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Shiva is known as the destroyer! But what does he destroy?

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The word ‘destroyer’ is often associated with rage, anger and chaos. But Shiva is calm, self-contained, unaffected by the world. How he can be the destroyer?

The answer lies in the understanding of destruction, different people see the word differently. Some have spiritual approach while some have material approach. Shiva doesn’t destroy the material world, instead he destroy ‘the cycle of rebirth’ on this world.

Ancient scriptures say, Shiva is kamataka, Yamantaka and Tripurantaka. He destroys – Kama (desire), Yama (death) and Trilok (the three worlds).

Kamataka, the one who destroys god kama. It is a god which makes us want things out of desire. Physical pleasure, desire of bigger house, or even desire of a candy. Kama give birth to ego, anger, motive or greed. Shiva destroys that provoke desire.

Shiva turns Yama into ashes with his third eye

Above image shows Shiva destroying kama with his third eye. Destroying desires of material world.

Virabhadra and Bhadrakali destroying Daksh’s material world.

Yamantaka, the one who destroy Yama. Yama is the keeper of karmic accounts. It regulates the period of birth and death on this world.

Shiva saves Markendeya by destroying Yama

This image shows, Shiva destroy Yama in order to save his devotee, Markendeya, from death.

By destroying Yama and Kama, Shiva destroy the cycle of death and rebirth.

Three horizontal lines on his forehead represent three destroyed worlds

Tripurantaka, the one who destroy the three worlds. Three lines on Shiva’s head represent the three destroyed worlds and horizontal orientation of lines suggest inertia, lack of movement , a state of dissolution.  But what are these three worlds?

Veda says – It is the earth, the atmosphere and the sky.

Purana says – It is the earth, the land below the earth and the land above the sky.

These world are not objective, they are subjective. World created by our thoughts and feeling. Hence, the three worlds are – Our private world, our public world and all the rest there is.

Thus Shiva destroy – The desire of life, the fear of death and the need of world around us. Making oneself realize that the ‘shiv’ is within.