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Symbolism In Ekapada Murti Form Of Shiva

The Ekapada Murti is a unique and symbolic representation of Mahadeva Shiva in Hindu iconography, embodying the Vedic concept of Ajaikapat. Symbolically this form underscores the idea that the entire manifested universe is just a quarter (pada = quarter) of the Supreme Being. This concept is not exclusive to Bhagavan Shiva, as it is also applied to Bhagvan Vishnu.

The term 'Ajaikapat' itself is an epithet of Shiva found in the Rig Veda, one of the oldest sacred texts of Hinduism (Rig Veda 6.50.14; 10.64.4). It signifies Shiva as the timeless and singular force from which the entire cosmos emanates.

In the Ekapada Murti representation, Shiva is depicted with a single leg, serving as a visual metaphor for the Supreme Godhead being the sole support of the entire universe. The iconography further describes him as luminous, radiating the brilliance of a million suns. His three eyes symbolize omniscience, seeing the past, present, and future, while his four arms carry specific attributes.

Two of Shiva's hands hold the tanka (chisel) and Mriga (antelope), each carrying its own symbolism. The chisel represents the shaping or creation of the universe, and the antelope symbolizes alertness and control over desires. The other two hands exhibit mudras—specific hand gestures. One hand is in the abhaya mudra, signaling fearlessness and protection, while the other is in the varada mudra, signifying the granting of blessings.

In essence, the Ekapada Murti form encapsulates profound philosophical concepts within its visual representation. It invites contemplation on the singular, all-encompassing nature of the Supreme Being, emphasizing the divine support that sustains the vast and intricate tapestry of the cosmos.