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The Story Behind Lord Shiva's Half-open Third Eye

The Story Behind Lord Shiva’s Half-open Third Eye

A picture of Lord Shiva is always striking. There’s the blue-tinted skin, with a snake coiled around the neck. There’s also the benevolent expression on his face and a moon on his updo. Most (if not all) of these characteristics of Lord Shiva have some significance associated with them. In fact, several fascinating stories are associated with all of his qualities. However, what stands out most prominently is a half-open third eye on his forehead. Among many names, Lord Shiva is also referred to as trilochana, which translates to the one who has three eyes. Now, a lot of us have heard stories about Lord Shiva’s rage and how him opening his third eye symbolises destruction. The ‘third eye’, more often than not, remains closed. But it is said that when Lord Shiva opens his third eye, it destroys everything in its way. However, the story behind how he got his third eye and its actual symbolisation is something more significant than that. 

There are several stories about how Lord Shiva opened his third eye to ‘burn’ Kamadeva (the God of Love). But the hermit-God’s third eye didn’t always exist, to begin with. 

A long time ago, Lord Shiva sat deep in meditation when Goddess Parvati, his wife, came and playfully covered his eyes to surprise him. Nonetheless, on doing that, there was sudden chaos that took over the cosmos. The world, somehow, plunged into darkness, and there was nothing to be seen. This raised immense concerns, and the Gods of the universe found themselves helpless and unable to restore the balance back in the world. However, it was this darkness that paved the way for Lord Shiva’s third eye, which was then formed at the centre of his forehead. This eye was instrumental in restoring the light back into the cosmos. 

But the story doesn’t end here — it was the heat in Parvati’s hands that caused perspiration in his eyes. This warmth between her hands and his eyes turned into energy and that’s how their child Andhaka was born. This child of Lord Shiva and Parvati was seemingly ugly — and also visually impaired. On seeing him, Parvati was immediately terrified. But Lord Shiva reassured her by saying that it was their child.

Lord Shiva’s third eye and its symbolism

When speaking about its symbolism, Lord Shiva’s third eye refers to the physical that cannot be seen. Eyes can grasp on something that is purely sensory in nature. However, it is the third eye that can catch a glimpse of something non-sensory; something that is inward. This could be your nature, or your existence — instead of something materialistic.

Click here to read about Shiva And Parvati – How A Hermit Married The Princess.

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