|[aras-image:7Am.028,,10,,,Figure 3 Devotional image of the god Shiva in his androgynous form in which he is combined with his shakti or female nature.]|
Shiva is the perfect yogi in the austerity of his absorption and meditation. One story has it that nothing could move Shiva until Brahma, out of envy, manifested Shiva's inner feminine nature as Shakti, and seeing her, Shiva withdrew from his meditation and began his dance. The images of Ardhanarisvara (half-male, half-female) portray this inner union of Shiva and Shakti - the union of substance and energy. "Shiva is the devisor of the world. In order to accomplish his plan, he requires an executive, a material force or 'energy'. Energy (Shakti) is thus his first manifestation, or complement, the issue of himself...Without the energy represented by the goddess, Shiva is like a corpse (shava), incapable of acting, of revealing himself, of accomplishing his ideation of the world."
Shakti is the creative energy of Shiva and Kali is the destructive energy, for disintegration and destruction are essential to the dynamic movement of the world which Shiva creates by his dancing.