Wishing all a Very Divine Sivarathri ..
Lord Shiva, the Lord of mercy and compassion, protects devotees from all negative forces like lust, greed, and anger. He grants boons, bestows grace and awakens wisdom in His devotees. The symbolism discussed below includes major symbols that are common to all pictures and images of Shiva venerated by Hindus. Since the tasks of Lord Shiva are numerous, He cannot be symbolized in one form. For this reason the images of Shiva vary significantly in their symbolism. ..
The three matted locks on the head of the Lord convey the idea that integration of the physical, mental and spiritual energies is the ideal of yoga.
The crescent moon:
The crescent moon is only one of His ornaments.
Ganga, symbolically represented on the head of the Lord by a female (Mother Ganga) with a jet of water emanating from her mouth and falling on the ground, signifies that the Lord destroys sin, removes ignorance, and bestows knowledge, purity and peace on the devotees.
Lord Shiva, also called Tryambaka Deva, is depicted as having three eyes: the sun is His right eye, the moon the left eye and fire the third eye.
When the Lord opens His eyes, a new cycle of creation emerges and when He closes them, the universe dissolves for creation of the next cycle. The half-open eyes convey the idea that creation is going through cyclic process, with no beginning no end.
Kundalas (two ear rings):
Two Kundalas, Alakshya and Niranjan in the ears of the Lord symbolize the Shiva and Shakti (male and female) or Ardha-Nariswara principle of creation.
A snake (Vasuki Naga):
The snake is shown curled three times around the neck of the Lord and is looking towards His right side. The three coils of the snake symbolize the past, present and future – time in cycles.
Snake around the neck:
The snakes to symbolize the yogic power of Lord Shiva with which He dissolves and recreates the universe.
Rudra is another name of Shiva. Rudraksha necklace worn by the Lord illustrates that He uses His cosmic laws firmly – without compromise – to maintain law and order in the universe.
Lord Shiva’s right hand is shown in a boon- bestowing and blessing pose, which annihilates evil, grants boons, bestows grace, destroys ignorance, and awakens wisdom in His devotees.
A three-pronged trident shown adjacent to the Lord symbolizes His three fundamental powers (shakti) of will, knowledge and action (Ichcha Sakthi, Jnana Sakthi and Kriya Sakthi).
Damaru symbolizes the two utterly dissimilar states of existence, unmanifest and manifest.
A tiger skin symbolizes potential energy.
The bull is associated with Shiva and said to be His vehicle.
A water pot (Kamandalu) made from a dry pumpkin contains nectar and is shown on the ground next to Shiva signifies that, an individual must break away from attachment to the physical world and clean his inner self of egoistic desires in order to experience the bliss of the Self.
Shiva sitting in the cremation ground signifies that He is the controller of death in the physical world.