What is the difference between the soul and the mind? The soul is the consciousness or the knowing principle in man. The mind belongs to the category of matter. Shiva is the soul and Parvati is the mind.
The consciousness is the Reality, the unchanging, unmoving, all pervading soul. Mind being matter is changeable and unreal.
We perceive objects through the organs of sense perception. The soul enables the organs to perceive the objects. The soul exists in all living beings as consciousness. It is the light of the soul that makes the sense-organs and the mind appear alive and luminous.
Shiva is the unchanging consciousness? Nirguna or without form or shape, this unchanging consciousness-Shiva becomes Saguna or with form, when Maya Shakti, which is Shiva’s illusive power appears as mind and matter. This phenomenon is known as Ardhanarishwar.
Shiva’s Maya-Shakti is known by various names such as Uma, Parvati, Kali, Durga etc. This Maya-Shakti or power inheres in Siva just as the burning power inheres in fire, sweetness in sugar, whiteness in milk and meaning in the words.
Siva stands for the Absolute, the unchanging, static background, of which Kali, the Shakti (power) is the dynamic expression. We call this Shakti or power Mother or Goddess. Goddess Kali combines in herself creative dynamism, destructive terror and redemptive grace.
Shiva’s Trishul or trident (the three pointed javelin like weapon) represents the three gunas namely Sattwa, Rajas and Tamas. The Trishul is the emblem of sovereignty. Lord Siva wields the world through these three gunas.
Siva is Trilochana, the three- eyed one, in the centre of whose forehead is the third eye, the eye of wisdom (gnana-chakshu). The burning power of the wisdom of the third eye destroys desires for worldly objects. The eye of wisdom leads to transcendental vision of the Supreme Reality.
His mantra is Maha Mrityunjay Mantra from the Sukla Yajurveda Samhita III. 60.
“Om Trayambakam Yajaamahe
Mrityor Mokshiya Mamritaat”
I worship thee, O sweet Lord of transcendental vision (the three -eyed one or Lord Siva). O giver of health and prosperity to all, may I be free from the bonds of death, just as a melon (or cucumber) is severed effortlessly from its bondage or attachment to the creeper.
The Shiva Purana (25th chapter) describes Lord Siva, the Yogeshwar (master of Yoga), meditating for thousands of years for the benefit of people everywhere. According to the legend, when Siva opened his eyes, some tear-drops fell on earth and grew into Rudraksha trees. These trees grow in several parts of India.
Both the Siva Mahapurana and the Devi Bhagavatam describe Rudraksha beads as highly auspicious. The mere looking at Rudraksha beads creates auspiciousness. Touching the Rudraksha beads multiplies the auspiciousness manifold, and the wearing of Rudraksha Mala (rosary) augurs almost continuous flow of auspiciousness.
Since Siva is the unchanging consciousness-Nirguna or without form, how to give a form to the formless for the purpose of worship? This dilemma is solved through the symbol of the Shiva-Linga. Like the inverted bowl with the limitless rim called the sky, the Shiva-Linga represents visible infinity. When Shiva and Shakti are separated into a duality of chit and sat- consciousness and manifest existence or matter (subject and object), the universe of different planes of existence comes into being. This is variously described as spirit and matter, Purusha and prakriti, Brahman and Maya, Siva and Shakti, Linga and Yoni.
Siva takes one beyond the three bodies (Tripura), gross, subtle and causal that envelope the Jiva or the embodied soul. He is hence the Hara or the remover of all evil and the ideal of renunciation. Therefore we hail – Hara Hara Mahadeva.