Shiva is one of the three chief gods, the Trimurti—Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva—in Indian Mythology. Hardly any Indian myth could be conceived without a role of Shiva in it. Shiva, along with Brahma, derives his creative attributes from the Vedic figure of Prajapati or the creator.
Shiva : The Creator
In Rig Veda, Shiva is acknowledged as Rudra, and is summoned as the god of death. At the end of every yug i.e. era, Shiva is thought to demolish the whole universe by fire, cleansing it by scattering ashes over it. Furthermore, Shiva’s austere nature is most closely related to his Rudra image.
Shiva Lingam and Rudra – Indian Mythology
Shiva is considered as both the originator and the demolisher. As the creator he is believed to be a boundless lover, characterized by the lingam which, since years, became his primary symbol. Shiva is said to be eternally ithyphallic, yet continually unsullied. He is one without any affections and an all-time ascetic. On the one hand, he puts an end to the Kama Deva, the god of desire and sensual urge, and on the other he longs to marry the mother goddess Parvati. These are the two so called contrasting aspects of Shiva’s divine nature. The Shiva of Brahmin philosophy is mainly austere; his charm is best characterized in a patent myth about Shiva in which he is born as a man named Chandrashekhara.
Shiva : Beaten At Dice by Parvati – Myth
Shiva once played the game of dice with his spouse Parvati and was acutely packed down by her at the game. Shiva then departed unclothed and alone into the forests. When he was gone, Parvati was tortured by desire and remembered only of Shiva. She was anguished by the thought that she had won Shiva through excessive tapas but had cheated him at dice. She then took the shape of a voluptuously attractive woman. When Shiva saw her, he tried to clutch her by hand, for he was provoked from his meditation and was full of craving, but Parvati disappeared. Then Shiva meandered about in aberration, with his mind full of desire and craving. He met the mountain woman again asked her who she was. She said, “I seek a husband who knows everything, is independent, and is free from emotions.” Shiva said,” I am the husband you seek.” But she smiled and said, “You are quite different from the man I seek, you have abandoned in the forest the woman who had won you with her tapas.”
Shiva desired her to be his wife but she teased at him telling him that he was rich in tapas, a yogi and one who was without desire and had even burnt down the God of lust—Kama Deva. Shiva once again tried to grab her by power, but she again absconded.
Parvati left Siva to execute tapas in order to attain a golden skin for her body, and Shiv was anguished by lust for her and wanted her in vain. One day, deceived by Kama, Shiva saw the good-looking Savitri who look liked Parvati and misidentifying her for Parvati, he requested her to make love with him. He stressed to make her by force, but Savtri was a pure goddess. She reprimanded him saying, “You should apologize to your wife instead of trying to make another man’s wife, since you have tried to seduce me, behaving like a human being, you will have to make love to a mortal woman.”
Savtri’s curse unwrapped Shiva’s eyes. He felt humiliated and returned to his dwelling on the Meru Mountain. It was because of Savatri’s curse that he had to take birth as Chandrashekhara, a human being, and he had to make love with a mortal woman Tarawati.
Shiva as Trayambaka or Chandrashekhara
Once upon a time a king, who had no son, worshipped and propitiated Shiva who gave him a fruit which was to be divided between into three equal parts, one to be given to each of the king’s three queens. The king did likewise and his queens consumed the fruit. The king then made love to each one of them at the appropriate season of the year, and all of them became pregnant. Each one of them delivered, after nine months, a third of a child and miraculously all the parts united at their own and became one child. The king and the queens were highly delighted to see the child who was named Trayambaka because he was born of three mothers. He was also named as Chandrashekhara because he had moon as his diadem just as the Lord Shiva had.
In due course of time, Chandrashekhara attained manhood. His parents retired to forest to do tapas. And the Chandrashekhara was given charge of the kingdom as the new King. He married Trawati, in incarnation of Parvati.
One day, when Tarawati was bathing in the river, she was seen by a sage named Kapota, who was overcome by lust for her. He thought she must either be a goddess or a demon who has assumed human form in order to enjoy pleasures of the flesh, and he told her accordingly. He asked her, “Which one of the two you are—Parvati or Sachi(wife of Indra)?” Tarawati replied, “I am neither. I am a mortal woman, wife of king Chandrashekhara.” Kapota blinded by lust for Tarawati, expressed his desire before her. He promised to reward her with two sons, strong and handsome.
Trawati was in a fix. On one side there was a sage asking for love and promising her two sons, and on the other she was afraid of the consequences on two counts. Thease counts were: firstly, she was a married woman; secondly, it would be a sin to love with a sage and thus become instrumental in the undoing of his tapasya. She, therefore, warned the sage that he could desist from such a course as it would do harm to his penance. But the sage was determined to make love to her irrespective of the consequences. He said, “You must save me from Kama Deva, or he will burn me and then I will burn you with a curse.”
Tarawati was friegtened but she took courage and left the place promising to return in a little while. Tarawati did not wanted to be disloyal to her husband. She sent her sister Chitrangada dressed and disguised as Tarawati to the sage. The sage was deluded by lust. He made love with Chitrangada and taking her as Tarawati promised to deliver her of the sin of adultery by virtue of his penance. Chitangada gave birth to two sons. The sons were raised by the sage, and Chitrangada stayed with him.
Chandrashekhar and Tarawati
After some time Tarawati returned to the river and as she was bathing in the rivers, the sage Kapota again saw her. It was then that he became aware of the fraud played upon him by the queen. He got enraged and cursed Tarawati, “Since you humiliated me thinking yourself as too virtuous and inviolate and too good to desire me, Shiva shall visit you and make love to you by force in his terrifying garments and you shall bear him a pair of monkey-faced sons then and three.”
Trawati was by heart a virtuous wife. She said to the sage, “I swear by my true vows to my husband Chandrashekhara that I will never allow anyone but him to make love to me even in my dream. I swear this by the vows that my father made to Parvati when he obtained me for his daughter.”
The sage listened to the queen in rapt attention and he immediately went into samadahi. In his samadahi he relaised the truth, that Tarawati was none else but goddess Parvati herself and that the king, Chandrashekhara, was none other than the lord Shiva himself. He opened his eyes, begged pardon of the queen and left the place along with Chitrangada and took her as his lawful wife.