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Along with Brahma, the creator, and Vishnu, the protector, Shiva makes up one third of the trinity of Hindu gods.  Shiva is the destroyer and regenerator, and is one of the oldest gods of India.  There have been images of Shiva found in India, which date back as far as 2500 BC. 

Shiva is destroyed creation after every Kalpa, while simultaneously becoming the great ascetic, preserving the world with his meditation.  In fact, Shiva is often called the Destroyer, though it is more accurate to consider him the God of Transformation, as his associations are mostly tied to the creation spawned from destruction, rather than the destruction itself.

Shiva’s representation is typically in one of 3 forms.  These are:  a Nataraj who is dancing, a lingam, or in an anthropomorphic form.  When Shiva is the Nataraj, he practices his cosmic dance. The belief is that the energy from the cosmic dance is what sustains the cosmos; it is also thought that once Shiva has finished his dance, this universe will end and a new one will begin.  When in the latter form, he is depicted as sitting cross-legged and his eyes half-closed. 

Shiva’s home is the sacred mountain of Kailash.  Sometimes Shiva strays from his mountain home and wanders into crematoriums.  There, he smears his body with ash, and uses the light of the funeral pyres for a place in which to dance.  This is a symbolic gesture to remind us all of the transitory nature of material things. 

His clothing is usually represented as a loincloth, and sometimes he also wears an antelope hide around him.  Frequently he is depicted as seated on a tiger skin.  Shiva wars a moon sickle in his hair, as well as a snake coil or a string of sculls around his neck.  He holds a trident in one hand - the three tips of this weapon represent the creation, sustenance, and destruction of the universe - and an axe in the other - symbolizing the breaking of ties with the material world.  Frequently there is a water jug included in his likenesses. Snakes are often associated with Shiva, due to the fact that they can regenerate their skins by first discarding their old ones.  Similarly, southern Indian believers, associate dear with Shiva as their antlers re-grow after falling out.   Usually, he is pictured facing the south, which is the direction, which brings good luck. 


Soapstone Ganesh ~ 6 Inch
Soapstone Ganesh ~ 6 Inch
Soapstone Ganesha ~ 5 Inches
Soapstone Ganesha ~ 5 Inches
Soapstone Ganesh ~ 6 Inch
Soapstone Ganesh ~ 6 Inch
12 Inch Bronze Natraj
12 Inch Bronze Natraj
Buddha Head ~ Bronze
Buddha Head ~ Bronze

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