Lord Shiva is distinct from other Gods primarily because he is always worshiped not as an idol but in an abstract form of a Lingam .

Secondarily, He is always worshiped along with Goddess Shakti (also known as Amba, Gowri, etc). In fact, in a Shiva Lingam the lower half resembling a yoni is the Mother Goddess (Amba ,Gowri).

Even when we do puja at home, we say Asmin Bimbe/Linge sumukham Samba Parameswaram Dhyami,avahayami and not Parameswaram dhyami avahayami..(Samba means Sa+amba Or with Amba).

While for all the other Gods its typically as given below:

Mahaganapatim Dhyami, Mahavishnum dhyami, Gowrim Dhyami, Adityam Dhyami(for Surya puja).

What are the reasons for this distinction?

  • 4
    In Shaiva Perspective, Sada Shiva (Brahman) has two intrinsic components. Siva and Sivaa. Sivaa is this Prakriti or Maya. Siva is Lord of Maya or Sivaa. by worshiping Shiva Lingam, we are worshiping Siva, Shakti, Vishnu and Brahma and thereby all Devas or cosmos, The reason could be because we need to worship Brahman (Sada Shiva). How can we divide Shiva from Sivaa?
    – The Destroyer
    Commented Feb 9, 2016 at 7:46
  • 2
    Shiva represents the Nirguna Brahman. Shakti represents the Saguna Brahman. You cannot worship the Nirguna, you can only worship the Saguna (Iswara). Commented Feb 9, 2016 at 11:13
  • Both the answers are good, one thing "Shakti rahit Shiv shav hain", without Shakti, Shiva is but a corpse. So, we need to understand that they manifest this whole universe through their cosmic dance.
    – ABcDexter
    Commented Jan 24, 2017 at 9:18
  • In "kayena vacha.." Srimannarayanayethi is used. Many don't use but All Vaishnavas worship Mahavishnu along with Sri. Before pleasing narayana, sri must be pleased. So, this distinction is not limited to Shiva. Commented Jan 24, 2017 at 10:44
  • @SreeCharan Sriman is a name of Lord Vishnu alrite but i have never seen anywhere the mantra Sriman narayana Avahayami being used as his avahana mantra..its mahvishnum avahyami only,,sometimes consorts are also invoked in this manner .. Asmin Salagrama Chakre Sri Bhumi Nila Sameta Sri Mahavishnum Dhyami,Avahayami ..but this style of invocation is not unique to Vishnu because even in Surya's invocation we use a similar mantra..Chaya Sanjna Sameta Sri Surya Narayanam Dhyami Avahayami..So Shiva's case is indeed unique..
    – Rickross
    Commented Jan 24, 2017 at 16:34

2 Answers 2


Well, there may be different beliefs and conditions while worshipping the God.

Read the following relation between Shakti and Shiva from Shaktism:

Shaktism's focus on the Divine Feminine does not imply a rejection of Masculine or Neuter divinity. However, both are deemed to be inactive in the absence of Shakti. As set out in the first line of Adi Shankara's renowned Shakta hymn, Saundaryalahari (c. 800 CE): "If Shiva is united with Shakti, he is able to create. If he is not, he is incapable even of stirring." This is the fundamental tenet of Shaktism, as emphasized in the widely known image of the goddess Kali striding atop the seemingly lifeless body of Shiva.

Broadly speaking, Shakti is considered to be the cosmos itself – she is the embodiment of energy and dynamism, and the motivating force behind all action and existence in the material universe. Shiva is her transcendent masculine aspect, providing the divine ground of all being. "There is no Shiva without Shakti, or Shakti without Shiva. The two [...] in themselves are One""

So, Considering all creation of Shiva and Shakti as union, may be the reason for worshipping them together.


The following verse found in the VAmakeswara Tantra explains in short why Shiva is not worshiped alone.

shaktyA vinA shive sUkShme nAma dhAma na vidyate | jnAtenApi mahAdevi sharma karma na kinchana ||

parabrahma is without any attributes and upAsanA of such an entity, involving nAma kIrtana etc. is not possible. Hence, it is shakti vishiShTa brahma who is the upAsya, represented by mahAkAmeshvara mithuna in tripurA tantra. kAmeshvara, who represents the bindu of shrIchakra, due to abhAva or lack of saguNatva, cannot be "worshiped" alone and has to be worshiped along with kameshvarI seated on his lap. Hence, it is also said to be mandatory to worship the Ayudhas of both kAmeshvarI and kAmeshvara outside mahAtryashra.

That's also why Sadashiva is shown as being lying down in the following Sri Lalita Mahatripurasundari image.

Because Shiva denotes the supreme inactive consciousness.He is inactive without Shakti's presence.

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