Hindu Trinity Member – Shiva
Shiva is a member of Hindu Trinity (Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva). Brahma is the Goddess of knowledge. Vishnu is the Goddess of love, beauty, and delight. Shiva is the Goddess of destruction, and transformation.
Shiva also well known as Hara, Rudra, Pheirava, Mohesvara, Esvara and others name that populated in Cambodia was Preah Eso. Shiva’s home was on Kailas mountain. In Khmer appearance, Shiva always show as a pleasant man who has three eyes, two arms and sometimes four arms. His third eye is situated at the middle of his forehead and always close. In Khmer ancient called that third eyes of Shiva as Aki Netra (fire eye). And they believed that if Shiva open his third eyes, the whole world would be destroyed by fire.
Shiva’s main cosmological role is as the Destroyer. But this could lead to a confuse at first sight. We should say it in the full that he is destroying the false, mainly the mis-perception in human’s beliefs or culture. Once his third eye opens, all the false conceptions of self will be destroyed.
Shiva has many wives well known as Uma (Pavati), Kali, and Tuka. He has two sons, Ganesha who known as god of knowledge. This divinity was so popular in Khmer art. We also known him as a person who head was an elephant’s head. The other one is Skonta, well known as god of war. This divinity rare to show in Khmer art.
Shiva-Linga is another form of Shiva which was worshiped by the ancient Khmer people. Khmer craftsman always show Shiva linga at the sacred place to celebrated the praying ceremony to Shiva for peace and powerful. Hindu believed that Shiva linga was created from one legend story call “History of fire Pillar” that talked about the argument between Vishnu and Brahma to find out who was the world’s creator. Most Lingas were made of stone. We can find lingas in almost Angkorian temples of Cambodia. The famous 1000 lingas was carved in the river bed on Kulen mountain, as a worship place of Angkorian Kings.
Many temples in Siem Reap, Cambodia also built to dedicated to Shiva such as Preah Ko temple, Bakong temple, West Mebon… Sambo Preykuk group temples located in Kampong Thom province, was also built in the purpose of dedicating to Shiva.
Shiva’s vehicle is a bull named Nandi. He is also a gate keeper. Shiva temples would also display images of seated Nandi.