It is impossible to find a person traversing the land of Bharata who did not hear about Lord Shiva. The whole tract of this land brims with ancient stories, folklore, legends and poems about this magnanimous, divine personality.
He is worshipped by all the sects of Hinduism or the followers of Sanatana Dharma and is glorified the most on two occasions, Mahashivratri (Feb-March) and Shravan (June-July).
In all the scriptures like the Puranas, the Upanishads, the Itihasas, the Vedas, the Smriti texts and the like, Lord Shiva is considered as one of the principal deities with Lord Brahma and Lord Vishnu being the other two. Also, He is considered to be Brahman, the unmanifest, the unchanging divine light that penetrates each and everything of the Cosmos.
There two aspects or forms of Shiva. One is shaguna and the other is nirguna. The former is His personal form and the latter is about His Brahman form, infinite formlessness. It may appear contradictory to a mundane mind but on the spiritual platform, both are one, absolute.
The personal form appeals to His devotees who like to see that form whereas is nirguna form attracts the meditators, empiric philosopher and yogi. In either case, the aim is same; attaining Shiva’s association or grace and be completely spiritual.
One cannot describe the glory of Shiva in a few words or pages for His legends and pastimes are beyond our mind. They are unlimited and marvellous.
However, the following are some of the unknown, interesting facts about Lord Shiva:
Celibacy and Wealth: It is a rare combination of life. It is almost impossible for humans to follow celibacy and own immense wealth.
In the Shiva Purana, He is said to need nothing or no one yet He was pursued by Goddess Parvati to marry Her. Seeing Her relentless endeavour and austerity, He accepted to be Her consort. It is Lord Shiva by who blessings, Kuber attained the post of treasurer.
Lord Kubera is the deity of wealth who is said to have lent mudras (money) to Lord Venkateshwara or Balaji, an incarnation of Lord Vishnu. By this trait, Lord Shiva blesses anyone seeking detachment from worldliness or wealth and material delights.
No birth from a Woman: Lord Shiva is known as the svyambhuv, the self-born. In any of the Vedic scriptures, nowhere the subject of His parentage is ever described. However, He once incarnated as the divine son called Dattatreya of Sage Atri and his wife Anusuya.
Yet, He maintains His svyambhuv position. He is known as Brahman and shivoham meaning the consciousness of a living being.
He is omnipotent, omnipresent in the form of one’s consciousness. if He is the living force (chitta) in the moving and nonmoving entities in the world, how can He actually born from a woman? He is the foundation of all that exists.
Father of Yoga: Lord Shiva is known as Adiyogi, the foremost yogi or the Great Yogi who first instructed the science of yoga to ancient sages. He is the preceptor in silence the oneness of one’s atman (soul) with the ultimate reality (Brahman). ‘Yoga’ means to connect one’s self (to the Higher Consciousness). It means connecting with the source of all that is Shiva.
War between Krishna and Shiva: Did you know there was a huge battle fought between Lord Krishna and Lord Shiva? It all started with King Banasura whose daughter Ushas dreamed of Aniruddha, Lord Krishna’s grandson. She wanted to marry him at any cost.
Chitralekha, Ushas, using mystic powers arranged for his abduction. Soon, the Yadu warriors led by Krishna and Balaram attacked the city of Banasura leading to a great battle between the Yadu forces and Banasura’s forces. Being an ardent devotee of Shiva, Banasura was hell-bent upon defeating the Yadus.
Soon Lord Shiva, compassionate on Banasura, arrived with Lord Ganesh and Kartikeya as well as other demons.
Upon seeing His devotee Banasura getting defeated, Lord Shiva fought with Krishna and this battle turned fiercest as both shot arrows at each other until Lord Shiva, enjoying this pastime with Krishna, felt tired (externally). Lord Shiva actually enjoyed the spiritual bliss of fighting with Vishnu whose another form is Shiva.