma and Shiva work hand in hand. One thing is created while the other destroyed. Birth and death occur simultaneously in the universe. Lord Shiva is not the creative energy. He is the Lord of destruction. He destroys all impurities, ill-omens, the absurdities and the decaying elements of nature. Lord Shiva is auspicious for creation. He works in a constructive manner. In the Vedas, Lord Shiva is referred by the name Rudra. The Rudra Ashtadhyayi is his glorification. He pervades all of creation. He is Paramatma. Lord Shiva is the giver of knowledge, liberation and gets easily pleased by his devotees. He is the conqueror of death and is hence known as Mrutyunjaya. His eternal abode is Varanasi and Kailash on this earthly plane. He is the supreme deity and the topmost guru for the ascetics, yogis and for those inquisitive in the spiritual dimension.