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Why is Lord Shiva called Sahasra Lochana?

Shiva Thandava Sthotram contains the name Sahasra Lochana. It means (Lord with) thousand eyes.

Vishnu Sahasranama – Nam 227: Sahasraksha – means thousand eyed.

Lalitha Sahasranama – Nam : 283 Om Sahasrakshai namah – means thousand eyed.

What does it mean? The god is the indweller in us. When we see, it is He who sees through our eyes. The ‘thousand’ is a symbolic expression to designate ‘multiple’.

For a Saiva, shiva is the one and ultimate God. A Shiva bhakta praises his lord to be the indweller in all, who sees through all.

For a Vaishnava, Vishnu is the one and ultimate God. A Vishnu bhakta praises his lord to be the indweller in all, who sees through all.

For a Shakta, Divine mother Parashakti is the one and ultimate God. The Devi bhakta praises his divine mother to be the indweller in all, who sees through all.

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Vishnu prayed to Lord Shiva in all his forms, but Shiva didn’t pray to Vishnu. Why?

Your intent in posing this question is to get either a reply that Shiva is a greater God, most probably, or just to indirectly convey to Vishu-worshipers that Shiva is the supreme God or simply stir a debate on it!

Hinduism permits worship of multiple Gods who are endowed with different looks, powers and attributes; they, in reality, represent the One God, known as Brahman, Parabrahman, Paramatman or Satchidananda. Hinduism acknowledges that there are basic differences in every person in tastes, temperaments and capacity of intake in the matter of religion. In real life, a woman found distasteful to one man can be the soul stirring sweet-heart of another man. When such a difference is taste can exist, why not allow different tastes in worshiping the God?This is precisely the logic behind the idea of multiple God forms in Hinduism.

Thus, Hinduism permits you to choose a specific God form most appealing and lovable to you; it encourages you to believe wholeheartedly that that particular God form indeed is the one supreme God. A chaste woman considers her husband alone to be the most handsome and most wonderful person; likewise, at the lower steps of religion, a believer’s conviction that his personal God alone to be the most powerful and the “only true God” is also encouraged.

It is a common mentality amidst devotees of a specific God forms to think their God is the supreme God and all other Gods are subservient to Him. While it helps in focusing one’s devotion to his Ishta and get single pointed devotion, the negative side is that unless one develops in spirituality and grows up, he ends up in becoming a “selling agent” for one’s ishta!

Surprisingly, the same mentality seems to have existed in those sages who wrote specific Puranas like Vishnu Purana, Shiva Purana etc. The Shiva Purana, Linga Purana etc would claim Shiva to be the Ultimate God and Vishnu is a worshiper of Him. The Vishnu Purana will say vice Versa. The Devi Bhagavatam will say Shiva, Vishnu and Brahma were created by Devi!

If you are an ardent devotee of Lord Shiva and if you read Srimad Bhagavatam, particularly the episode about Vishnu taking Mohini Avatar and Shiva getting infatuated with Mohini, you would feel highly enraged and disturbed!

Puranas do serve a purpose. But if you take them too seriously, no specific spiritual benefit would accrue. Puranas can be used as a ladder at lower levels to step into higher level of spirituality so that the ladder can be discarded.

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Lord Shiva

Everything in the universe is subject to birth/evolution, growth, decay and finally destruction and these keep repeating in cycles. The destruction too is part of divine play and the Lord Shiva is the one attributed to it. Lord Shiva is associated with the profoundest religious knowledge –Gnyana. Worship of Siva as the prime deity is also very widely prevalent. Worshipers of Siva are known as saivaites. Shiva is a God with the color of flame, wears a tiger skin, has smeared his body with ash and he carries a TriSul (3 pronged weapon). The holy river Ganges flows from his head.

Shiva’s divine consort is Shakti (also known as Parvati, Maya, Kali, Jagadamba and so on). She occupies the left-half body of Siva. Shiva and Shakti are like Matter and Energy. Shiva is the unfathomable, all pervading, passive representation of God while Shakti is associated with the prime-ordinal power without which no activity can ever take place. Puranas and hymns associated with Shiva will declare that he is the prime God, the one above Vishnu and Brahma who has delegated the powers of creation and protection them.

Shiva, the lord of Gnyana (spiritual knowledge) and the destructor.

Shiva as Nataraja, the cosmic dancer.

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