The word 'Shiva' means Beatitude, Bliss, the Absolute, the Auspicious, the Propitious. Lord Shiva's body is smeared with bhasma or vibhuti (sacred ash). The ashes represent the essence of our Being which remains after all the nnalas (impurities of the ego) and vasanas (latent positive and negative tendencies) have been burnt in the fire of knowledge. Hence vibhuti is revered as Shiva himself and signifies the Immortality of the soul and manifest glory of the Lord.
Shiva is the first Guru, the guru of the gurus of all the world. He is the source of all the sciences and the giver of all knowledge, both apara (relating to the world of duality) and para (the knowledge that liberates). Shiva is the embodiment of renunciation, sacrifice and tapas. He is the bringer of all that is auspicious, the benefactor of the whole world. He is the ocean of compassion that receives the streams of our bad karnnas, the fire of knowledge that burns away the body of our ignorance, transforming us into his deathless `Vibhuti'.
Shiva is the supreme redeemer of mankind. Amma says that Shiva represents that aspect of Brahman which receives the prarabdha (the after-effects of one's actions in the present as well as previous existence) of the entire creation. He is like a filter that purifies the people of their sins and impure tendencies. He is the Pasupati (Lord of beings) who liberates the pasus (the individual jivas) by cutting asunder the pasa (rope) of their bondage.
The most important of Shiva's mantras is the Panchakshari (five syllable) mantra 'Namah Shivaya'. Even without a Guru's initiation, devotees can always repeat the liberating mahamantra, 'Om Namah Shivaya'.
Available in 3x3 and 6x6 inches.