Shiva's image portrays a being who is both beneficent as a revered teacher and powerful, violent, terrifying and destructive. In fact, the mythology and iconography of Shiva still continue to develop in modern India.
Strong bodied, though not tall in stature, stands the four armed Shiva. Many of his characteristics, such as the matted hair and garments made of tiger skin are associated with ascetics.
The crescent moon on the brow of Shiva represents the power of procreation; the serpents surrounding his upper body symbolize the dormant sexual energy. The trident that he holds in his front left hand represent the three qualities of nature creation, preservation and destruction. The belt of bones and skulls that he wears denote perpetual revolution of death and rebirth. Yet one of his hands is raised in abhaya mudra. In another hand he holds a kamandala, again an attribute of an ascetic. In the rear right hand, Shiva holds an antelope, often a sacrificial victim, which reinforces Shiva's link with life and death, or renewal
Behind Shiva, stands Nandi, the bull vehicle which expresses the power of sexual energy and also relates to the power of the uncontrolled sexual forces of man.
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