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The Ascetic: Dakshinamurti , Mahayogi or Mahadeva (=The Greatest God)

Mainform 1 :

Shiva in this form is an ascetic in meditation. He is a yogi with snow-white face and his body smeared with ashes. He resides at Mount Kailash. His face is turned to the south (dakshini), the direction which brings luck. He wears a waistcloth (sometimes an antelope-skin) and sits on a tiger-skin (sometimes a lotus). He has a crescent moon his matted hair and around his neck some snakes are whriting. In his hands we see a trident, drum and a water carafe.

Attributes :

Trident (Trishula):
The trident drive away demons like a thunderbolt. The trident symbolizes the Trimurti. If the rod is long than it symbolizes the axis of the universe.

Water carafe (Kamandalu) :
Water symbolizes life, fertility and wealth. With the carafe it is possible to collect amrita, the nectar of life. When needed the amrita can be poured out again.

Bell (Ghanta)/ Drum (Damaru) :
The bell symbolizes the Base Sound which leads to the Creation of the universe. In the hands of Shiva and Kali it is a weapon to drive away demons.

Crescent moon :
These attributes are obtained in the following story: Shiva was in battle with 10.000 ascetics. They envied Shiva. The ascetics sent a tiger and an antelope to Shiva. He killed them with his bare hands. Then they sent snakes. Shiva tamed them and wears them around his neck. Then a hot iron bar was thrown to him. He caught it and himself a weapon of the iron bar. A crescent moon was thrown to him to kill him but again he caught it and he put it in his hair as an ornament. Eventually the ascetics tried to kill him with the help of an evil dwarf (Aspasmara). Shiva beat him and danced on belly of the dwarf.

In this form His self-control generates warmth and religious strength (tapas) to preserve the universe. In this form he is the great spiritual teacher (yogi).He is the teacher of gods and saints. In this form he is also the erotic, fiery lover. He is also god of the music. If he god of the music he will be depicted as Viadharamurti. He is standing/sitting with a lute.

Lute (Bina):
It is a stringed musical instrument. It is a favourite instrument of Saraswati, goddess of wisdom, learning and arts.

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