Shiva, also known by names such as Mahadeva and Nataraj, is one of the many principal deities within Hindu culture. He is the ’Supreme Being’ within Shaivism, a major tradition of contemporary Hinduism. The mount of Shiva is a Nandi or a bull; the bull has a major significance in Hinduism and is extremely holy to Hindus. Shiva is the ‘destroyer of evil and the transformer’ within the Trimurti of Hinduism; which also consists of Brahma, ‘the creator’ and Vishnu, ‘the protector’.
Shiva is one of the most iconic deities in Hindu culture and is husband to Goddess Parvati and father to Lord Ganesha and Lord Murugan. His place of residence is said to be Mount Kailash, Tibet. This mountain is thought of as holy by not just Hindus but by Jains and Buddhists too, because of this no one has attempted to climb it.
In ancient Shaivism texts, it is said that the highest form of Shiva is: formless, limitless, transcendent and unchanging absolute Brahman. Shiva is also known as Adiyogi Shiva, the patron god of yoga, meditation and all arts. The iconic attributes of Shiva include: his adorning crescent moon. the holy river of Ganga flowing through his matted hair, his weapon the Trishul, or trident, and the third eye placed on his forehead, usually closed. When Shiva’s third eye does open, however, it is believed that the world is destroyed as it has overflown with evil and is then rebuilt by Brahma, maintained by Vishnu and destroyed, once again by Shiva. This process is kept on loop.
Hindus usually worship Shiva in a form known as the lingam. The reason we all pour water on top of the Shiva Lingam upon entering a temple is quite simple. Shiva drank a bowl of a snake’s venom, which then caused him to majorly overheat. After Brahma gained word of this catastrophe, he ordered many people to pour water on the head of Lord Shiva to cool him down. As he still hasn’t cooled down from the venom it has been passed down in the Hindu culture to pour water on Shiva’s head in the attempt to cool him down. As Hindus normally worship Shiva as his Lingam form, we pour water on the top of any Shiva Lingam.