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Male and Female

"In the full figure of Siva the male and female principles are united, and he himself is said to be half man and half woman. The emblem under which he particularly delights to be worshipped is the lingam or phallus, which is always erect. Lingam and yoni (the female organ) represent the totality of his nature and the totality of all created existence."

"Despite the fact that he (Siva) was later to inspire the tender love among his devotees, he remains a mysterium tremendum fascinosum: he terrifies and he fascinates. Unlike Vishnu and his incarnations there is little that is human about him; he transcends humanity, and the voilence of the contradictions that he subsumes into himself gives him a sublimity and a mystery that no purely anthro-pomorphic figure could evoke.

Shiva's family is composed of his wife Uma (Sakti) and their two sons Ganesh and Kartikeya (Subrahmanya). Their respective mounts are the bull, the lion, the mouse and the peacock.

ArdhanarishvaraThe Saktas of a later time sought to realize in themselves the perfect union of the male and female principles in the one by combining the strictest control of the senses with the sexual act itself. A man and a woman, representing Siva and his Sakti, would be in close embrace but with the senses under such perfect control that no seminal discharge took place. Thus, it was claimed, the complete fusion of the male and female principles of Purusha and Prakrti, was realized in the One and indivis-ible Siva who, though ever chaste. In this close embrace which imitates the inseparable unity of Siva and Sakti, there is no distinction between liberation and creativity, between moksha and samsara, because the opposites are felt to have been transcended. The close union of the sexes is thus the most perfect representation in the sansaric world of the divine transcendence of all opposites."