Lord Shiva is one of the most well-known hindu-gods in the world. People know him best as the god of ultimate destruction, however a few ancient scriptures mention him as the resurrector of the universe as well. He is among the three most prominent gods of Hinduism (Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva himself), also known as the Trimurti.
Lord Shiva is one of those gods who not only has a large number of devotees but has an influence on the scientific community as well. Keeping a statue of Nataraja (Lord Shiva as the divine cosmic dancer) at the entrance of the world’s largest physics lab (CERN) in Switzerland is a prime example of such.
People Are Unaware Of Lord Shiva’s Birth
Despite this massive popularity, most people are just unaware of his birth. They question who is the father of Lord Shiva, and who gave birth to him, etc. Not only Lord Shiva, but the true origin of the other two members of the Trimurti (Brahma, Vishnu) is a great mystery in itself.
Thus, in this article, we are going to take a look at what the scriptures (specifically the puranas) have to say about the birth of Lord Shiva.
The Exact Meaning Of The Word “Shiva”
The average Hindus of India strongly believe Lord Shiva to be an eternal entity, who was never born or created. Even the literal definition of “Shiva” implies the same. The word “Shiva” means – that which is not. However, we also refer Shiva to Adiyogi who’s said to be the first yogi, or the originator of yoga which makes them synonymous in many ways.
Lord Shiva (Adi Yogi) Was Born As Human Being
Now things start to get a little confusing! When we think of Lord Shiva as the first yogi, who lived at the top of the mount Kailash, we unknowingly start to believe in his physical existence as a human being. We begin to see him more as a human being with divine powers rather than his true identity as a non-physical and eternal entity.
Moreover the legend written in the ancient scriptures around the life of Lord Shiva adds more complexity for the average person to be able to grasp the intricacy of the origin of him that would be logical or easily understandable.
Some spiritual gurus believe that Adiyogi (the originator of yoga) was in fact a human being who lived thousands of years ago. This is the person who we think of as the actual Lord Shiva, but he’s not.
More Evidence Of His Existence In Past
If you dig a little deeper and study the history of Tantrism, you will also find some mentions of a person called “Sada Shiva” who looks exactly like the Lord Shiva that we all know today.
In the Tantric tradition, they say, Sada Shiva was the first who taught tantra vidyas to his disciples. It’s also said that he was the one who initiated the tradition of “Guru–shishya Parampara”.
There are numerous events in the epics Ramayana, Mahabharata and other texts as well, where Lord Shiva appears physically before their devotees to grant their boons. This also acts as evidence suggesting that someone in the past must have lived (or, is still living, who knows) whom we have been calling Lord Shiva.
Lord Shiva In Two Different Forms – Symbolic And Physical
The actual confusion starts when we worship Lord Shiva in two different forms. One is the Lingam (also known as Shivalinga) which is symbolic in nature, and another is the physical form where he’s shown sitting in a meditative posture at the top of mount Kailash. In the entire pantheon of Hinduism, there are probably no other gods who are worshiped in two distinct forms.
However, It’s the Lingam which is the prominent form of Lord Shiva that dominates our mind when we think of him. We can say it because, there is not a single Shiva temple in the world where the lingam is not worshiped as the presiding deity.
Who Gave Birth To Lord Shiva’s Physical Form?
Several scriptures, mainly the Shiva Purana, mention the true origin of Lord Shiva. When Lord Shiva and Devi Parvati were in the middle of their marriage rituals, the chief priest asked Shiva about his ancestor. In which Lord Shiva remained silent.
When everyone asked the question a couple of times, Narad Muni who was just standing behind Lord Shiva said that he is Ajanma ( not born) and Anant ( infinite). It means Lord Shiva had no parents, and no one had given birth to him. In Hindu beliefs, Lord Shiva is often said to be “Swayambhu” implying he is self created.