As is characteristic of our religion, there are various sources of information with respect to the actual number of forms of Lord Shiva.
Lord Shiva is expressed in three forms:
- Nitkala Swaroopa – One with no form. For eg: “Chidhambara Rahasya”.
- SakhaLa Nitkala Swaroopa – Formless form, like the one in Sivalinga
- SakhaLa Swaroopa – One with human form, like the one seen in this page. My attempt is all about the various sakhaLa swaroopas of Lord Shiva
The origin of the agamas is the same as Vedas and it is said that agamas came from the face of shiva. The image that you find on the right is called as “Sadhashiva murthy”, characterised with 5 faces. Every face has a name.
- Sathyojaatham – Facing West. From Sathyojaatham, it is said that Kaamikam, Yoghajam, Sindhiyam, Karanam and Ajitha aagamas emanated. The forms that i am going to use is in reference to the Kaamika Aagamam. Kaamika Agamam in itself is of two parts: Poorva and Uthara. Poorva Kaamika Aagamam talks about selection of land for temple, Construction of various vimanas (Gopuram), Kumbhabhishekam etc. Uthara Kaamika Aagamam talks about the various forms of deities that we generally find in South indian temples and the rules in performing pooja for them.
- Vaamadhevam – Facing North. From this face emanated the following aagamas: Deeptham, Sookshamam, Sahasram, Amsumaan and Suprabetham
- Thathpurusham – Facing East. From this face emanated: Rouravam, Makudam, Vimalam, Chandra Gnanam, Bimbam.
- Ahoram – Facing South. From this face emanated: Vijayam, Nischvaakam, Swaayambuvam, Anilam, Veeram
- Easaanam – On the top. From this face emanated: PurothGheetham, Lalitham, Siddham, Santhaanam, Sarvoktham, Parameswaram, Kiranam and VaadhuLam.
It is also said that the puranas (18 of them totally, of which 10 praise Lord Shiva as the one and the only one) contains lots of information on the aagamas as well. Not surprisingly, Puranas seem to be the vehicle to carry abstract ideas into the minds of the people.
How do we get started? Many paths to follow. I choose to follow the forms that are attributed to the five faces of Shiva. Is it not apt to have the darshan of Sadhaashiva murthy as the first form.
More to follow.