The Meaning of Shankara or Samkara
Lord Siva is popularly known as Shankara or Samkara.
Samkara (sama+kara) means balanced, equally made or perfectly made.
He is equally made of all the polarities in the world. He is both
Purusha and Prakriti, known and unknown, with form and without form,
manifested and unmanifested, day and night, gross and subtle,
subject and object, Shiva (God) and Jjva (the living being), and
immanent and transcendental. Thus, in Shiva we find everything
balanced and in a state of equilibrium. Samkara also means doer of good
deeds or who is the same or stable in all deeds. Since he is
completely detached and without desires, his actions do not taint
him, whereby he remains the same while performing actions.
We can also make some additional
interpretations, which agree with the virtues that are popularly ascribed to him
as in the following case. Samkara is also pronounced as Shankara or
The word can be interpreted as a compound word, made up of two other words
namely "shanka" and "hara". Shanka means doubt and hara means
dispeller or destroyer.
Thus, Shankara is the dispeller or destroyer of doubt, delusion,
confusion and ignorance. As the world teacher and bearer of the
divine consciousness, which is represented upon earth by the River
Ganga, he imparts knowledge, wisdom, discernment and self-awareness.
As the lord of the worlds (Parameswara), and the inner Lord (Isvara)
he rules over our disbeliefs and hesitations and establishes
firm faith through his compelling nature. By removing all those
impurities, he also destroys our bondage to the cycle of births and
Shankara is also Sankata Hara, the destroyer of our problems,
difficulties and suffering. He is easily pleased with a simple display
of faith, devotion and sincerity. The Puranas suggest that he
forgives even the gravest of sinners if they worship him. Hence,
many Asuras took advantage of his compassion and sought boons from
him. Sincere the Lord
is easily pleased with pure devotion and responds immediately,
devotees worship him when they are in difficulties or going through