Shiv is the third member of the Hindu trinity representing godhead in its aspect of annihilator, in charge of the “constructor – destructor” in the continuous process of creation, preservation, destruction and recreation or transformation. He is the god of austerity. He is clad in deer-skin, besmears his body with holy ash, has matted hair, and is adorned with snake around his neck and arms. It is said that he has consumed a cup of poison, which has made his neck blue in color giving him the appellation “Neel Kantha” the blue-necked god. He is said to be seated in deep meditation on the top most point of the world on Mount Kailash in the Himalayas.
He has a third eye in the center of his forehead, the eye of wisdom and annihilation. When the eye of wisdom opens, the universe of names and forms and duality must stand annihilated. Supreme knowledge cannot but be followed by austerity. The deer-skin, holy ash, matted hair are all symbols signifying supreme renunciation.
:: Uma (Parvati)
This divine consort of Shiv i.e. Uma or Parvati, the daughter of Himavan, is the Shakti or power (energy) that supplies the energy to Shiv. She manifests herself in various forms such as, Uma, Kali, and Durga. As Uma she did severe tapasya to obtain Shiv as her lord and husband. As Mrudani she mothers Ganesha, Kartikeya and Saasa though she never conceived any of them. It is significant that among the three “Shaktis” Saraswati, Lakshami and Uma, it is Uma who is known as Jagatmata, the mother of the universe and as such she represents the primal source of everything.
The Lord of the Ganas, the commander of the spiritual forces, also called Vighnaraja, the remover of all obstacles, is represented in a very peculiar form with a human trunk and elephant’s head, with a mouse for his vehicle. The uninitiated may laugh at this, but he is only laughing at his own ignorance of high symbology underlying this representation. Ganesh also is given two spouses. Riddhi and Siddhi, i.e. prosperity and achievements which of course go together.