Shiva is also depicted as Nataraj
, the Lord of Dancers.
Shiva has many dances but all are pretty much the same, a manifestation of primal rhythmic energy.
The dance of Shiva represents his five activities: Shrishti (creation, evolution); Sthiti (preservation, support); Samhara (destruction, evolution); Tirobhava (illusion); and Anugraha (release, emancipation, grace).
There's various symbols on the Nataraj.
On Shiva's face there's a third eye, often shown as lines.
Dance (one leg over the other) represents the symbolic of the movement of the universe. Dance is an important aspect in Indian life. The Dance of life is the dance of life to death to life again.
The two-sided drum held by the first right hand is a symbol of creation. It beats the pulse of the universe. The drum also provides the music that accompanies Shiva's dance. The drum represents sound as the first element in an unfolding universe. Sound is a vehicle of speech, conveyer of revelation and Truth. Hourglass drum also can represent male and female, two triangles as they penetrate each other to form a hexagon. When parted, the universe dissolves.
Fire held in the first left hand represents destruction which leads to creation, over and over again. Fire also cleanses the impurity of the soul. Both upper arms show balance of creation and destruction.
Flame halo (circle of fire) represents Samsara (reincarnation), the endless cycle of birth and death. Life comes as a result of heat (passion). Life ends in the fires of destruction. And then life comes over and over again.
Mudra (hand gesture) on the lower right hand means "Do not be afraid."
Mudra on the lower left hand means "There is a way out." This gesture promises salvation or release from the world of forms and rebirth. This hand points to the way out.
Upraised left foot symbolizes release from rebirth and the promise of Moksha (aka nirvana and peace).
The Dwarf being crushed by the right foot symbolizes not evil but rather ignorance of moksha which Nataraj is overcoming. Dwarf can also symbolize forgetfulness, heedlessness, blindness. Two feet together symbolize interplay of insight and forgetfulness.
Shiva's matted hair is flowing
out as he dances and the part tied in the knot of the ascetic reminds viewer he leads a life of self-discipline and self-denial, for spiritual improvement.
There's also the image of Ganges River in Shiva's hair, this represents how Shiva can control nature.
The expression on Shiva's face is calm, aloof, unaffected by the display of his own energy, the flow and change of time.
Snake ornaments also symbolize his control over the powers of nature. They may also symbolize egotism which one must
overcome in order to realize moksha. Snakes also symbolize the cycle of life and death. The raised foot is out of the plane of the
rest of the image as the raised foot takes the viewer out of the world of forms into the formless reality of moksha.
Often Shiva's image rests on a lotus, the Indian symbol of the creative force of the universe.
The crescent moon in crown of his matted hair can also represent the highest principle of consciousness or illumination.
Two different earrings Shiva wears symbolizes that he embodies both masculine and feminine aspects of existence. One worn
by men is a combination of a fish and a crocodile, the other worn by women is a simple spiral.
The third eye on his forehead symbolizes his all-seeing ability, symbolic of insight or enlightenment.
Skull of Death as a crown symbolizes how Shiva conquers death.
Blue skin represents his Enlightened state and Holiness/Wholeness.
The main connections between Shiva in FF and this Shiva are appearance, positions, motions, name and water.
In most games FF Shiva is a combination of the following like the real Shiva: blue/grey skin, legs crossed, various hand movements and positions, a calm face, thick hair, earrings, a third eye or bindi and a halo of ice in her hands.
Creative freedom allows the art director and artists to make Shiva look unique in each game.
One of the main reasons Shiva is female was the dominance of males amongst the summons.
However, in FFXII Renevant Wings, Shiva appears as both male and female.
I think in FFX, she's closest to the actual Shiva.
Macalania Temple is a structure perched on a huge body water in an ice cave, it reminds you of the story about Shiva drinking poison from a huge body of water because Sin was actually at the bottom lake of Macalania Temple's cave at one point, too.
The woman who became the Fayth for Shiva also speaks of the world as a sea which everything swims in.
Her hand movements, matted hair and face expressions are similar to the Hindu depictions.
The beginning of the long summon animation of her overdrive even seems like a dance. She's also always calm.