Shiva Maha Yajna - Shiva Homam - Shiv Pooja - Shiv Puja

Shiv Linga Puja, Shiva Maha Yajna, Rudrabisekha, Shiva Homam, Shiv Pooja

All that is born must die. All that is produced must disintegrate. This is an inviolable law. The principle that brings about this disintegration, the power behind this destruction is Shiva. Disintegration of the universe results in ultimate thinning out, into a boundless void, the substratum of all existence, from which springs out again and again. This apparently limitless universe is Shiva.

Shiva Puja (Shiv Puja, Shiv Pooja, Shiva Pooja), Rudra Puja, Shiva Abishekha and Rudrabhisekha is done both in the anthropomorphic aspect and as the Linga, the latter being the rule whereas the former is an exception. The latter is also known as Shiva Lingam Puja. In Shiva Puja online at AstroMerits, Shiva Lingam Puja is followed. In Shiva Yajna, both his statue and Shivalinga will be employed. The most common of Shiva’s pictures depict him as a very handsome youth, white as camphor. His limbs besmeared with ashes are strong and smooth. He has three eyes, the third eye being on the forehead between the eyebrows- the four arms, two of the arms holding the Trishua (trident) and Damaru (drum) while the other two are in Abhaya (protection-giving) and Varada (boon giving) Mudras (poses). He has a crown of long matted hair from which flows the river Ganga. He also wears a crescent moon as diadem. A tiger skin and an elephant skin adorn his body and there are serpents all over his body forming the necklace, the girdle, the Yajnopavitha (sacred thread) as also arm bracelets. There is a garland of skulls around his blue neck.

The icon of Shiva is never worshipped as the Mula-murthi (original, installed in the sanctum sanctorum), but only as an Utsavamutthi (the icon used during festivals for taking out in a procession). As regards the Linga, the emblem of Shiva universally venerated, some explanation is needed. Literally Shiva means auspiciousness and Linga means a symbol. Hence ‘Shivalinga’ is just a great symbol of great God of the universe (Mahadeva) who is all auspiciousness. Since God is beyond name and form, and since we cannot conceive an abstract principle like him, without concrete symbols, a rounded surface is the nearest approach to him.

Shiva is referred to as Panchanana or the five faced one, representing the five aspects of Shiva vis-à-vis the created universe. The five faces are respectively Isana, Tatpurusha, Aghora, Vamadeva and Sadyojata. The face Isana turned towards zenith represents the highest aspect and is also called Sada Shiva. On the physical plane it represents the power that rules over ether or sky and on the spiritual plane, it is the deity that grants Moksha or liberation. Tatpurusha facing east, stands for the power that rules over air and represents the forces of darkness and obstruction on the spiritual plane. Aghora, facing south and ruling over the fire element, stands for the power that absorbs and renovates the universe. Vamadeva facing north, ruling over element water, is responsible for preservation. Sadyojata, facing west represents the power that creates.

The most common Shiva mantra is the Shiva Panchakshari Mantra. The famous ‘Om Namah Shivaya Mantra is the Shiva panchakshari mantra (there are 5 Aksharas –characters in this mantra). There are several other aspects in which Lord Shiva is depicted and worshipped. Lord Mrityunjaya is another famous aspect of Lord Shiva and is worshipped with the Shiva Mahamrityunjaya Mantra. The aspects of Lord Shiva can be broadly divided into the following categories:

Peaceful form of Shiva as also the form showing the mercy and grace belong to the first group. The forms of Shiva showing mercy and grace belong to the first group. The forms showing grace or granting boons to Chandesha, Nandiswarsa, Vighneswara or Ravana belong to this category.

All terrific aspects can be classified under the category of Ugra Murthis. Kalabhairava represents the Shiva who cut off the fifth head of Brahma for having reviled him and had to wander as a beggar for twelve years to get rid of that sin. Gajasuravadhamurthi represents him as killing the demon Nila (an associate of Andhakasura) who had assumed the form of an elephant. Tripurantaka-muthi depicts him as destroying by his arrow, the three cities of iron, silver and gold built on earth, in air and in heaven by three sons of Andhakasura who had become almost invincible because of these three impregnable shelters. Sarbheshamurthi pictures Shiva as Sarabha (an imaginary animal more ferocious than lion). Kalari-murthi portrays him as vanquishing Yama, the God of death, who wanted to take away the life of Markandeya, a great devotee of Shiva. Kamanthakamurthi illustrates him as destroying Kama, the god of lust, by the fire emitted through the third eye. Andhakasura-vadha-murthi shows him as vanquishing Andhakasura and later on, on supplication, conferred on him the commandership of the Ganas (dwarf attendants).

Lord Shiva is the master of dance. All the 108 modes of dancing known to the treatises on dancing have come from him. He is also referred to as Sabhapathi, the lord of the congregation of devas. Only nine modes of dancing have been described of which Nataraja aspect the most is well known. The Nataraja icon shows him with four hands and two legs, in the posture of dancing. There is the damaru (drum) in the upper right hand and fire in the left. The lower right hand is in Abhayamudhra (pose of protection) and the left is pointing towards the uplifted left foot. The left foot is resting on the demon Apasmarapurusha. The whole image may be surrounded by a circle of blazing fire.

Shiva’s dance indicates a continuous process of creation, preservation and destruction. The damaru represents the principle of sound Sabda and hence Akasha (ether), which proceeds immediately from the Atman and is responsible for further creation and evolution. Fire represents Pralayagni, the fire that destroys the world at the time of dissolution of the world, and hence symbolizes process of destruction. Thus Damaru and fire represent continuous cycle of creation, preservation and destruction. The other two hands indicate that he who takes refugee at the feet of Lord will have nothing to fear. The Apasmara-purusha (Apasmara = epilepsy) symbolizes ignorance which makes us lose our balance and consciousness. He is trampled upon by Lord for the good of devotees who take refuge.

Several other dancing postures of Shiva like Ananda-tandava-murthi, Umatandava-murthi, Tripura-tandava-murthi and Urdhva-tandava-murthi are also mentioned in the Agamas.

Shiva is aid to have appeared as a blazing pillar of fire, of immeasurable size, to destroy the pride of Brahma and Vishnu. Lingodbhavamurthi depicts him as manifesting in the heart of the Linga. The image has four arms. Brahma and Vishnu stand on either side adoring him.

The Bhikshatanamurthi shows Shiva as a naked Bhairava, begging his food in the skull cup.

In Haryardha-murthi, also called Hara-hara and Sankaranarayana, has Shiva on the right half and Vishu on the left. A fusion of these two aspects into one god is an obvious attempt at a happy reconciliation of warning cults of Shiva and Vishnu.

The Ardhanarishwara (half man and half women) from which Parvathi as the left half represents the bipolar nature of the created world and the need to look upon women as equal and complementary to man.  The purest knowledge consciousness is Purusha (male) Shiva, the self, and the equipments of the individual and the confusing universe of endless plurality constitute Prakriti, (female) Sakthi, the non-self. The non-self (Sakthi) cannot function without the Self (Shiva) playing through her. The combination of Shiva-Sakthi (Male-Female) is creation. This glorious concept and all its sacred implications have been entirely accepted through the Hindu culture, and based upon it the entire set of social values structured by the Hindus. The man-woman form of Shiva – Ardhanareesvara – represents the significance of attaining the macrocosm and the microcosm as the mere play of one self in and through the non-self.

Have an Online Shiva Puja performed by AstroMerits. Let your mind vibrate to the sacred chants of the great Shiva Mantras chanted by our esteemed Vedic Pundits. Enjoy the divine grace of the great Lord Shiva at the best possible way, at AstroMerits.


Shiva Maha Yajna - Shiva Homam - Shiv Pooja - Shiv Puja
  • Item #: Shiv Linga Puja - Rudrabisekham
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