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THE Destroyer, is represented under various forms. He is usually painted of a white or silver colour, with a third eye, and the crescent (which he obtained at the churning of the ocean) in the middle of his forehead. Sometimes he is described with one head, and at others with five : sometimes armed with various instruments of destruction; at others riding on the bull, Nandi, with Parvati on his knee; and again, at others, as a mendicant with inflamed eyes and besotted countenance, soliciting alms from Anna Purna, a form of Parvati. He is also represented under the appearance of Kal, or Time, the destroyer of all things.
Fig. 1, plate 14, taken from an antique sculpture in basalt, represents him standing between four attendants, armed with the trisula or trident in one hand, and having an antelope in another; the third is held up in a forbidding attitude, and the fourth is displayed in the act of solicitation. His head-dress is richly ornamented. He is standing beneath an arch enriched with emblematical figures, animals, and arabesques of elegant design and beautiful workmanship. On the plinth are the bull, Nandi, and various other figures and animals. Fig. 2, from a cast in the same plate, is (Panch Mukhti). Siva with five heads; the fifth, or upper head, surmounted by a hooded snake. His hands are as in fig. 1. Fig. 3, from the temple of Rama, is Siva as Kal, or Time, the destroyer of all things. In his hands are the damara or small drum, the cup to receive the blood of the slain, two human heads, and the club.
Fig. 1, plate 15, is Siva as Mahadeo, “ or the supreme god,” from a
beautiful specimen of ancient sculpture. One hand rests upon his knee; the other holds a lotus sceptre, flat on the top, is if intended to fit the wreathed pinnacle (which is too large in the plate) on the other side. On his head is a rich mughut or cap. The throne on which he is seated, and the arch above, are finely sculptured. Fig. 2, in the same plate, also from a sculpture, is Siva as Bhyru. Fig. 3, from a drawing, is Siva and Parvati, as Hari Gauri, riding on the bull, Nandi. With one hand he clasps Parvati, the other three are as in fig. 1, plate 14. Fig. 1, plate 16, from a model by Chit Roy, represents them in the same characters. Round the waist of Siva is wrapped a tiger's skin; and a cobra capella, or hooded snake, rears its head over his left shoulder. His head-dress is of serpents, the heads of which point forward; the bodies form the knot on the top of his head. The position of Parvati is singular; but it is exactly as it is seen in the processions of the pujas, or festivals in honour of this couple, in Calcutta. On the thigh of Nandi is the trisula, or trident, of Siva. Fig. 2, represents Siva as a mendicant, similarly adorned, soliciting alms from Parvati, as Anna Purna Devi (see ANNA PURNA). This plate is also from a faithful model by Chit Roy. In both these plates Siva has the third eye (made of a stone to resemble a brilliant), and the crescent in the middle of his forehead. Fig. 3, from the temple of Rama, is Siva as Kandeh Rao (see KANDEH RAo). As Kal, or Time, he is, as in his other forms, painted white, to denote, according to some authors, the visible creation which Time destroys, in opposition to the dark, eternal night, that follows; which is represented by his consort, Kali, who is painted of a dark colour, and decorated (as Kal is in some representations of him) with a necklace of human skulls, and armed with the sword of destruction. In the plates, which represent him as the maha pralaya, or grand consummation of all things, when time itself shall be no more, he is deprived of his necklace, his crescent, and his trident (to show that his dominion and power no longer exist), trodden under foot by Maha Kali, or Eternity. Of the emblems of Siva, Mr. Patterson has conjectured that he has three eyes, to denote the three divisions of time, the past, the present, and the future: that the crescent in his forehead refers to the measure of time by the phases of the moon, as the serpent denotes it by years; and the necklace of skulls, the lapse and revolution of ages, and the extinction and succession of the generations of mankind. He holds the trident in one hand, to shew that the three great attributes of creating, preserving, and destroying, are in him united, and that he is the Iswara, or supreme Lord, above Brahma and Vishnu; and that the emblem called damara, shaped like an hour-glass, with which he is sometimes seen, was actually intended to be such, to pourtray the progress of time by the current of the sand in the glass. On the celebrated colossal sculpture of the Trimurti, or threeformed god (Brahma, Vishnu, and Siva), in the caves of Elephanta, he has marked on his cap a human skull and a new-born infant, to shew his twofold power of destruction and reproduction; and on another figure in the same cave, he is represented in the attributes of his vindictive character, with eight arms, two of which are partly broken off. In one of the remaining six he brandishes a sword, and in another holds a human figure: in the third he has a basin of blood, and in the fourth a sacrificial bell, which he appears to be ringing over it. With the other two he is in the act of drawing a veil, which obscures the sun, and involves all nature in universal destruction. The bull, Nandi, the vahan of Siva, is held in great reverence by the Hindus. This animal is one of the most sacred emblems of Siva, as the Egyptian Apis was of the soul of Osiris. The Egyptians believed that, when he ate out of the hands of those who went to consult him, it was a favourable answer. The Hindus, says Bartolomeo, place rice and other articles before their doors as the animal passes along in their processions, and if he stop to taste them, consider it as a fortunate event. This, at least, he is very prone to do, to the serious injury of the Hindu shopkeepers, as he wanders, not in his most sacred capacity, through the streets of Calcutta and other towns. In the analogies of learned writers of ancient mythologies, Siva, in his character of the creative power, has been compared to the Jupiter Triopthalmos, or the triple-eyed god, the Zeus, or the giver of life, of the