The interdependence of Shiva on his power Shakti as embodied in Parvati is also manifested in this form. It is likewise reflected in iconography: In some North Indian images,  the male half may be nude and also be ithyphallic urdhavlinga or urdhavreta: In some narratives, Shiva is described as dark and fair-complexioned, half yellow and half white, half woman and half man, and both woman and man. To pacify Gauri, Shiva united with her as Ardhanarishvara.
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Ardhanarishvara signifies “totality that lies beyond duality”, “bi-unity i,ages male and female in God” and “the bisexuality and therefore the non-duality” of the Supreme Being. Ardhanarishvara remains a popular iconographic form found in most Shiva temples throughout India, though very few temples are dedicated to this deity.
The union of Purusha Shiva imagees Prikriti Shiva’s energy, Shakti generates the universe, an idea ardnnarishwar manifested in the union of the Linga of Shiva and Yoni of Devi creating the cosmos. The Shiva Purana describes that the creator god Brahma created all male beings, the Prajapatisand told them to regenerate, which they were unable to do. The mythology of Ardhanarishvara — which mainly originates in the Puranic canons — was developed later to explain existent images of the deity that had emerged in the Kushan era.
Together with the remaining arms, Ardhanarishvara plays a veena.
Ardhanarishvara – Wikipedia
In the four-armed form, a right hand holds a parashu axe and another makes an abhaya mudra gesture of reassuranceor one of the right arms is slightly bent and rests on the head of Shiva’s bull mount, Nandiwhile the other is held in the abhaya mudra gesture. He alludes to Ardhanarishvara several times and regards it the ultimate goal of a devotee to be united with Shiva as Parvati is in the Ardhanarishvara form. In the case of two-armed icons, the left hand rests on Nandi’s head, hangs loose or holds either a flower, a mirror or a parrot.
A terracotta seal discovered in Vaishali has half-man, half-woman features. The Naradiya Purana mentions that Ardhanarishvara is half-black and half-yellow, nude on one side and clothed on other, ardhnariswar skulls and a garland of lotuses on the male half and female half respectively.
She has a fuller thigh and a curvier body and hip than the male part of the icon. The right leg may be somewhat bent or straight and often rests on a lotus pedestal padma-pitha. In the three-armed representation, the left hand holds a flower, a mirror or a parrot.
While the 8th-century Nayanar saint Sundarar says that Shiva is always inseparable from the Mother Goddess,  another 7th-century Nayanar saint Sambanthar describes how the ” eternal feminine ” is not only his consort, but she is also part of him. A combined form of Shiva and Parvati.
The male half wears a jata-mukuta a headdress formed of piled, matted hair on his head, adorned with a crescent moon. The concept of Ardhanarishvara originated in Kushan and Greek cultures simultaneously; the iconography evolved in the Kushan era 30— CEbut was perfected in the Gupta era CE. The whole right half is described as smeared with ashes and as terrible and red-coloured or gold or coral in appearance; however, these features are rarely depicted.
In the four-armed form, one of the left arms rests on Nandi’s head, while the other is bent in kataka pose and holds a nilotpala blue lotus or hangs loosely at her side.
In the repetitive cycle of aeonsArdhanarishvara is ordained to reappear at the beginning of every creation as in the past.
In the two-armed form, the right hand holds a kapala skull cup or gestures in a varada mudra. The left ear wears a ardhnarishwag a type of earring. In some versions, the goddess unites with Shiva again and promises to be born as Sati on earth to be Shiva’s wife. Retrieved 26 January It declares Rudra — the antecedent of the Puranic Shiva — the maker of all and the root of Purusha the male principle and Prakriti the female principleadhering to Samkhya philosophy.
20 Best Ardhnarishwar images | Indian gods, Shiva art, Shiva shakti
His jatamukuta is adorned by the crescent moon as well as a skull. The left leg may be somewhat bent or straight, resting on a lotus pedestal.
The male half of the four-armed Ardhanarishvara at Badami wears snake ornaments and a knee-length deerskin dress and holds a parashu. Confronted with the resulting decline in the pace of creation, Brahma was perplexed and contemplated on Shiva for help. In some North Indian images,  imaages male half may be nude and also be ithyphallic urdhavlinga or urdhavreta: Ardhanarishvara is interpreted as an attempt to syncretise the two principal Hindu sects, Shaivism and Ardhnwrishwardedicated to Shiva and the Great Goddess.
In Book XIII, Upamanyu praises Shiva rhetorically asking if there is anyone else whose half-body is shared by his spouse, and adds that the universe had risen from the union of sexes, as represented by Shiva’s half-female form. This is also reflected in mythology, where Parvati becomes a part of Shiva.
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