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The difference between Shiva and Shankar is the usage of the terms in metaphysical and bodily levels. Shiva is the cosmic form of the Brahman but Shankar holds power in the living plane. It is Earth in this case. 11 Rudras are manifestations of Shiva whereas Shankar is one of the names of the foremost Rudra. To understand the mystery behind the names. There is a need to understand the philosophy on which difference and similarity are perceived.
In Hindu philosophy, everything is perceived to be the manifestation of the supreme “Brahman”. This is not to be confused with the caste Brahmin. Brahman is directly the consciousness lying in the universe/multiverse which is not a being (Nirguna). There is the multiplication of the same consciousness with the addition of the Gunas (three principal characteristics) from the Brahman. Due to Maya, there appears a difference between individuals and the Brahman. This multiplication intensifies so that everything appears different.
Atman or individual souls appears different which is not the reality. However, the appearance of the difference between Atman and Brahman is a law in which the Universe/Multiverse functions called Rta.
This Rta is challenged in the beings through excessive multiplication or the Gunas. So, there is a need for some processes to understand the Rta. This exact process is “Dharma” (not religion). This makes one realize he/she is equivalent to the supreme consciousness beyond the Gunas. Paradoxically, Rta is always maintained so once a being is always a being.
As per Gita
अविनाशि तुतद्विद्धि येन सर्वमिदं ततम्।Bhagavat Gita
विनाशमव्ययस्यास्य न कश्चित्कर्तुमर्हति ॥
Meaning: O Arjuna (Not given in this shloka, but said to Arjuna), you should know that which pervades
the entire body can’t be destroyed. No one is able to destroy the everlasting ‘atman.
There are conscious beings who know that they are equivalent to Brahman but as per the Rta, they have to accept the Gunas too. Shiva is the synonym of Brahman for Shaivites. Shaivites follow methods to become one with Shiva through the methods of “Tamasic” Guna. For example rituals of Shaivaites are completely different from that of Vaishnavaites. The former depends on the methods of impurities and the latter on the purities. However, both the purity and impurity are just the multiplication of the same Brahman through Maya.
There might be a question on why Shakti being the Maya is considered as Brahman. The notion of being male-only can realize a Brahman is completely wrong. In the feminine traditions related to emotions, Shakti is the synonym of the word Brahman, not the Maya.
11 Rudras are the beings who have realized Brahman through Shaivic (Tamasic) methods.
The 11 Rudras are as follows:
- 1) Kapali
- 2) Pingal
- 3) Bheem
- 4) Virupaksha
- 5) Vilohit
- 6) Shastra
- 7) Ajapaad
- 8) Ahirbudhnya
- 9) Shambhu
- 10) Chand
- 11) Bhav.
The foremost of the Rudras is directly known by the name of Rudra in the Vedas. The wife of foremost Rudra is Parvati. She realized the Brahman through emotions and power. So she is equivalent to Brahman. There are many famous stories about Rudra. Keep updated with Scientific Monk to know more. You can read our article on 19 Avatars of Shiva and 1000 names of Shiva.