We have arthanareesswarar that you have an ad blocker arthanareeawarar on your browser. Brahma asks Rudra to divide himself, and the latter complies by dividing into male and female. Confronted with the resulting decline in the pace of creation, Brahma was perplexed and contemplated on Shiva for help. Amazed by his devotion, Parvati reconciled with the sage and blessed him. University of Chicago Press. In contrast to the Shiva half, the Parvati half — smeared with saffron — is described as calm and gentle, parrot-green or dark in colour.
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Names[ edit ] The name Ardhanarishvara means "the Lord Who is half woman. Utpala , commenting on the Brihat Samhita , calls this form Ardha-Gaurishvara "the Lord whose half is the fair one"; the fair one — Gauri — is an attribute of Parvati. It declares Rudra — the antecedent of the Puranic Shiva — the maker of all and the root of Purusha the male principle and Prakriti the female principle , adhering to Samkhya philosophy.
It hints at his androgynous nature, describing him both as male and female. This is the earliest representation of Ardhanarishvara, universally recognized. The right male half has matted hair with a skull and crescent moon; the left female half has well-combed hair decorated with flowers and wears a patra-kundala earring.
The face has a common third eye. A terracotta seal discovered in Vaishali has half-man, half-woman features. A similar syncretic image is Harihara , a composite form of Shiva and Vishnu, the Supreme deity of the Vaishnava sect.
In the case of three arms, the Parvati side has only one arm, suggesting a lesser role in the icon. Male half[ edit ] The male half wears a jata-mukuta a headdress formed of piled, matted hair on his head, adorned with a crescent moon. Sometimes the jata-mukuta is adorned with serpents and the river goddess Ganga flowing through the hair. The right ear wears a nakra-kundala, sarpa-kundala "serpent-earring" or ordinary kundala "earring".
Sometimes, the male eye is depicted smaller than the female one and a half-moustache is also seen. Another configuration suggests that a right hand holds a trishula trident and another makes a varada mudra gesture of blessing. Another scripture prescribes that a trishula and akshamala rosary are held in the two right hands. In the two-armed form, the right hand holds a kapala skull cup or gestures in a varada mudra.
The yajnopavita may also divide the torso into its male and female halves. The right leg may be somewhat bent or straight and often rests on a lotus pedestal padma-pitha. The whole right half is described as smeared with ashes and as terrible and red-coloured or gold or coral in appearance; however, these features are rarely depicted.
The left ear wears a valika-kundala a type of earring. The left eye is painted with black eyeliner. In the three-armed representation, the left hand holds a flower, a mirror or a parrot.
She has a fuller thigh and a curvier body and hip than the male part of the icon. The left half wears an anklet and her foot is painted red with henna. The left leg may be somewhat bent or straight, resting on a lotus pedestal. In contrast to the Shiva half, the Parvati half — smeared with saffron — is described as calm and gentle, fair and parrot-green or dark in colour.
Postures and vahana[ edit ] A seated Ardhanarishvara with both the vahanas The posture of Ardhanarishvara may be tribhanga — bent in three parts: head leaning to the left , torso to the right and right leg or in the sthanamudra position straight , sometimes standing on a lotus pedestal, whereupon it is called samapada.
Seated images of Ardhanarishvara are missing in iconographic treatises, but are still found in sculpture and painting. The upper male arms hold a lute and akshamala rosary , while the upper female ones hold a mirror and a book; the others are broken. The sculpture is three-headed and eight-armed, holding akshamala, khadga sword , pasha, musala, kapala skull cup , lotus and other objects.
The form is called Gaurishvara in this text. In some narratives, Shiva is described as dark and fair-complexioned, half yellow and half white, half woman and half man, and both woman and man. When the demon followed her there, Parvati revealed her Ardhanarishvara form to him. Seeing the half-male, half-female form, the demon lost interest in her and left.
Vishnu was amazed to see this form and saw himself in the female part of the form. Confronted with the resulting decline in the pace of creation, Brahma was perplexed and contemplated on Shiva for help. To enlighten Brahma of his folly, Shiva appeared before him as Ardhanarishvara.
Brahma prayed to the female half of Shiva to give him a female to continue creation. The goddess agreed and created various female powers from her body, thereby allowing creation to progress.
Brahma asks Rudra to divide himself, and the latter complies by dividing into male and female. Numerous beings, including the 11 Rudras and various female shaktis , are created from both the halves. Ardhanarishvara Shiva then enjoys his own half — the Great Goddess — by "the path of yoga" and creates Brahma and Vishnu from her body.
In the repetitive cycle of aeons , Ardhanarishvara is ordained to reappear at the beginning of every creation as in the past. This renders her more attractive to Shiva, to whom she later merges as one half of his body. However, the sage Bhringi had vowed to worship only one deity, Shiva, and ignored Parvati while worshipping and circumambulating him. Agitated, Parvati cursed Bhringi to lose all his flesh and blood, reducing him to a skeleton. In this form Bhringi could not stand erect, so the compassionate ones who witnessed the scene blessed the sage with a third leg for support.
As her attempt to humiliate the sage had failed, Parvati punished herself with austerities that pleased Shiva and led him to grant her the boon of uniting with him, thereby compelling Bhringi to worship her as well as himself in the form of Ardhanarishvara. However, the sage assumed the form of a beetle and circumambulating only the male half, drilling a hole in the deity.
Amazed by his devotion, Parvati reconciled with the sage and blessed him. A conjugal dispute erupted but was quickly resolved, after which Parvati wished to stay eternally with Shiva in his body. The divine couple was thereafter fused as Ardhanarishvara. To pacify Gauri, Shiva united with her as Ardhanarishvara. Purusha is the male principle and passive force of the universe, while Prakriti is the female active force; both are "constantly drawn to embrace and fuse with each other, though The interdependence of Shiva on his power Shakti as embodied in Parvati is also manifested in this form.
In this form, Shiva in his eternal embrace with Prakriti represents the eternal reproductive power of Nature, whom he regenerates after she loses her fertility. Padma Upadhyaya comments, "The idea of The left side is the location of the heart and is associated with feminine characteristics like intuition and creativity, while the right is associated with the brain and masculine traits — logic, valour and systematic thought.
This is also reflected in mythology, where Parvati becomes a part of Shiva. It is likewise reflected in iconography: Shiva often has two supernatural arms and Parvati has just one earthly arm, and his bull vahana — not her lion vahana — typically accompanies them. Ardhanarishvara is one of the most popular iconographic forms of Shiva. It is found in more or less all temples and shrines dedicated to Shiva all over India and South-east Asia. The cult may have had occasional followers, but was never aligned to any sect.
This cult focusing on the joint worship of Shiva and the Goddess may even have had a high position in Hinduism, but when and how it faded away remains a mystery. While the 8th-century Nayanar saint Sundarar says that Shiva is always inseparable from the Mother Goddess,  another 7th-century Nayanar saint Sambanthar describes how the " eternal feminine " is not only his consort, but she is also part of him. He alludes to Ardhanarishvara several times and regards it the ultimate goal of a devotee to be united with Shiva as Parvati is in the Ardhanarishvara form.
Gautam ed. India through the ages.
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