Is he a God? Is he a concept? Is he truth? Is he beauty? Is he consciousness? Is he a representation of the phallus? Is he a destroyer? Is he the lord of dance? Is he the only primordial God? Is he the holy trinity? Or is he the God of the Dalits?
Shiva is all of the above and more. The Nirvana Shatakam by Adi Shankaracharya symbolises Shiva perfectly. I am citing two verses, the opening and the closing, of the six-verse Nirvana Shatakam composed by the iconic Adi Shankaracharya in the 8th century. The shlokas read: