Shiva (Sanskrit: Auspicious One) is one of the main deities of Hinduism that is worshiped as the paramount lord by the Shaivaite sects of India. In Hinduism, Lord Shiva is regarded as the representation of the Supreme Being. He is known as the third element in the Hindu Trinity (Trimurti), the other two members being Lord Brahma - the creator and Lord Vishnu - the protector. Shiva is the destructive form of the Almighty. As the cycle of destruction and recreation is always in a circle, Shiva’s primary responsibility is maintaining the life cycle. Scholars say, as the Mahakaal, Shiva destroys and dissolves everything into nothingness but as Shankara, he also reproduces that which has been destroyed and dissolved. His symbol of Lingam or the phallus represents this reproductive power.
Lord Shiva is also considered to be the most unique of all Hindu gods and also the God of all. A great ascetic, Shiva is the only godhead who is forever in deep meditation, totally absorbed in contemplation in His abode, Kailaasa Mountain in the great Himalaya. Lord Shiva is also said to be inseparable from Shakti - Parvati the daughter of Himavaan - Haimavati. There is no Shiva without Shakti and no Shakti without Shiva, the two are one - or the absolute state of being. Shiva is often shown with many faces, as creator, destroyer and preserver in total command of the cosmos. He contains both good and evil. He is moody, free of inhibitions, easy to please, protector of the down trodden, and has the power to alter the laws of destiny. Thus, it is Lord Shiva is known as the God of mercy and kindness. He protects his devotees from all evil that are always around us. He blesses his followers with grace, knowledge and peace.
Shiva as Ardhanareeswara, Lord Shiva is said to be half man and half woman. In the full figure of Siva the male and female principles are united. Shiva Linga - the symbol of Lord Shiva which consists of both Lingam (phallus) and yoni (the female organ) represent the totality of his nature and the totality of all created existence. God Nataraj where his dance is to the beat and rhythm of creation. He is also shown in sculptures with many hands. One pair of hands, for example, represents the balance between life and death. Shiva is ‘tri netra’ or three eyed, and is ‘neela kantha’ - blue-necked (having consumed poison to save the world from destruction). Besides, there are a lot many attributes associated with Lord Shiva. Here is a brief description of some of the important symbols that depict Lord Shiva. Each of his depiction signifies a different aspect of his Supreme Being