Hindus worship various forms and names of one Supreme God, Brahman, who is regarded as a being with an independent existence and gives life to everything. In Hinduism, there exists the holy trinity or Trimurti. The trinity consists of three gods, Brahma, Vishnu, and Mahesh (Lord Shiva), who are responsible for the creation, upkeep, and destruction of the world respectively. Gods in Hinduism are often represented in human or partially animal forms. It is said that there are about 330 million Gods in the Hindu religion. But among these 330 million Gods who is the most powerful God?
Though Lord Brahma, Vishnu, and Mahesh together can easily be considered as the most powerful Gods among all the Gods but if we have to talk about only one most powerful God it would undoubtedly be Lord Shiva. He is not only worshiped by humans but also by all Gods, demons, and ghosts. In short, Lord Shiva is worshiped by every life form.
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What makes Lord Shiva Great?
He is the destructor in the holy triad whose role is to destroy the universe with the goal of recreating it. He is known to grant boons to his devotes easily, even if they are demons. He is the lord of animals. He loves them and protects them from disease and destruction. That’s why he is known as Pashupatinath. He is usually depicted as immersed in meditation or dancing the Tandava. He is illustrated naked except for a tiger-skin, he has snakes on his head, neck, and arms. He has fair complexion but has a blue throat. He has long hair and a crescent moon on it. He also has a holy river Ganga flowing from his head. Nandi (bull) is the gatekeeper and vehicle of Shiva. Lord Shiva has many names.
Some of his most famous names are:
- Adinath- The first lord
- Bhaiarav- Formidable, one who removes fear
- Bholenath- Kind-hearted Lord
- Bhutapal- Protector of the ghosts
- Chakradhar- One who bears the chakra
- Chiranjeevi- Long-lived, immortal
- Gangadhar- Lord of river Ganga
- Kailashnath- Lord of Kailash
- Mahadev- Greatest God
- Triloknath- Lord of the three worlds
Why Lord Shiva is called ‘Mahadev’ or the Lord of all Gods?
Lord Shiva is known as Mahadev or the Supreme Lord. It is believed that there is a shapeless form of God from which every organism and even Gods have emerged. When the life of a being ends, he again dissolves in that shapeless form of God. God is known as ‘Sadashiva’. Sadashiva is the form of Lord Shiva which is an absolute void in nature. Lord Vishnu was created from Sadashiva when there was no one to control Lord Shiva. Lord Brahma emerged from Lord Vishnu’s Navel when Lord Vishnu did meditation for several years. So, we can say that every organism and even all other Gods have emerged from Lord Shiva and that is why he is known as Mahadev.
Sacrificing Nature of Lord Shiva
Lord Shiva is also known as Neelkanth. This name tells us about the sacrificing nature of Lord Shiva. Lord Shiva’s blue throat is related to the Samundra Manthan or the churning of the ocean. There was the nectar of immortality at the bottom of the ocean. All the Gods and the demons wanted that nectar and that’s why they started churning of the ocean together. When the process of the churning of the ocean was going on, a lot of things came out. Those things included precious stones, some animals, Goddess Lakshmi, etc. The Gods and the demons divided all those things equally. Besides all those things, Halahala, a deadly poison also came out. All the things which came in contact with Halahala started dying. Then, Lord Shiva came forward and drank all the poison. The poison started turning the body of Lord Shiva blue. It is believed that at exactly that point of time, Goddess Parvati entered the throat of Lord Shiva in the form of Mahavidhya and didn’t let the poison spread beyond Lord Shiva’s throat. Lord Shiva drank that poison without thinking about himself and from then onwards, he was known as Neelkanth.
He is the Most Innocent Lord Among All the Gods
Lord Shiva is popularly known as Bholenath or the innocent Lord. He is called the most Innocent Lord because he grants boons to his devotees without thinking if they are good or bad, a God or a demon. If his devotee captures his heart he grants a boon to them. There are numerous stories that tell us how Lord Shiva granted boons to several Demons. The most famous story is of a demon named ‘ Bhasmasura’. He was a great devotee of Lord Shiva, Lord Shiva got impressed by him and decided to grant him a boon. He asked Lord Shiva to grant him such boon that whatsoever or whosoever he would touch should change into ash. To test the boon, Bhasmasura decided to touch Lord Shiva. He thought there is no one more powerful than Lord Shiva so he should test this boon on him. Lord Vishnu protected Lord Shiva by transforming himself into Mohini. Lord Vishnu used his wisdom and turned Bhasmasuar into ash. This story is enough to tell us that how innocent Lord Shiva is.
Lord Shiva’s Third Eye
Lord Shiva is known as Triambaka dev or Lord with three eyes. All his three eyes are symbols of something. His right eye represents the Sun, his left eye represents the Moon while his third eye which is on his forehead, represents the fire. His third eye helps him to see beyond the apparent. When his third eye opens, all the evil disappears. In Buddhism, it is believed that the third eye is the eye of higher consciousness; we should use our third eye and see through our mind. Whenever Lord Shiva’s third eye opens, he can be seen as the destroyer.
Interesting Stories Related to Lord Shiva
i) He turned one crore Gods and Goddesses into stone
Once upon a time, Lord Shiva was going towards Kashi with 1 crore other Gods and Goddesses. They were in Tripura and it was time to sleep but before sleeping Lord Shiva told everyone to wake up early in the morning because they had to leave for Kashi. When Lord Shiva woke up in the morning, he saw that no one was awake. He became angry and cursed all the Gods and Goddesses that they will turn into stone images.
ii) Nandi’s Story
There is a story which tells us about ‘Nandi’, the vehicle and doorkeeper of Lord Shiva. It is said that once Surabhi, who was the mother of all cows, gave birth to a lot of cows and all those cows flooded the Kailash mountain with their milk. When Lord Shiva saw that mountain Kailash was in such a bad condition he became very angry and to calm him down all the Gods and Goddess together gifted him a bull named Nandi. Lord Shiva accepted Nandi as his doorkeeper as well as his vehicle.
Lord Shiva is the only God whose devotees are not only humans but ghosts, demons, and Gods themselves. He loves every creature whether it be humans, ghosts or even animals equally. To protect the universe, he didn’t even think about himself even once and drank the Halahal. He gave birth to every organism including Lord Brahma and Lord Vishnu. For him, all his devotees are equal and he gives them whatever they wish for. All these things make Lord Shiva the most powerful God.