Ardhanarishvara is a member of the 64 embodiments of Parashiva, Lord Shiva's embodiment who is Absolute, almost beyond ability to comprehend, and is consequently known as the Nirguna Brahman. Ardhanarishvara is a fusion of Shiva and his wife Parvati. This form is a fusion of half-male and half-female aspects that is divided into the central portion. The right half portrays Shiva, while the left half portrays Parvati in her female form.
Ardhanarishvara encapsulates the Prakriti and the Purusha, the feminine and masculine sources of power of the universe, and also illustrates how Shakti, the Holy Feminine, is indistinguishable from Shiva, the male tenet of God. This version also symbolizes Lord Shiva's all-encompassing, all-enduring essence. The iconography of Ardhanarishvara is thought to have emerged and developed during the Gupta empire. Ardhanarishvara remains a common archetypal form and is commonly found in most Shiva temples across the whole of India. Surprisingly, there are only a few temples in this country dedicated to this divinity. The early symbolism of Ardhanareeswara is assumed to have originated from the Vedic literature's composite figure of Yama-Yami, an alliance of the primitive Founder Vishvarupa or Prajapati and Agni, the Fire God. This figure is a bull that is also a cow. Interestingly, Hermaphroditus and Agdistis have genderless forms in Greek mythology too.
As per the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad, this genderless form appears to result from Purusha dividing himself into two components, male and female. These two halves copulate, resulting in the development of all life. As per Samkhya philosophy, the Shwetashwatara Upanishad also acknowledges Rudra, the antecedent of the Puranic Shiva, the originator of everything and the stem of Purusha and Prakriti (the female tenet).
The male half appears to be wearing a jata, which itself is stacked, tangled hair that is warped on the crown of his head and embellished with a crescent moon. This jata can sometimes be embellished with snakes and the Ganga going to flow in a stream through the hair. A sarpa-kundala is situated in the right ear. In certain representations, the male eye is relatively smaller than the female eye, and a half-mustache is recognisable. Whereas most portraits demonstrate both half-forms willing to share the trinetra or third eye, a half third eye can sometimes be depicted on the male side of the forehead and a half bindi or round dot is visible on Parvati's corner of the forehead. The deity's female half is represented with a karanda-mukuta, or basket-shaped headpiece. The neatly trimmed hair is secured in place. A valika-kundala is known to wear on the left ear. Her brow is embellished with a bindu or tilaka. The female body is always entirely attired.She dresses in a brightly colored or white white silk clothing or sari that needs to reach her ankles, with one or three girdles round her waist. Her left foot is painted red with Alta or Henna and chooses to wear an anklet. The left leg is typically facilitated by a Padma-Pitha. The Parvati half is splattered with saffron and usually portrayed as quiet and delicate, generally in a parrot-green or somber color.
Q1. What is the Tribhanga posture of the Ardhanarishwara?
The Ardhanarishvara is frequently depicted in the Tribhanga posture, which incorporates bending at three points on the body: the head (tilting to the left), the torso (to the right), and the right leg, or in the sthanamudra stance.
Q2. What is the symbolism surrounding Ardhanarishwara?
The premise of Ardhanarishvara needs to carry a deep underlying meaning. The deity symbolizes the ideal harmony of male and female sources of energy in this world, in addition to the fact that they are essentially indistinguishable forces that are complementary to each other and must collaborate in order to keep harmony.
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