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Sadashiva - Comprehensive form of Shiva

Sadashiva is the most comprehensive form of Shiva ever imagined by the human mind. In this form Shiva has five faces. Four faces are in four directions. The fifth face is shown facing the sky and in some image it faces the southeast direction. The five faces are known as Ishana, Tatpurusha, Aghora, Vamadeva and Sadyojatha.

Ishana faces south east or faces sky or zenith. It is the highest aspect and represents Shiva as Ishwara. Symbolically, it represents Shiva ruling over the sky. Spiritually, this aspect of Shiva grants liberation or Moksha.

Tatpurusha faces the east. This form of Shiva controls the air. On the spiritual sphere this aspect of Shiva helps in removing ego, darkness and obscurity.

Aghora faces the south and represents the destructive and regenerative aspect of Shiva which first absorbs all life and then renovates the universe by creating things afresh.

Vamadeva faces north. Shiva is healer and represents water. In this form he is the preserver.

Sadyojata faces west and represents the creative power of Shiva.

Some schools of thought regard the five heads as symbolizing soul, material world, buddhi, Ahamkara and the mind.

Shiva was worshipped in the Sadashiva form from the 2nd century BC.

Sadashiva is worshipped mainly in the Panchamukha Shivling forms – Shivling with five-faces etched on it.

In some rare murtis, Sadashiva is imagined in the human form and then Shiva holds Parashu, Trishul, damaru etc.