Shiva is the god of the yogis, self-controlled and celibate, responsible for change both in the form of death and destruction and in the positive sense of destroying the ego, the false identification with the form. This also includes the shedding of old habits and attachments. Lord Shiva is the destroyer of the world and restorer, following Brahma the creator and Vishnu the preserver, after which Brahma again creates the world and so on.
The psyche is the greatest of all cosmic wonders and the “sine qua non” of the world as an object. It is in the highest degree odd that Western man, with but very few – and ever fewer – exceptions, apparently pays so little regard to this fact. Swamped by the knowledge of external objects, the subject of all knowledge has been temporarily eclipsed to the p oint of seeming nonexistence.” (Carl Gustav Jung, psychologist.)
A Shiva Linga consists of three parts, the lowest of which is called the 'Brahma-Pitha,' the middle one, the 'Vishnu-Pitha' and the uppermost one, the 'Shiva-Pitha.There is a mysterious or indescribable power or 'Shakti' in the Linga, to induce concentration of the mind, and helps focus one's attention. That is why the ancient sages and seers of India prescribed Linga to be installed in the temples of Lord Shiva. In Sanskrit, Linga means a 'mark' or a symbol, which points to an inference. Thus the Shiva Linga is a symbol of Lord Shiva - a mark that reminds of the Omnipotent Lord, which is formless. A Shiva Linga consists of three parts, the lowest of which is called the 'Brahma-Pitha,' the middle one, the 'Vishnu-Pitha' and the uppermost one, the 'Shiva-Pitha.There
As we all know that Lord Shiva has many names and there is a story behind every name. He is also known as kalantak, The One who ends time. It also means that there is nobody in this world beyond Lord Shiva. He is the one who can save anyone from death and make him Immortal. He is the Mahayogi free from all desires and attachments. He is the one who always loves his devotees and shower them with his blessings. That is why he is also known as Bholenath. If he is happy from your prayers then he will fulfill your desires no matter what it is.
Shiva is said to be at the core of the centrifugal force of the universe, due to his responsibility for death and destruction. Unlike the godhead Brahma the Creator, or Shri Vishnu the Preserver, Shiva is the dissolving force in life. But Shiva dissolves in order to create, since death is necessary for rebirth into a new life. So the opposites of life and death, creation and destruction both reside in his character. Shiva is in the world and in the same time he is beyond the world. In the beginning nothing existed, neither the heaven nor the earth nor any space in between. So non-being, having decided to be, became spirit and said: “Let me become!”. He warmed himself, and from this was born fire. He warmed himself further still and from this was born light.
Lord Shiva and Nandi are inseparable. Nandi, also called Nandikeshvara and Nandishvara, is the name of the gate keeper of Kailasa, the abode of Lord Shiva. He is usually depicted as a bull which also serves as the mount to Shiva. He is one of the Gana of Shiva. Nandi is the bearer of truth and righteousness. The word Nandi has come from Tamil root word Nandhu means to grow, to flourish or to appear which was used to indicate growing fluorished white bulls as well as divine bull nandi. The Sanskrit word nandi has the meaning of "happy", "joy" and "satisfaction"; also said as the properties of divine guardian of Lord Shiva - Nandi. Almost all Shiva temples display stone images of a seated Nandi, generally facing the main shrine. Nandi is described as the son of the sage Shilada. Shilada underwent severe penance to have a boon ; a child with immortality and got Nandi as his son. It is said that Nandi was born from a Yajna performed by the Shilada and his body was clad in armour made out of diamonds when he was born. Nandi grew as an ardent devotee of Lord Shiva and he did penance to become the gate-keeper of the Lord Shiva as well as his mount.
Shiva was originally known as Rudra, a minor deity addressed only three times in the Rig Veda. He gained importance after absorbing some of the characteristics of an earlier fertility god and became Shiva, part of the trinity, or trimurti, with Vishnu and Brahma. Shiva often wears a snake coiled around his upper arms and neck symbolizing the power he has over the most deadly of creatures. Snakes are also used to symbolize the Hindu dogma of reincarnation. Their natural process of moulting or shedding their skin is symbolic of the human soul’s transmigration of bodies from one life to another.
The Pineal Gland or Third-Eye The pineal gland is considered one of the body's greatest mysteries. Today we know that it is an endocrine gland which secrets the hormone melatonin. It is shaped like a pine cone and placed exactly in the middle of the brain. The French philosopher Descartes suggested that the pineal gland, or the cone gland, as he called it, was the dwelling place of the soul, and the gateway to the spiritual world. But apart from this comment, western science has mainly ignored this gland and considered it more or less useless. Since Darwin it has been described as reminiscent of an eye which no longer is in use, and originates from earlier history of evolution when we were a more primitive species. It is not until the last sixty years that science has started to uncover some of the pineal glands great secrets. After seven years of age small layers of calcification appears in the gland, and makes it look like a small cone in x-rays. Because it is situated in the middle of the brain, it is used to detect tumours of the brain, because this would displace the pineal gland from it's centre.
The popular belief is that the Shiva Lingam represents the phallus or the virile organ, the emblem of the generative power or principle in nature. This is not only a serious mistake, but also a grave blunder. In the post -Vedic period, the Linga became symbolical of the generative power of the Lord Shiva. Linga is the differentiating mark. It is certainly not the sex-mark. You will find in the Linga Purana: Pradhanam prakritir yadahur- lingamuttamam; Gandhavarnarasairhinam sabda-sparsadi-varjitam — The foremost Linga which is primary and is devoid of smell, colour, taste, hearing, touch, etc., is spoken of as Prakriti (Nature). Linga means ‘mark’, in Sanskrit. It is a symbol which points to an inference. When you see a big flood in a river, you infer that there had been heavy rains the previous day. When you see smoke, you infer that there is fire. This vast world of countless forms is a Linga of the Omnipotent Lord. The Shiva Linga is a symbol of Lord Shiva. When you look at the Linga, your mind is at once elevated and you begin to think of the Lord.
Shiva saw no sense in the transitory pleasures of life, so he rejected samsara, smeared his body with ash, closed his eyes and performed austerities. Shiva's tapas generated so much heat that his body transformed into a pillar of fire - a blazing lingam that threatened to destroy the whole world. The gods did not know how to control Shiva's fire.Suddenly there appeared a yoni - the divine vessel of the mother-goddess. It caught the fiery lingam and contained its heat, thus saving the cosmos from untimely destruction. Shiva is often pictured in a pacific mood with his consort Parvati, as the cosmic dancer Nataraja, as a naked ascetic, as a mendicant beggar, as a yogi Dhakshinamurthy, and as the androgynous union of Shiva and Parvati in one body (Ardhanarisvara).