Hinduism – not only in philosophy and literature but also in art – has the capacity for immense conceptions, profound and subtle apprehensions, that can entice the imagination and stun the mind with their depth, range and boldness.
The many masks of the many gods, their various appearances and incarnations, have been employed to suggest the infinitely possible variations of one supreme essence. In seeking to give expression to that almost inexpressible idea of a unity which admits also of polarities, a “union beyond the opposites,”
Hinduism created such arresting icons as the divine two-in-one embrace of Shiva and Shakti; or Shiva alone, half male, half female, or the two-sided figure of Hari-Hara, an expression of the seemingly “opposite” creative-destructive forces of Vishnu and Shiva embodied in one being.
Nancy Wilson Ross on Hinduism