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    Ardhanarishvara
     
     

    About Ardhanarishvara

    Ardhanarishvara - The Androgynous Deity

    Ardhanarishvara means ‘the Lord who is half-woman’. It is the synthesis of ShivaShivaShiva
    Shiva is one of the Supreme Gods of Hindu Trinity that ...
    and ParvatiParvatiParvati
    After the death of Shiva's first love Sati, Shiva...
    in one form. They both represent masculine and feminine energy respectively and how the composite of the two energies represent the mechanism of life, cosmos and nature. The form is depicted as half male and half female, split down the middle. It represents the inseparable bond between the Destroyer, Shiva and Shakti, the female aspect of the universe. Only through this union, the creation of the universe came into existence. The other names bestowed to this form are Ardhanaranari (the half man and woman) and Naranari (man-woman). The deity is known as Ammaiappan (Mother-Father) in South India.

    Depiction

    The deity is depicted with either two or four arms. Shiva is on the left side and Parvati is on the right. Shiva wears a headdress and a crescent moon adorns his head. River GangaGangaGanga
    According to Bhagavata Purana, Vishnu in one of....
    flows through his matted hair and serpent adorns his neck. A half-moustache and a half-third eyes is also presented in this image. He holds an axe in one hand and the other hand is in abhaya mudra (gesture made to give reassurance). Some images and idols may have trident in one hand and another in blessing giving gesture. NandiNandiNandi
    Nandi is one of the most iconic and famous characters of Hindu mythology. He is the vehicle of Shiva and also the gatekeeper of the abode of Shiva and Parvati. 
    , a bull as his mount is also placed near him.

    Parvati wears a basket shaped crown on her head. She is also ornamented with earrings and a round red dot on her forehead. She wears kohl and wears a blue lotus around her neck. Sometimes she holds a flower in one hand and mirror in another. She looks exceptionally feminine and ornamented with various jewelry.

    Legend

    Once Shiva was full of intensity and dancing in frenzy like state. Parvati was amazed to see this site and wanted to experience the same. She wanted to be a part of his mind, body, heart and soul and experience the fervor. She asked Shiva to tell her a way. She was ready to perform any penance to which Shiva replied that he just wants her to sit on his lap. She was so filled with dedication and devotion that without giving it a second thought and without any hesitation, she sat on his lap. Impressed by such willingness and the way she completely placed herself in Shiva’s authority, Shiva accommodated her in his body. He absorbed her and transcended the distinction between male and female.

    Symbolism

    Ardhanarishvara presents the fact that the masculine and the feminine aspect are equally within ourselves and this union provides perpetual state of ecstasy. People believe that this deity was brought into limelight to bring harmony between two sects named Shaivism (followers of Shiva) and Shaktism (followers of Parvati). The deity also means that God is past the concept of the gender. God can be male, female or neuter. They also symbolize perfect homogeneity in the domestic world and how a married couple can always stay in harmony if they accept each other’s similarities as well as differences to make a perfect whole.

    Purusha and Prakriti

    The male half represents Purusha which is the passive form of the universe whereas Prakriti, the female half, represents the active force. Together they are both individual and together, fearsome and gentle, destructive and constructive, stable and dynamic, infinite and finite, form and formless and substrate and substance. They present all the dichotomies of the universe.

    Purusha is the consciousness, the power of the universe and Prakriti is the creative energy that provides shape to things. When the material of the Prakriti comes in the contact of self or the soul of Purusha, cycle of evolution takes place.
     



     
     

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