(Sanskrit अर्धनारीश्वर) A symbolic form of Shiva and Parvati combined that represents the androgynous nature of divinity, the union of masculine and feminine in one, identical to the Hebrew word Elohim ("god and goddess").
"Brahma was unable to create and bring forth creatures from his mental creation. To know the method of creation he did Tapas [spiritual austerities]. As a result of his Tapas, Adyasakti [the Divine Mother] arose in Brahma’s mind. Through the help of Adyasakti, Brahma meditated upon Tryambakesvara [a temple for Shiva]. Pleased by the penance of Brahma, Lord Siva appeared in the form of Ardhanarisvara (half male and half female). Brahma praised Ardhanarisvara. Lord Siva then created from His body a Goddess by name Prama-Sakti. Brahma said to the Goddess: “I was not able to bring forth creatures by my mental creation. Though I created the Devatas yet they could not multiply. Therefore, I wish to bring forth creatures by intercourse. Before Your appearance or till now, I was not able to create the endless female species. Therefore, O Devi, be merciful and take birth as the daughter of my son, Daksha.” - Swami Sivananda
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