Siva and His Titles
He is known by many names and titles. As a god of anger, He is Rudra, the Red One, feared by one and all. As Kailasapathi, He is the Lord of Kailash, His Abode in the Himalayas. As Purusha, He is Iswara Himself. As the Lord of the beings, He is known as Pasupathinath. As the husband of Uma, the Mother Goddess, He is known as Umapathi or Parvathipathi.
As the bearer of the sacred river Ganges, He is known as Ganagadhar. Because of His matted hair, He is dearly called as Jatadhari, by His ascetic followers. As a perfect being, He is Siddheshwar. With His Trident in His hands, He became popular as heroic and fearless Trisuladhari. As the world teacher, Adi Shankara eulogized him as Dakhshinamurthi in his famous book, “Hymns to Dakhshinamurthi”.
To the connoisseurs of art, He is well known as Nataraja, master of all dance forms. As the perfect Yogi, He is credited with the source of all knowledge concerning the various yogas. Such was His powers and divinity, that Lord Vishnu in His incarnations as Rama and Krishna, worshipped Him with great reverence. He was dearer not only to gods but also to demons.
Many demons like Ravana, Bhasmasur and Surapathma were His ardent followers, to whom He gave several boons out of His unbound love and in the process invited great trouble for Himself and for others. Ever willing to help those who are in distress, He saved the cosmos and all the gods by partaking Halahal during the churning of the oceans.
It is interesting to note that while He is worshipped as he is the guru of Tantrics sastras relating to kama, He is also known for destroying the physical form of Cupid, kama with His third eye when the latter tried to disturb Him during His meditation. Men and women love Him alike for his unsurpassed qualities of love and generosity. Even today many young and unmarried girls in India worship Him and pray to Him seeking a devoted husband like Him.
Because of His close association with Vishnu, He is also known as Hari Har. Combining in Himself both the male and female aspects of creation, He earned the popular name of Ardhanariswara. As rider of the Bull Nandi, He is known to the world as Nandiswara. Loved by His children Ganesha and Skanda, and followed by His dutiful wife Parvathi, He became a symbol of ideal householder to His devotees despite of His well-known image as an introvert and an ideal ascet