Lord Shiva or Mahadev is one of the supreme trinity in Hindu mythology. Shiva has a particular image of himself in mind of his devotees which includes him covered in ashes, has crescent moon on his head, a flow of ganaga stream in his head, having a Trident (trishul) and a drum or damru in his hand. He also is believed to wear a snake around his neck and skin of tiger all over his body. Not just that but he also had his carrier bull (Nandi). Every item possessed by Lord Shiva has significance. There are many legends in the Vedic literatures regarding the objects possessed by the Trinity and other gods. Here are some items and their significance which are possessed by Lord Shiva.

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Ashes – there was once a Brahmin descending from sage Bhrigu named Pranada, who did great penance in which he did not eat anything but leaves and no seasonal changes affected him. One day while he was cutting some grass he accidently sliced his finger. Even though he did not care about this but he was shocked to see that there was no blood coming out of his wound instead sap like liquid which plants unleash, came out. He understood that this was because since he kept on eating leaves. Pranada felt proud of his achievements and began to jump in delight. Lord Shiva then decided to teach Pranada a lesson. He disguised Himself as a Brahman and arrived before Parnada.
"Why are you so happy?" asked Shiva.
“Can't you see?" replied Parnada. "My tapasya has been so successful that my blood has become like the sap of plants."
"This sort of vanity or self-important attitude destroys the fruits of all penances," said Shiva. "What have you got to be so proud about?" Your blood has only turned into the sap of plants. What happens when you burn plants? They become ashes. I Myself have performed so much penance that My blood has becomes ashes."
Shiva sliced off his middle finger and ashes came out of it. Parnada was impressed. He realized that there was nothing that he could be proud about; here was a far greater hermit than he. He asked Shiva who he was. Shiva then displayed his true divine form to Parnada.
Ever since that day; there have always been ashes on Shiva's body.

River Ganga – Bhagiratha brought the River Ganga to Earth from the heavens because only she could bestow nirvana to Bhagiratha's ancestors who were cursed by Sage Kapila. After years of great penance,he asked Brahms to bring Ganga back to earth. Brahma asked Bhagiratha to propitiate Lord Shiva, for only he could break Ganga's landfall. Ganga Matha arrogantly flew down to earth but Lord Shiva calmly trapped her back in his matted locks (jattae) and let her out in seven streams; Bhagirathi, Janhvi, Bhilangana, Mandakini, Rishiganga, Saraswati, and Alaknanda. She then followed Bhagiratha, who lead her to his ancestors and with her purity, released their souls.

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Moon - the Moon god was very pretty and was proud of the same. And he married twenty seven daughters of king Daksha, but he loved and paid attention to only one of Daksh’s daughters Rohini. And because of his immense love for Rohini he did not pay attention to his other wives. After hearing this King Daksh got angry and cursed Moon that he will lose all his shine and gradually fade away. Scared of the curse, the Moon God immediately went to Lord Brahma who asked him to approach Lord Shiva. After hearing from Chandra, Lord Shiva said that the curse cannot be counteracted but without the Moon, the balance of Nature soon became troubled as many lives hinged upon moonlight. So Moon did great penance of Lord Shiva. Impressed Lord gave him boon that during Krishnapaksha you will be waning and during shuklapaksha you will be waxing. So everyone would be satisfied.Shiva then personally kept the Crescent Moon on his head in order to increase his Glory for a Fortnight. It is said that Moon did penance in Somnath and he established the Somnath Jyotirling.

Snake - Lord Shiva is depicted having a snake over his neck. This snake is the king of snakes named Vasuki. He was born to Kashyap and Kundra and was their second child. Vasuki was a fervent devotee of Lord Shiva and played an important role in Sandura Manthan or churning of the ocean. It is believed that he was wrapped around the mountain and was pulled by demons and demigods. Due to this he injured himself and no just that he consumed the deadly poison. Even after soo much suffering he did not complain to god. Impressed by his devotion Shiva granted him immortality by allowing him to be wrapped around his neck. Having king of Snake wrapped around his neck also symbolises the power of Shiva over all the creatures and his strength and fearlessness.

Trident - The Trishula is a trident, used as one of the principal symbols in Hinduism. Being one of the most powerful weapons mentioned in Hindu texts and epics, it is wielded by Lord Shiva, one of the members of the holy Trinity. Unlike Greek God Poseidon's Trident where it can only control the oceans, the Trishula is much more powerful. It is said that once attacked with the Trishula, the opponent has no chance of surviving. The three-pointer edges or prongs have various meanings and significance. They are commonly known to represent the Trinity - Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh Or sometimes the Tridevi - Saraswati, Lakshmi and Sakti. It is also considered to represent other elements like th three modes of nature which is Creation, Maintenance and Destruction or the three Kaals (Time) - Past, Present & Future. The list goes on... The three Gunas - Sat (Goodness, Harmonious), Raj (Passion)and Tam (Destruction, Darkness) and the three Lokas - Swarg Lok (Heaven), Bhu Lok (Earth), Paatal Lok (Underworld) also hold a strong significance. According to Vishnu Purana, Vishwakarma created the Trishula using the matter from the Sun. When Surya Dev (Sun) married Sanjana, the daughter of Vishwakarma, his wife soon became unhappy with married life due to the unbearable heat of her husband Surya. She complained to her father Vishwakarma, who agreed to solve the problem. Her father came to an arrangement whereby Surya agreed to reduce his heat to accommodate Sanjana. The solar matter fell to the earth, reducing his heat by 18. That material was then used to make Trishul. Vishwakarma gifted this deadly weapon to Lord Shiva, which seems obvious because Shiva is known to be the destroyer among the Trinity.

Damru – it is said that Damru was created by lords Shiva himself to produce spiritual sounds by which the whole universe is created and regulated.

Nandi - According to Shiv Purana it is said that there was once a saint name Shaila’s who was a devotee of Lord Shiva. But Shailad did not had any child. For having a child he did penance for Lord Shiva. Impressed by him Shiva gave him a child who a part of Shiva was named Nandi. Like his father Nandi also became a devotee of Lord Shiva and performed great penance. Impressed by his penance Shiva asked him for his wish and Nandi said I’m a part of you and a devotee of yours so let me be with you always, so Lord Shiva gave him the face of a bull and made him his carrier. Nandi is also known as Nandeshwar. And this is the reason why with every Shivling there is an idol of Nandi.


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