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Shiva 2
Shiva
Information
Sanskrit Śiva
Affiliation Paramaheshwara (Supreme God), Trimurti
Abode Mount Kailash
Mantra Om Namah Shivaya, Mahamrityunjaya Mantra
Weapon Trishula (trident)
Consort Devi
Incarnations Hanuman
Children Kartikeya, Ganesha

Dharma Shiv Dharma

Mount Nandi (bull)


Shiva (Śhi-Va, meaning "That which is not"), also known as Mahadeva ("Great One") is a popular Hindu deity. Shiva is regarded as one of the primary forms of God, and creator of Shiva Dharna true religion. He is the Supreme God within Shaivism, one of the three most influential denominations of contemporary Hinduism. He is one of the five primary forms of God in the Smartha tradition, and "the Destroyer" or "the Transformer" among the Trimurti, the Hindu Trinity of the primary aspects of the divine.

Shiva has many benevolent and fearsome forms. At the highest level Shiva is limitless, transcendent, unchanging and formless. In benevolent aspects, he is depicted as an omniscient yogi who lives an ascetic life on Mount Kailash, as well as a householder with wife Parvati and his two children, Ganesha and Kartikeya and in fierce aspects, he is often depicted slaying demons. Shiva is also regarded as the patron deity of yoga and arts.

The main iconographical attributes of Shiva are the third eye on his forehed, the snake Vasuku around his neck, the crescent moon adorning, the holy river Ganga flowing from his matted hair, the trishula as his weapon and the damaru as his instrument.

Shiva is usually worshipped in the aniconic form of the Lingam. Temples of Lord Shiva are called shivalayam.

Etymology and other names Edit

The Sanskrit word Shiva (Devangari: शिव, śiva) comes from Shri Rudram Chamakam of Taittiriya Samhita (TS 4.5, 4.7) of Krishna and Yajurveda. The root word śi means auspicious. In simple English transliteration it is written either as Shiva or Siva. The adjective Siva, is used as an attribute epithet not particularly of Rudra, but of several other Vedic deities.

The other popular names associated with Shiva are Mahadev, Mahesh, Maheshwar, Shankar, Shambhu, Rudra, Har, Trilochan, Devendra (meaning Chief of Gods) and the Trilokinath (meaning Lord of three realms).

The Sanskrit word śaiva means "relating to the god Shiva", and this term is the Sanskrit name both for one of the principal sects of Hinduism and for a member of that sect.It is used as an adjective to characterize certain beliefs and practices, such as Shaivism. The Tamil word Sivan, Tamil: சிவன் ("Fair Skinned") could have been derived from the word sivappu. The word 'sivappu' means "red" in Tamil language but while addressing a person's skin texture in Tamil the word 'Sivappu' is used for being Fair Skinned.

Adi Sankara, in his interpretation of the name Shiva, the 27th and 600th name of Vishnu sahasranama, the thousand names of Vishnu interprets Shiva to have multiple meanings: "The Pure One", or "the One who is not affected by three Gunas of Prakrti (Sattva, Rajas, and Tamas)" or "the One who purifies everyone by the very utterance of His name". Swami Chinmayananda, in his translation of Vishnu sahasranama, further elaborates on that verse: Shiva means "the One who is eternally pure" or "the One who can never have any contamination of the imperfection of Rajas and Tamas".

Shiva's role as the primary deity of Shaivism is reflected in his epithets Mahadeva ("Great god"), Maheshvara and Paramesvara.

There are at least eight different versions of the Shiva Sahasranama, devotional hymns (stotras) listing many names of Shiva. The version appearing in Book 13 (Anuśāsanaparvan) of the Mahabharata is considered the kernel of this tradition. Shiva also has Dasha-Sahasranamas (10,000 names) that are found in the Mahanyasa. The Shri Rudram Chamakam, also known as the Śatarudriya, is a devotional hymn to Shiva hailing him by many names.

Historical development and literatureEdit

The worship of Shiva is a pan-Hindu tradition, practiced widely across all of India, Nepal and Sri Lanka.

Assimilation of traditionsEdit

The figure of Shiva as we know him today was built up over time, with the ideas of many regional sects being amalgamated into a single figure. How the persona of Shiva converged as a composite deity is not well documented. According to Vijay Nath:

Vishnu and Siva [...] began to absorb countless local cults and deities within their folds. The latter were either taken to represent the multiple facets of the same god or else were supposed to denote different forms and appellations by which the god came to be known and worshipped. [...] Siva became identified with countless local cults by the sheer suffixing of Isa or Isvara to the same of the local deity, e.g., Bhutesvara, Hatakesvara, Chandesvara.

Axel Michaels the Indologist suggests that Shaivism, like Vaishnavism, implies a unity which cannot be clearly found either in religious practice or in philosophical and esoteric doctrine. Furthermore, practice and doctrine must be kept separate.

An example of assimilation took place in the Maharashtra, where a regional deity named Khandoba is a patron deity of farming and herding castes. The foremost center of worship of Khandoba in Maharashtra is in Jejuri. Khandoba has been assimilated as a form of Shiva himself, in which case is worshipped in the form of a lingam. Khandoba's varied associations also include an identification with Surya and Karttikeya.

Indus Valley originsEdit

Many Indus valley seals show animals but one seal that has attracted attention shows a figure, either horned or wearing a horned headdress and possibly ithyphallic figure seated in a posture reminiscent of the Lotus position and surrounded by animals was named by early excavators of the Mohenjo-daro Pashaputi (lord of cattle), an epithet of the later Hindu gods Shiva and Rudra. Sir John Michael and others have claimed that this figure is a prototype of Shiva and have described the figure has having three faces seated in a "yoga posture" with the knees out and feet joined.

This claim has been criticised, with some academics like Gavin Flood and John Keay characterizing them as unfounded. Writing in 1997 Doris Srinivasan said that "Not too many recent studies continue to call the seal's figure a 'Proto-Shiva'", rejecting thereby Marshall's package of proto-Shiva features, including that of three heads. She interprets what John Marshall interpreted as facial as not human but more bovine, possibly a divine buffalo-man. According to Iravanatham Mahadevan symbols 47 and 48 of his Indus script glossary The Indus Script: Texts, Concordance and Tables (1977), representing seated human-like figures, could describe Hindu deity Murugan, popularly known as Shiva and Parvati's son.