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List of Avatars of Lord Shiva


rd Shiva AvatarsLord Shiva is considered as the supreme God in the Hinduism. For setting up an ideal work on the earth in front of his creatures, he had taken variety of the avatars and incarnations. Some of his avatars are related to protecting his devotees from the devils and proud Gods as well. However, five avatars of all his incarnations are hideously important as well as assumed to be the most valuable and effective for his devotees. The most important five incarnations are: Tatpurush, Namadeva, Aghoresh, Sadhojat and Ishan.1)TatpurushTatpurush is the most popular third incarnation of the Lord Shiva which was manifested in the 21stKalpa of the planet known as Peetavasa. It was appeared by the prayer of the Lord Brahma.2)Naamdeva:During the 20thKalpa known as the Rakta, Lord Brahma got his complexion changed to a red. Another entity was appeared from him of the red complexion, which was name by him as a Namadeva. It is considered as the Naamdeva was also the incarnation of Lord Shiva.3)AghoreshIn the Shiva Kalpa (after the Peetavasa Kalp), an entity of black color complexion was appeared by the Lord Brahma when he was in deep meditation state. Lord Brahma named that entity as Aghor Shiva and considered as another form of Lord Shiva.4)SadhojatDuring the 19thKalpa known as Shweta Lohit, there appeared an entity by the Lord Brahma while he was meditating, which was named by him as Sadhojat. It is considered that this form of the Lord Shiva was the first incarnation. Four disciples of the Sadhojat were appeared by his own body named Nandan, Vishwanandan, Sunand and Upanandan.5)ISHANIn the Vishwaroop Kalpa, Ishan form of the Lord Shiva and Saraswati were manifested. Four divine entities like Mundi, Shikhandi, Caste and Ardhamundi were manifested from the Ishan Shiva. Lord Brahma was blessed by all of them for the creation facility.Eight Idols of the Lord Shiva:There are eight idols of the Lord Shiva which includes Ugra, Sharva, Bhava, Rudra, Bheema, Pashupati, Ishan and Mahadeva. Ten fastidious incarnations of the God Shiva known as Dash Avatar and 10 incarnations of the Mata Sakti known as the Dash Mahavidya.Describing concerning to the 10 incarnations and their corresponding power (Shakti), the first incarnation of Lord Shiva was the Mahakal and Shakti was Mahakali.Second incarnation of both of them was Tar and Tara.Third incarnation of both of them was Bhuvaneshwar and Bhuvaneshwari.Fourth incarnation was Shodash and Shodashi or Shri.Fifth incarnation was Bhairav and Bhairavi. The sixth incarnation was Chhinamastak and Chhinamasta.Seventh incarnation was Dhoomvan and Dhoomvati. The eighth incarnation was Baglamukh and Baglamukhi.The ninth incarnation was Matang and Matangi. Tenth incarnation was Kamal and Kamala.11 Rudra AvatarsLord Shiva took birth on the earth as the eleven Rudras from the Kashyap wifes (Surabhi) womb. These forms of the eleven Rudras are associated with the battles with demons in the past in order to save the people and Gods. Following are the name of eleven Rudras:1) Kapali 2) Pingal 3) Bheem 4) Virupaksha 5) Vilohit 6) Shastra 7) Ajapaad 8) Ahirbudhnya 9) Shambhu 10) Chand and 11) Bhav.Incarnations of Lord ShivaApart from all the above incarnations of the Lord Shiva, he had taken some other incarnations which are described as below:1.Ardhnaarishwar Avatar:Ardhnaarishwar form of the Lord Shiva includes half body of Lord Shiva and other half of the Mata Parvati. This form is very calm and peaceful, provides blessings to the devotees.2.Nandi Avatar: Lord Shiva had taken lots of avatars on the earth according to the requirement for their devotees. Nandi avatar is one of all the avatars.3.Sharabh Avatar:This form of the Lord Shiva was the 6thavatar of him.4.Grihpati Avatar:Grihpati avatar of the Lord Shiva was the 7thavatar of him.5.Neel Kanth Avatar:Neel Kanth avatar is also a main form of him. Once there was arisen a lot of Vish from the churning of the ocean. Lord Shiva had drunk all the Vish to prevent his beautiful world from the bad effects of Vish. Mata Parvati had stopped the Vish to fall below the neck by putting her palm on his neck. So, this form of him is known as the Neel kanth avatar.6.Rishi Durvasha Avatar:It is considered as this avatar of the Lord is the main avatar. He has taken this avatar on the earth to maintain the discipline of the universe.7.Mahesh Avatar:Mahesh avatar is also a peaceful form of the Lord Shiva which blesses his devotees.8.Hanuman Avatar:hanuman avatar is considered as the supreme avatar of him. Lord Shiva has taken this avatar during the time Lord Rama to present a good example of the Lord and Bhakt in front of the people.9.Brishabh Avatar:Brishabh avatar is the very significant form of the God Shiva.10.Piplaad Avatar:Lord Shiva helps their devotees to get free from the Shani Dosha in this form. It is considered as the name of this avatar was given by the Lord Brahma.11.Vaishyanath Avatar:This is the main avatar of the Lord Shiva to his devotees.13.Yatinath Avatar:Yatinath avatar of the God Shiva represents a peaceful form of him to his devotees.14.Krishna Darshan Avatar:Lord Shiva, in this form had represented the significance of the yagya and important religious rituals in Hinduism.15.Awdhuteshwar Avatar:In this form Lord Shiva had crushed the ego of proud Indra.16.Bhichhuwarya Avatar:In this form, Lord Shiva protects his all creatures from any difficulty.17.Sureshwar Avatar:This form of Lord Shiva represents the love and care of him towards his devotees.18.Bramhchari Avatar:Lord Shiva had taken this avatar to test the Mata Parvati. When Sati rebirth on the earth to the Himalayas house as his daughter, Parvati and started worshipping the God Shiva to marry him.19.Sunatnartak Avatar:Lord Shiva had taken this form to ask the hand of Parvati from her father, Himalaya.20.Saddhu Avatar:Lord Shiva had taken Sadhu avatar many times according to the need of his devotees.21.Vibhuashwathama Avatar:Lord Shiva had taken this avatar in the Mahabharat as Ashwatthama (son Dronacharya).22.Kiraat Avatar:Lord Shiva, in this form had taken the test of Arjuna.23.Veerbhadra Avatar: This avatar was taken by the Lord Shiva after the sacrifice of the Sati into the Dakshas yagya. This form of the Lord Shiva was very terrible, face was full of angry, hair opened, indicated his love and care towards his wife.24.Bhairav Avatar: Lord Shiva has taken Bhairav avatar to protect the Sati pindas. After the death of Sati into the yagya of Daksha, Lord Shiva was wandering all over the world by taking the Sati body. Lord Vishnu had cut the body of Sati into many pieces (52) by his wheel. Those pieces were fallen on the earth. So to protect those Sati pindas from the devils, Lord Shiva had taken the Bhairav avatar.25.Allama Prabhu: This is one of the incarnations of the Lord Shiva. This form was involved with the Kalyanapuri revolution where Bijala Raja was slain.26.Khandoba: This is another incarnation of the Lord Shiva having horse as his vehicle and loaded with the sword, trident, bowl and trident.1. Avatars of Lord Shiva

Shiva is present everywhere! As Adi Shankaracharya said, "Forgive me Oh, Shiva! My three great sins! I came on a pilgrimage to Kashi forgetting that, you are omnipresent. In thinking about you, I forgot that You are beyond thought. In praying to you, I forgot that You are beyond words." To sustain law and balance of nature Lord Shiva took many avatars in various yugas. In Shiv Mahapuran, there is a mention of these avatars, heres a look2. Piplaad Avatar

As per the legends, Shiva was born as Piplaad to sage Dhatichi. The sage left his son even before he was born. Upset without his father Piplaad asked the devas why my father left me. They told him that the unfortunate circumstances were formed because of the planetary position of Shani. On learning this, Piplaad cursed Shani and Shani started falling down its celestial abode.3. Piplaad Avatar

Piplaad forgave Shani on the condition that it will not trouble anyone before 16 years of age. It is believed that praying to this form of Lord Shiva helps people to get rid of Shani Dosha. According to Shiv Puran, Lord Brahma had named this avatar of Lord Shiva.4. Nandi Avatar

Enter any Shiva temple in the country and you will first witness a statue of the quietly formidable Nandi, Lord Shiva's mount and the divine gatekeeper. Lord Shiva represents all beings on Earth. This avatar of Lord Shiva is an indication towards it. There are some temples which are exclusively built for Nandi. The famous Nandisvara temple in Karnataka is one such.5. Nandi Avatar

As a primary Hindu God, Nandi is traced in lineage back to ancient dairy farmers that depended on cows for their main livelihood. As their foremost source of sustenance, Nandi was worshiped as keeper of the herds. In this form he was said to be bull-faced with a body much like his hallowed Shiva, but with 4 hands. Two hands holding axe and antelope, and the other two joined in homage. In this human form he is known as Nandikeshwara.6. Veerbhadra Avatar

Sati was the youngest daughter of Daksha, the king of all men. When Sati grew up she married Shiva,much to the displeasure of her father. One day Daksha made arrangements for a great yagna, and invited all the gods omitting only Shiva. Sati's urge to go to her home due to the affection towards her parents overpowered the social etiquette for not going to an uninvited ceremony. Daksha insulted her and Shiva infront of others. Unable to bear further trauma she ran into the sacrificial fire.7. Veerbhadra Avatar

When Shiva came to know about this and with deep sorrow and anger, plucked a lock of hair and thrashed on the ground. Lord Veerabhadraand Rudrakali were born. Virabhadra's believed to be the destroyer of Ajnana, his tall body reached the high heavens, he was dark as the clouds, three burning eyes, and fiery hair; he wore a garland of skulls and carried terrible weapons. To provide him the power, arrived Bhadrakali, a wrathful incarnation on Devi.8. Veerbhadra Avatar

On the direction of Shiva, Virabhadra appeared in the midst of Daksha's assembly like a storm and broke the sacrificial vessels, polluted the offerings, insulted the priests and finally cut off Daksha's head, trampled on Indra, broke the staff of Yama, scattered the gods on every side; then he returned to Kailash.9. Bhairava Avatar

Bhairava, sometimes known as Kaala Bhairava, Kal Bhairab, Annadhaani Bhairava, Bhairon or Bhairadya, is the fierce manifestation of Lord Shiva associated with annihilation. The origin of Bhairava can be traced to the conversation between Lord Brahma and Lord Vishnu recounted in Shiv Maha-Puran where Lord Vishnu asks Lord Brahma who is the supreme creator of the Universe. Arrogantly, Brahma tells Vishnu to worship him because he (Brahma) is the supreme creator. This angered Shiva who then incarnated in the form of Bhairava to punish Brahma.10. Bhairava Avatar

Bhairava beheaded one of Brahma's five heads and since then Brahma has only four heads. When depicted as Kala Bhairava, Bhairava is shown carrying the severed head of Brahma. Cutting off Brahma's fifth head made him guilty of the crime of killing a Brahmin(Brahmahatyapap), and as a result, he had to carry around the disembodied skull for twelve years and roam as Bhikshatana, a mendicant, until he had been absolved of the sin.11. Bhairava Avatar

In the form of the frightful Bhairava, Shiva is said to be guarding each of these Shaktipeeths. Each Shaktipeeth temple is accompanied by a temple dedicated to Bhairava.12. Ashwatthama

According to Mahabharat, the son Dronacharya, Ashwatthama is an ansh Lord Shivas Kaal, krodh (anger) and Yam (death). During Samudra Manthan , Halahaal the fuming posion capable of burning universe appeared and all Dev Danav Manav Yaksha Gandharva fled. All of them along with Lord Vishnu and Lord Bramha came to Lord Shiva. Lord Shiva consumed Halahaal and held it in his throat. However unable to bear its consequences it started burning him.13. Ashwatthama

The Vish purush sprung out of him folded his palms, Lord Shiva asked him that although Lord Vishnu and me didnt let you kill the people yet in Dwapar Yuga but during Mahabharat war, with my blessings, you will be able to kill oppressive kshatriyas. You will be born as Bhardwajas grandson and be raised as Brahman but attracted towards Kshatriyahood. This Vish purush was born as Ashwatthama to Drona and Kripi.14. Sharabha avatar

Sharabha is a creature that is part lion and part bird. According to Sanskrit literature, Sharabha is an eight-legged beast, mightier than a lion and elephant and which can kill the lion. In later literature, Sharabha is described as an eight-legged deer. Shiv puran narrates that god Shiva assumed the Avatar of Sharabha to tame Narasimha - the fierce man-lion avatar of Vishnu worshipped by Vaishnava sect - into a normal pleasant form representing harmony. This form is popularly known as Sarabeshwara (Lord Sarabha) or Sharabeshwaramurti.15. Sharabha avatar

The iconography of Sharabeshwaramurti (Shiva as Sarabha) is specifically defined in texts such as Khamikagama and Sritattvanidhi. In Khamikagama, Sharabha is described in the form of a bird with golden colour, with two uplifted wings, two red eyes, four legs in the form of a lion touching the ground, four legs with claws upwards, and with an animal tail. The top part of the body is shown as human but with the face of a lion with an ornamented crown; side tusks are also depicted giving an overall frightening sight. It also shows the Narasimha beneath Sharabhas legs as a human with anjali (hands folded prayer).16. Sharabha avatar

In the Sritattvanidhi, the depiction prescribed for Sharabeshwaramurti is of thirty arms; arms on the right are to hold thunderbolt, mushti, abhaya, chakra (discus), sakti, staff, goad, sword, Khatvanga, axe, akshamala, a bone, bow, musala, and fire; and the left hands to display noose, varada, mace, arrow, flag, and another type of sword, a snake, a lotus flower, skull-cup, pustaka, plough, and mrudanga with one hand encircling Durga in a hug. This form is extolled to usher good luck, cure all diseases and destroy all enemies.17. Grihapati Avatar

Once upon a time, there used to live a brahmin named Vishwanar who was a great devotee of lord Shiva. Shuchismati was his devoted wife. Shuchismati expressed her desire of having a son just like lord Shiva. Vishwanar went to Kashi to please Lord Shiva by his penance. He worshipped Vishveshwar linga with supreme devotion. Lord Shiva became very pleased by his devotion and he appeared before Vishwanar from the Shivalinga. When Vishwanar expressed his desire, lord Shiva agreed to take birth as his Son.18. Grihapati Avatar

In due course of time, Shuchismati gave birth to a beautiful child. Lord Brahma named the child as Grihapati. When Grihapati attained the age of six, he was proficient in all the Vedas and other sacred texts. When Grihapati attained the age of nine, Narada came and informed Vishwanar that death of Grihapati was imminent because of the evil effects of the planetary combinations. Grihapati then consoled his parents and proceeded towards Kashi to do penance so that the 'death' could be conquered.19. Grihapati Avatar

Grihapati commenced his penance at Kashi. Indra arrived there and requested him to demand anything he wished but Grihapati refused. Indra became furious and tried to attack him with his Vajra. Grihapati was very terrified. Right then Lord Shiva appeared and Indra had to retreat from the scene. Lord Shiva blessed Grihapati by saying even Kaalvajra would not be able to kill you. Grihapati became very pleased. The Shivalinga which he worshipped, later on became famous as 'Agnishwar linga. Lord Shiva made Grihapati the lord of all the directions.20. Durvasa

Lord Shiva had taken this avatar on the earth to maintain the discipline of the universe. Durvasa was a great sage known for his short temper. Wherever he went, he was received with great reverence from humans and devas alike. Once Atri, the manasputra of lord Brahma, went to do penance at the bank of the river Nivindhya which flew by the foothills of Trayakshakul mountain as per the instructions of Lord Brahma himself. He commenced a tremendous penance.21. Durvasa

The effects of his penance were such that devastating flames of fire manifested from his head. The fire spread in all the three worlds in no time. The deities were terrified by the death and destruction caused by the fire. Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva went to Atri and blessed him. Later on Atri's wife- Anusuya gave birth to three sons, who in fact were the incarnations of Lord Brahma, Lord Vishnu and Lord Shiva. Lord Brahma incarnation as the Moon, Lord Vishnu as Dutt and Shiva took incarnation as Durvasa.22. Hanuman

Lord Shiva was so infatuated by the appearance of lord Vishnu in his form of Mohini during Amrit Manthan episode that his semen was released on the ground. This semen was established by the Saptarishis in the womb of Anjani, with the permission of lord Shiva himself. In this way was born the mighty Hanuman.23. Rishabh Avatar

After the churning of the ocean had been accomplished, numerous things had emerged out from the ocean. A tremendous battle was fought between the deities and the demons to have control over the vessel containing Nectar. To distract the attention of the demons from the nectar, lord Vishnu created numerous enchanting beauties. When the demons saw them, they forcibly carried these enchanting beauties to their abode Patal Lok. After that they again returned to take control of the Nectar.24. Rishabh Avatar

By that time, Vishnu had made the deities drink all the nectar. When the demons came to know about this, they became very furious and attacked the deities. Ultimately the demons got defeated. To save their lives the demon ran towards their abode. Lord Vishnu chased the demons and killed them. However, he got infatuated by those enchanting beauties. During his stay in the Patal Lok, many sons were born to Lord Vishnu, who were very wicked and cruel. These sons of lord Vishnu started tormenting the inhabitants of all the three worlds.25. Rishabh Avatar

All the deities and the sages went to lord Shiva to take his help. Lord Shiva went to the Patal Lok in the form of a Ox (Vrishabh). He killed all the sons of lord Vishnu with his sharp horns. Seeing the death of his sons, lord Vishnu came forward to fight him. He attacked lord Shiva, but lord Shiva couldnt be conquered. Ultimately lord Vishnu was able to recognise him and returned back to Vishnuloka.26. Yatinath Avatar

There used to live a bheel named Aahuk on the Arbudachal mountain. His wife was Aahuka and both of them were supreme devotee of lord Shiva. Once, lord Shiva wanting to test their devotion, appeared before them disguised a hermit Yatinath. Aahuk honoured his guest and treated him very well. Lord Shiva then requested him to give shelter for the whole night. Aahuk expressed his inability as he had a very small hut, in which only two people could be accommodate at a time.27. Yatinath Avatar

But his wife intervened and requested Aahuk to sleep outside the hut with his arms, as it would be inappropriate on their part to miss this chance of proving their hospitality. The hermit, who in reality was lord Shiva and Aahuk's wife slept inside the hut, while Aahuk himself slept outside. Unfortunately Aahuk was killed by a wild animal while he was asleep. In the morning when lord Shiva found that Aahuk had died, his heart was filled with grief.28. Yatinath Avatar

But Aahuka consoled him and decided to give up her life by jumping into the burning pyre. Right then lord Shiva appeared in his real form and blessed her by saying In his next birth your husband would take birth in a royal family. He would become Nala and you would be born as Damayanti. I would myself appear in the form of a swan and help both of you to unite. After saying this, lord Shiva established himself as immovable Shivalinga, which later on became famous as Achaleshwar linga.29. Krishna Darshan Avatar

Once there was a King Nabhag who, during his childhood, left his home for 'gurukula to get education. In his absence his brothers got the wealth of the kingdom distributed among themselves. When Nabhag returned home after the completion of his education, he demanded his share of wealth. His brothers told him that they had forgotten to fix his share as he was absent at the time of distribution. They advised him to go and meet their father.30. Krishna Darshan Avatar

Nabhag went to his father and made the same request. His father advised him to go to sage Angiras who was trying to accomplish a yagya, but was not being able to accomplish it because of his attachment. Nabhag did the same. He went to the place where sage Angiras was performing his yagya. He preached sage Angiras on the virtues of Religiousness. As a result the sage became free from all sorts of attachments and the yagya was successfully accomplished.31. Krishna Darshan Avatar

Sage Angiras was very pleased by Nabhag's knowledge of religion. He gave all the remaining wealth of the yagya to Nabhag. Just then lord Shiva arrived there in his incarnation of Krishna Darshan and tried to prevent sage Angiras from donating the wealth to Nabhag, instead he staked his own claim. Nabhag told lord Shiva that, since the wealth was given to him by sage Angiras himself, it naturally belonged to him.32. Krishna Darshan Avatar

Lord Shiva then sent Nabhag to his father Shradhadev to know about his opinion. Nabhag went to Shradha deva who revealed to him that the person who was staking his claims on the wealth was none other then lord Shiva. He also told him that whatever remained after the accomplishment of the yagya belongs to lord Shiva only. He went back to lord Shiva and worshipped him. Lord Shiva blessed him which helped Nabhag to attain salvation.33. Bhikshuvarya Avatar

There was a king named Satyarath who ruled over Vidarbha. Once he was attacked by a neighbouring king and got killed in that battle. His wife somehow managed to save her life by hiding in a forest. The queen was pregnant at that time. At the shore of a pond she gave birth to a child. She was feeling thirsty, so she went into the pond to quench her thirst. Unfortunately she was killed by a crocodile who used to live in that pond.34. Bhikshuvarya Avatar

The hungry child started crying- A beggar woman arrived there with her one year old child. Though her heart was filled with compassion seeing the hungry child cry but still she was hesitating to take him in her lap. Right then lord Shiva appeared as a beggar and advised her to bring up the orphan child.35. Sureshwar Avatar

Upamanyu the son of sage Vyaghrapaad, was brought up in his maternal uncle's home since his childhood. One day Upanyu he was crying for milk when his mother told him that if he wanted milk then he should worship lord Shiva as he only was capable of making the milk available. Upamanyu proceeded towards the Himalaya and started doing penance to please lord Shiva. His penance generated so much of heat that all the three worlds started burning.36. Sureshwar Avatar

To test his devotion, Lord Shiva and goddess Parvati appeared before him disguised as Indra and Indrani respectively. Both of them told Upamanyu to stop doing penance. They said We Indra and Indrani are extremely pleased by your devotion. Stop worshipping Shiva. We will fulfill all your desires. Lord Shiva and goddess Parvati did not stop at this. They even cursed Shiva. Upamanyu became very furious and got up to attack the abuser Indra.37. Sureshwar Avatar

Shiva and Parvati were satisfied by his total dedication and devotion. They revealed their real identity and blessed him. Shiva promised Upamanyu that he would be present in the vicinity of his hermitage along with Parvati forever. Upamanyu returned back to his home and narrated the whole story to his mother who was very pleased. Lord Shiva got the name 'Sureshwar' because he appeared in the guise of Indra.38. Keerat Avatar

Once, Arjuna was performing a tremendous penance to please lord Shiva. Duryodhan had sent a demon named Mooka to kill Arjuna. Mooka had disguised himself as a boar. Arjuna was engrossed in his meditation, when suddenly his concentration got disturbed by a loud noise. He opened his eyes and saw Mooka being chased by a Kirat. In fact it was none other than Shiva who had appeared in the guise of Kirat. Both Arjuna and Lord Shiva struck the boar with their respective arrows at the same time.39. Keerat Avatar

A disagreement broke between Arjuna and Kirat (Shivas avatar) over who killed the boar. Arjuna challenged Shiva for a dual. Shiva was very much impressed by his valour. He revealed his real identity. Arjuna was very ashamed that he fought with Shiva but Lord Shiva consoled him and gave his weapon Pashupat to Arjuna.40. Sunatnartak

Lord Shiva had taken this form to ask the hand of Parvati from her father, Himalaya.41. Brahmachari

After sacrificing herself in Dakshas yagya, when Sati took rebirth in Himalayas house and worshipped lord Shiva for years to make him her husband again. To take Parvatis test, Lord Shiva had taken this form.42. Yaksheshwar

After defeating the demons and driking Amrit the deities very arrogant. Lord Shiva was very concerned about their arrogant nature. He went to them in the guise of a Yaksha. He asked as to what was it that had made them so arrogant. The deities replied that their arrogance stemmed from victory over the demons. Lord Shiva who was disguised as Yaksha replied- Your pride is based on false notion, because you did not achieve victory due to somebody's grace and blessing.43. Yaksheshwar

Lord Shiva then asked them to cut the grass if they considered themselves so mighty. He then kept a grass leaf in front of them. Each of the deities tried to cut that grass with their respective weapons but remained unsuccessful in their attempts. Suddenly a heavenly voice was heard which said that the Yaksha was none other than Lord Shiva himself. The deities realized their mistakes and apologized to lord Shiva.44. Avdhut avatar

With this avatar, Lord Shiva had crushed the ego of Lord Indra.

ShivaFrom Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia"Neelkanth" redirects here. For the 2012 Indian film, seeNeelkanth (film).For other uses, seeShiva (disambiguation).shiva

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Shiva(/iv/;Sanskrit:iva, meaning "The Auspicious One"), also known asMahadeva("GreatGod"), is one of the maindeitiesofHinduism. He is thesupreme godwithinShaivism, one of the three most influential denominations in contemporaryHinduism.[2][3]He is one ofthe five primary forms of Godin theSmarta Tradition,[2]and "the Destroyer" or "the Transformer"[4]At the highest level, Shiva is regarded as limitless, transcendent, unchanging and formless.[5][6][7][8][9]Shiva also has many benevolent and fearsome forms.[10]In benevolent aspects, he is depicted as an omniscientYogiwho lives an ascetic life onMount Kailash,[4]as well as a householder with wifeParvatiand his two children,GaneshaandKartikeya, and in fierce aspects, he is often depicted slaying demons. Shiva is also regarded as the patron god ofyogaand arts.[11][12][13]The main iconographical attributes of Shiva are the third eye on his forehead, the snakeVasukiaround his neck, the adorning crescentmoon, the holy riverGangaflowing from his matted hair, thetrishulaas his weapon and thedamaruas his musical instrument. Shiva is usually worshiped in theaniconicform ofLingam.[14][15][16]The worship of Shiva is a pan-Hindu tradition, practiced widely across all of India,NepalandSri Lanka.[17][18]Contents[hide] 1Etymology and other names 2Historical development and literature 2.1Assimilation of traditions 2.2Indus Valley origins 2.3Vedic origins 2.3.1Rudra 2.3.2Agni 2.3.3Indra 2.4Later Vedic literature 2.5Puranic literature 2.6Tantric literature 3Position within Hinduism 3.1Shaivism 3.2Panchayatana puja 3.3Trimurti 4Iconography and properties 4.1Attributes 4.2Lingam 4.2.1Jyotirlinga 4.3Shakti 4.4The five mantras 5Forms and roles 5.1Destroyer and Benefactor 5.2Ascetic and Householder 5.3Nataraaja 5.4Dakshinamurthy 5.5Ardhanarishvara 5.6Tripurantaka 5.7Other forms, avatars, identifications 6Festivals & Kumbh Mela 7Beyond Hinduism 7.1Buddhism 7.2Sikhism 7.3Others 8References 9Sources 10External linksEtymology and other names[edit]Main article:Shiva SahasranamaThe Sanskrit word "Shiva" (Devanagari:,iva) comes from theShri Rudram Chamakamof theTaittiriya Shakha(TS 4.5, 4.7) of theKrishna Yajurveda. The root wordi[19]meansauspicious. In simple English transliteration it is written either asShivaorSiva. The adjectiveiva, is used as an attributive epithet for severalRigvedic deities, includingRudra.[20]Other popular names associated with Shiva are Mahadeva, Mahesha, Maheshvara, Shankara, Shambhu, Rudra, Hara, Trilochan, Devendra (meaning Chief of the gods) and Trilokinatha (meaningLord of the three realms).[21][22][23]The Sanskrit wordaivameans "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.[24]It is used as an adjective to characterize certain beliefs and practices, such as Shaivism.[25]Some authors associate the name with theTamil wordivappumeaning "red", noting that Shiva is linked to the Sun (ivan, "the Red one", in Tamil) and that Rudra is also calledBabhru(brown, or red) in the Rigveda.[26][27]Adi Shankara, in his interpretation of the nameShiva, the 27th and 600th name ofVishnu sahasranama, the thousand names of Vishnu interpretsShivato have multiple meanings: "The Pure One", or "the One who is not affected by threeGuasofPrakti(Sattva,Rajas, andTamas)" or "the One who purifies everyone by the very utterance of His name."[28]Chinmayananda Saraswati, in his translation of theVishnu sahasranama, further elaborates on that verse:Shivameans "the One who is eternally pure" or "the One who can never have any contamination of the imperfection of Rajas and Tamas".[29]Shiva's role as the primary deity of Shaivism is reflected in his epithetsMahdeva("Great god";mah"Great" anddeva"god"),[30][31]Mahevara("Great Lord";mah"great" andvara"lord"),[32][33]andParamevara("Supreme Lord").[34]There are at least eight different versions of theShiva Sahasranama, devotional hymns (stotras) listing many names of Shiva.[35]The version appearing in Book 13 (Anusanaparvan) of theMahabharatais considered the kernel of this tradition.[36]Shiva also has Dasha-Sahasranamas (10,000 names) that are found in the Mahanyasa. TheShri Rudram Chamakam, also known as theatarudriya, is a devotional hymn to Shiva hailing him by many names.[37][38]Historical development and literature[edit]

A sculpture of Shiva depicting him with a moustacheThe worship of Shiva is a pan-Hindu tradition, practiced widely across all of India,NepalandSri Lanka.[17][18]Assimilation of traditions[edit]See also:Roots of HinduismThe 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.[18]How the persona of Shiva converged as a composite deity is not well documented.[39]According to Vijay Nath:Visnu 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 ofIsaorIsvarato the name of the local deity, e.g., Bhutesvara, Hatakesvara, Chandesvara."[40]An example of assimilation took place inMaharashtra, where a regional deity namedKhandobais a patron deity of farming and herdingcastes.[41]The foremost center of worship of Khandoba in Maharashtra is inJejuri.[42]Khandoba has been assimilated as a form of Shiva himself,[43]in which case he is worshipped in the form of alingam.[41][44]Khandoba's varied associations also include an identification withSurya[41]andKarttikeya.[45]Indus Valley origins[edit]Main article:Pashupati seal

Seal discovered during excavation of theIndus Valleyarchaeological site in the Indus Valley has drawn attention as a possible representation of a "yogi" or "proto-Shiva" figureMany Indus valley seals show animals but one seal that has attracted attention shows a figure, either horned or wearing a horned headdress and possiblyithyphallic[46][47][48]figure seated in a posture reminiscent of theLotus positionand surrounded by animals was named by early excavators ofMohenjo-daroPashupati(lord of cattle), an epithet of the laterHindu godsShiva andRudra.[46][49][50][51]Sir John Marshalland others have claimed that this figure is a prototype of Shiva and have described the figure as having three faces seated in a "yoga posture" with the knees out and feet joined.Some academics likeGavin Flood[52][53]andJohn Keayhave expressed doubts about this claim. John Keay writes that "He may indeed be an early manifestation of Lord Shiva as Pashu- pati", but a couple of his specialties of this figure does not match withRudra.[54]Writing in 1997Doris Meth Srinivasanrejected Marshall's package of proto-Shiva features, including that of three heads. She interprets whatJohn Marshallinterpreted as facial as not human but more bovine, possibly a divine buffalo-man.[55]Writing in 2002, Gregory L. Possehl concluded that while it would be appropriate to recognize the figure as a deity, its association with the water buffalo, and its posture as one of ritual discipline, regarding it as a proto-Shiva would "go too far."[56]Vedic origins[edit]Shiva's rise to a major position in the pantheon was facilitated by his identification with a host of Vedic deities, includingPurusha,Rudra,Agni,Indra,Prajpati,Vyu, and others.[57]Rudra[edit]Main article:Rudra

Three-headed Shiva, Gandhara, 2nd century ADShiva as we know him today shares many features with the Vedic godRudra,[58]and both Shiva and Rudra are viewed as the same personality in Hindu scriptures. The two names are used synonymously. Rudra, the god of the roaringstorm, is usually portrayed in accordance with the element he represents as a fierce, destructive deity.The oldest surviving text of Hinduism is theRig Veda, which is dated to between 1700 and 1100 BC based onlinguisticandphilologicalevidence.[59]A god namedRudrais mentioned in the Rig Veda. The name Rudra is still used as a name for Shiva. In RV 2.33, he is described as the "Father of theRudras", a group of storm gods.[60]Furthermore, theRudram, one of the most sacred hymns of Hinduism found both in the Rig and the Yajur Vedas and addressed to Rudra, invokes him as Shiva in several instances, but the termShivais used as an epithet for the godsIndra,MitraandAgnimany times. SinceShivameanspure, the epithet is possibly used to describe a quality of these gods rather than to identify any of them with the God Shiva.The identification of Shiva with the older god Rudhra is not universally accepted, as Axel Michaels explains:Rudra is called "The Archer" (Sanskrit:arva),[61]and the arrow is an essential attribute of Rudra.[62]This name appears in the Shiva Sahasranama, and R. K. Sharma notes that it is used as a name of Shiva often in later languages.[63]The word is derived from the Sanskrit rootarv-, which means "to injure" or "to kill",[64]and Sharma uses that general sense in his interpretive translation of the namearvaas "One who can kill the forces of darkness".[63]The namesDhanvin("Bowman")[65]andBahasta("Archer", literally "Armed with arrows in his hands")[65][66]also refer to archery.Agni[edit]Rudra and Agni have a close relationship.[67][68]The identification between Agni and Rudra in the Vedic literature was an important factor in the process of Rudra's gradual development into the later character as Rudra-Shiva.[69]The identification of Agni with Rudra is explicitly noted in theNirukta, an important early text on etymology, which says, "Agni is also called Rudra."[70]The interconnections between the two deities are complex, and according to Stella Kramrisch:The fire myth ofRudra-ivaplays on the whole gamut of fire, valuing all its potentialities and phases, from conflagration to illumination.[71]In theatarudrya, some epithets of Rudra, such asSasipajara("Of golden red hue as of flame") andTivamati("Flaming bright"), suggest a fusing of the two deities.[72]Agni is said to be a bull,[73]and Lord Shiva possesses a bull as his vehicle,Nandi. The horns of Agni, who is sometimes characterized as a bull, are mentioned.[74][75]In medieval sculpture, both Agni and the form of Shiva known as Bhairava have flaming hair as a special feature.[76]Indra[edit]

Coin of the Indo-Sassanid (early 4th century)According toWendy Doniger, the Puranic Shiva is a continuation of the VedicIndra.[77]Doniger gives several reasons for her hypothesis. Both are associated with mountains, rivers, male fertility, fierceness, fearlessness, warfare, transgression of established mores, theAumsound, the Supreme Self. In the Rig Veda the termivais used to refer to Indra. (2.20.3,[78]6.45.17,[79][80]and 8.93.3.[81]) Indra, like Shiva, is likened to a bull.[82][83]In the Rig Veda, Rudra is the father of theMaruts, but he is never associated with their warlike exploits as is Indra.[84]The Vedic beliefs and practices of the pre-classical era were closely related to the hypothesisedProto-Indo-European religion,[85][86]and the Indo-Iranian religion.[87]According to Anthony, the Old Indic religion probably emerged among Indo-European immigrants in the contact zone between theZeravshan River(present-dayUzbekistan) and (present-day) Iran.[88]It was "a syncretic mixture of old Central Asian and new Indo-European elements",[88]which borrowed "distinctive religious beliefs and practices"[87]from theBactriaMargiana Culture.[87]At least 383 non-Indo-European words were borrowed from this culture, including the godIndraand the ritual drinkSoma.[89]According to Anthony,Many of the qualities of Indo-Iranian god of might/victory,Verethraghna, were transferred to the adopted god Indra, who became the central deity of the developing Old Indic culture. Indra was the subject of 250 hymns, a quarter of theRig Veda. He was associated more than any other deity withSoma, a stimulant drug (perhaps derived fromEphedra) probably borrowed from the BMAC religion. His rise to prominence was a peculiar trait of the Old Indic speakers.[90]Later Vedic literature[edit]Rudra's transformation from an ambiguously characterized deity to a supreme being began in theShvetashvatara Upanishad(400-200 BC), which founded the tradition of Rudra-Shiva worship. Here they are identified as the creators of the cosmos andliberators of soulsfrom the birth-rebirth cycle. The period of 200 BC to 100 AD also marks the beginning of theShaivatradition focused on the worship of Shiva, with references to Shaiva ascetics inPatanjali'sMahbhyaand in theMahabharata.[53][91]Early historical paintings at theBhimbetka rock shelters, depict Shiva dancing, Shiva's trident, and his mount Nandi but no other Vedic gods.[92][93]Puranic literature[edit]TheShiva Puranas, particularly theShiva Puranaand theLinga Purana, discuss the various forms of Shiva and the cosmology associated with him.[94]Tantric literature[edit]TheTantras, composed between the 8th and 11th centuries, regard themselves asSruti. Among these theShaiva Agamas, are said to have been revealed by Shiva himself and are foundational texts forShaiva Siddhanta.[95]Position within Hinduism[edit]

TheAnnamalaiyar Temple, Tiruvannamalai, Tamil Nadu is dedicated to ShivaShaivism[edit]Main articles:ShaivismandHistory of ShaivismShaivismis the oldest of the four major sects ofHinduism, the others beingVaishnavism,Shaktismand theSmarta Tradition.[citation needed]Followers of Shaivism, called "Shaivas", revere Shiva as the Supreme Being. Shaivas believe that Shiva is All and in all, the creator, preserver, destroyer, revealer and concealer of all that is. ThetantricShaiva tradition consists of theKapalikas,Kashmir ShaivismandShaiva Siddhanta. TheShiva Puranais one of thepuranas, a genre of Hindu religious texts, dedicated to Shiva. Shaivism is widespread throughout India, Nepal, and Sri Lanka, mostly. Areas notable for the practice of Shaivism include parts of Southeast Asia, especially Malaysia, Singapore, and Indonesia.IndologistAxel Michaelssuggests 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.[96]Panchayatana puja[edit]Main article:Panchayatana pujaPanchayatana pujais the system ofpuja(worship) in the Smarta Tradition. It is said to have been introduced byAdi Shankara, the 8th centuryHindu philosopher. It consists of the worship of five deities: Shiva,Vishnu,Devi,SuryaandGanesha. Depending on the tradition followed by Smarta households, one of these deities is kept in the center and the other four surround it. Worship is offered to all the deities. The five are represented by smallmurtis, or by five kinds of stones, or by five marks drawn on the floor.[97]Trimurti[edit]Main article:TrimurtiThe Trimurti is a concept inHinduismin which the cosmic functions of creation, maintenance, and destruction are personified by the forms ofBrahmthe creator,Vishnuthe maintainer or preserver and hiva the destroyer or transformer.[98][99]These three deities have been called "the Hindu triad"[100]or the "GreatTrinity",[101]often addressed as "Brahma-Vishnu-Maheshwara."Iconography and properties[edit]Attributes[edit]

Shiva withParvati. Shiva is depicted three-eyed, theGangesflowing through his matted hair, wearing ornaments of serpents and a skull garland, and covered in ashes, and seated on a tiger skin. Shiva's form:Shiva has a trident in the right lower arm, and a crescent moon on his head. He is said to be fair like camphor or like an ice clad mountain. He wears five serpents and a garland of skulls as ornaments. Shiva is usually depicted facing the south. His trident, like almost all other forms in Hinduism, can be understood as the symbolism of the unity of three worlds that a human faces - his inside world, his immediate world, and the broader overall world. At the base of the trident, all three forks unite. It is often not shown but Shiva has 6 heads, of which only five (Isana, Tatpurusha, Vamadeva, Aghora, Sadyojata) are visible while the 6th (Adhomukh) can only be seen by the enlightened. Third eye:(Trilochana) Shiva is often depicted with athird eye, with which he burned Desire (Kma) to ashes,[102]called "Tryambakam" (Sanskrit:), which occurs in many scriptural sources.[103]In classical Sanskrit, the wordambakadenotes "an eye", and in theMahabharata, Shiva is depicted as three-eyed, so this name is sometimes translated as "having three eyes".[104]However, in Vedic Sanskrit, the wordamborambikmeans "mother", and this early meaning of the word is the basis for the translation "three mothers".[105][106]These three mother-goddesses who are collectively called theAmbiks.[107]Other related translations have been based on the idea that the name actually refers to the oblations given to Rudra, which according to some traditions were shared with the goddessAmbik.[108]It has been mentioned that when Shiva loses his temper, his third eye opens which can reduce most things to ashes. Crescent moon:(The epithets "Chandrasekhara/Chandramouli")- Shiva bears on his head the crescent moon.[109]The epithetCandraekhara(Sanskrit:"Having the moon as his crest" -candra= "moon";ekhara= "crest, crown")[110][111][112]refers to this feature. The placement of the moon on his head as a standard iconographic feature dates to the period when Rudra rose to prominence and became the major deity Rudra-Shiva.[113]The origin of this linkage may be due to the identification of the moon withSoma, and there is a hymn in the Rig Veda where Soma and Rudra are jointly implored, and in later literature, Soma and Rudra came to be identified with one another, as were Soma and the moon.[114]The crescent moon is shown on the side of the Lord's head as an ornament. The waxing and waning phenomenon of the moon symbolizes the time cycle through which creation evolves from the beginning to the end. Ashes:(The epithet "Bhasmaanga Raaga") - Shiva smears his body with ashes (bhasma). The ashes are said to represent the end of all material existence.[115]Some forms of Shiva, such as Bhairava, are associated with a very old Indian tradition of cremation-ground asceticism that was practiced by some groups who were outside the fold of brahmanic orthodoxy.[116]These practices associated with cremation grounds are also mentioned in the Pali canon of Theravada Buddhism.[117]One epithet for Shiva is "inhabitant of the cremation ground" (Sanskrit:manavsin, also spelledShmashanavasin), referring to this connection.[118] Matted hair:(The epithet "Jataajoota Dhari/Kapardina") - Shiva's distinctive hair style is noted in the epithetsJain, "the one with matted hair",[119]and Kapardin, "endowed with matted hair"[120]or "wearing his hair wound in a braid in a shell-like (kaparda) fashion".[121]A kaparda is a cowrie shell, or a braid of hair in the form of a shell, or, more generally, hair that is shaggy or curly.[122]His hair is said to be like molten gold in color or being yellowish-white. Blue throat:The epithetNlakatha(Sanskrit;nla= "blue",katha= "throat").[123][124]Since Shiva drank theHalahalapoison churned up from the Samudra Manthan to eliminate its destructive capacity. Shocked by his act, Goddess Parvati strangled his neck and hence managed to stop it in his neck itself and prevent it from spreading all over the universe, supposed to be in Shiva's stomach. However the poison was so potent that it changed the color of his neck to blue.[125][126](SeeMaha Shivaratri.)Shiva bearing the descent of the Ganges River as Parvati and Bhagiratha and the bull Nandi look, folio from a Hindi manuscript by the Narayan, circa 1740 Sacred Ganges:(The epithet "Gangadhara") Bearer of Ganga.Gangesriver flows from the matted hair of Shiva.[127][128]TheGag(Ganges), one of the major rivers of the country, is said to have made her abode in Shiva's hair.[129]The flow of the Ganges also represents the nectar of immortality. Tiger skin:(The epithet "Krittivasana") He is often shown seated upon a tiger skin,[115]an honour reserved for the most accomplished of Hindu ascetics, the Brahmarishis.[130] Serpents:(The epithet "Nagendra Haara" or 'Vasuki"). Shiva is often shown garlanded with asnake.[131] Deer:His holding deer on one hand indicates that He has removed the Chanchalata of the mind (i.e., attained maturity and firmness in thought process). A deer jumps from one place to another swiftly, similar to the mind moving from one thought to another. Trident:(Trishula): Shiva's particular weapon is thetrident.[115]His Trisul that is held in His right hand represents the three Gunas Sattva, Rajas and Tamas. That is the emblem of sovereignty. He rules the world through these three Gunas. The Damaru in His left hand represents the Sabda Brahman. It represents OM from which all languages are formed. It is He who formed the Sanskrit language out of the Damaru sound. Drum:A small drum shaped like an hourglass is known as adamaru(amaru).[132][133]This is one of the attributes of Shiva in his famous dancing representation[134]known asNataraja. A specific hand gesture (mudra) calledamaru-hasta(Sanskrit for "amaru-hand") is used to hold the drum.[135]This drum is particularly used as an emblem by members of theKplikasect.[136] Axe:(Parashu):The parashu is the weapon of Lord Shiva who gave it toParashurama, sixth Avatar of Vishnu, whose name means "Rama with the axe" and also taught him its mastery. Nand:(The epithet "Nandi Vaahana")Nand, also known as Nandin, is the name of thebullthat serves as Shiva's mount (Sanskrit:vhana).[137][138]Shiva's association with cattle is reflected in his namePaupati, orPashupati(Sanskrit: ), translated by Sharma as "lord of cattle"[139]and by Kramrisch as "lord of animals", who notes that it is particularly used as an epithet of Rudra.[140]Rishabha or the bull represents Dharma Devata. Lord Siva rides on the bull. Bull is his vehicle. This denotes that Lord Siva is the protector of Dharma, is an embodiment of Dharma or righteousness. Gaa:TheGaas(Devanagari:) are attendants of Shiva and live inKailash. They are often referred to as the bhutaganas, or ghostly hosts, on account of their nature. Generally benign, except when their lord is transgressed against, they are often invoked to intercede with the lord on behalf of the devotee.Ganeshawas chosen as their leader by Shiva, henceGanesha's titlegaa-aorgaa-pati, "lord of thegaas".[141] 5 heads:Shiva is known as panchavactra means 5 heads which indicates 5 elements. Arms:Shiva has 4 arms which resembles 4 vedas MountKailsa:Mount Kailashin theHimalayasis his traditional abode.[115]In Hindu mythology, MountKailsais conceived as resembling aLinga, representing the center of the universe.[142] Varanasi:Varanasi(Benares) is considered to be the city specially loved by Shiva, and is one of the holiest places of pilgrimage in India. It is referred to, in religious contexts, as Kashi.[143]Lingam[edit]

Lingamat Jambukesvara temple inThiruvanaikaval,Tamil NaduMain article:LingamApart from anthropomorphic images of Shiva, the worship of Shiva in the form of alingam, is also important.[144][145][146]These are depicted in various forms. One common form is the shape of a vertical rounded column.Shivameans auspiciousness, and lingam means a sign or a symbol, so theShivalingais regarded as a "symbol of the great God of the universe who is all-auspiciousness".[147]Shivaalso means "one in whom the whole creation sleeps after dissolution".[147]Since, according to Hinduism, it is the same god that creates, sustains and withdraws the universe, the Shivalinga represents symbolically God Himself.[147]Some scholars, such asMonier Monier-WilliamsandWendy Doniger, also viewlingaas a phallic symbol,[148][149]although this interpretation is disputed by others, includingSwami Vivekananda,[150]Sivananda Saraswati,[151]andS. N. Balagangadhara.[152]

A 10th-century four-headed stone lingam (Mukhalinga) from NepalJyotirlinga[edit]Main article:JyotirlingaThe worship of the lingam originated from the famous hymn in theAtharva-Veda Samhitsung in praise of theYupa-Stambha, the sacrificial post. In that hymn, a description is found of the beginningless and endlessStambhaorSkambha, and it is shown that the saidSkambhais put in place of the eternalBrahman. Just as theYajna(sacrificial) fire, its smoke, ashes, and flames, theSomaplant, and the ox that used to carry on its back the wood for theVedic sacrificegave place to the conceptions of the brightness of Shiva's body, his tawny matted hair, his blue throat, and the riding on the bull of the Shiva, theYupa-Skambhagave place in time to theShiva-Linga.[153][154]In the textLinga Purana, the same hymn is expanded in the shape of stories, meant to establish the glory of the great Stambha and the superiority of Shiva as Mahadeva.[154]Jyotirlingameans "The Radiant sign of The Almighty". The Jyotirlingas are mentioned in theShiva Purana.[155]Shakti[edit]

Kali andBhairava(the terrible form of Shiva) in Union, 18th century, NepalMain article:ShaktiShiva forms a Tantric couple withShakti, the embodiment of energy, dynamism, and the motivating force behind all action and existence in the material universe. Shiva is her transcendent masculine aspect, providing the divine ground of all being. Shakti manifests in several female deities.SatiandParvatiare the main consorts of Shiva. She is also referred to asUma,Durga(Parvata),Kali[156]andChandika.[157]Kali is the manifestation of Shakti in her dreadful aspect. The name Kali comes fromkla, which means black, time, death, lord of death, Shiva. Since Shiva is calledKla, the eternal time, Kl, his consort, also means "Time" or "Death" (as in "time has come"). VariousShaktaHindu cosmologies, as well as ShktaTantricbeliefs, worship her as the ultimate reality orBrahman. She is also revered as Bhavatrini (literally "redeemer of the universe"). Kl is represented as the consort of Lord Shiva, on whose body she is often seen standing or dancing. Shiva is the masculine force, the power of peace, while Shakti translates to power, and is considered as the feminine force. In the Vaishnava tradition, these realities are portrayed as Vishnu and Laxmi, or Radha and Krishna. These are differences in formulation rather than a fundamental difference in the principles. Both Shiva and Shakti have various forms. Shiva has forms like Yogi Raj (the common image of Himself meditating in the Himalayas), Rudra (a wrathful form) and Natarajar (Shiva's dance are the Lasya - the gentle form of dance, associated with the creation of the world, and the Tandava - the violent and dangerous dance, associated with the destruction of weary worldviews weary perspectives and lifestyles).The five mantras[edit]Five is a sacred number for Shiva.[158]One of his most important mantras has five syllables (nama ivya).[159]Shiva's body is said to consist of five mantras, called thepacabrahmans.[160]As forms of God, each of these have their own names and distinct iconography:[161] Sadyojta Vmadeva Aghora Tatpurua snaThese are represented as the five faces of Shiva and are associated in various texts with the five elements, the five senses, the five organs of perception, and the five organs of action.[162][163]Doctrinal differences and, possibly, errors in transmission, have resulted in some differences between texts in details of how these five forms are linked with various attributes.[164]The overall meaning of these associations is summarized by Stella Kramrisch:Through these transcendent categories, iva, the ultimate reality, becomes the efficient and material cause of all that exists.[165]According to thePacabrahma Upanishad:One should know all things of the phenomenal world as of a fivefold character, for the reason that the eternal verity ofivais of the character of the fivefoldBrahman. (Pacabrahma Upanishad31)[166]Forms and roles[edit]According toGavin Flood, "Shiva is a god of ambiguity and paradox," whose attributes include opposing themes.[167]The ambivalent nature of this deity is apparent in some of his names and the stories told about him.Destroyer and Benefactor[edit]In theYajurveda, two contrary sets of attributes for both malignant or terrific (Sanskrit:rudra) and benign or auspicious (Sanskrit:iva) forms can be found, leading Chakravarti to conclude that "all the basic elements which created the complex Rudra-iva sect of later ages are to be found here".[168]In the Mahabharata, Shiva is depicted as "the standard of invincibility, might, and terror", as well as a figure of honor, delight, and brilliance.[169]The duality of Shiva's fearful and auspicious attributes appears in contrasted names.

Uma and MaheswarThe nameRudrareflects Shiva's fearsome aspects. According to traditional etymologies, the Sanskrit nameRudrais derived from the rootrud-, which means "to cry, howl".[170]Stella Kramrisch notes a different etymology connected with the adjectival formraudra, which means "wild, ofrudranature", and translates the nameRudraas "the wild one" or "the fierce god".[171]R. K. Sharma follows this alternate etymology and translates the name as "terrible".[172]Hara is an important name that occurs three times in the Anushasanaparvan version of theShiva sahasranama, where it is translated in different ways each time it occurs, following a commentorial tradition of not repeating an interpretation. Sharma translates the three as "one who captivates", "one who consolidates", and "one who destroys".[173]Kramrisch translates it as "the ravisher".[126]Another of Shiva's fearsome forms is asKla"time" andMahkla"great time", which ultimately destroys all things.[174][175]The nameKlaappears in theShiva Sahasranama, where it is translated by Ram Karan Sharma as "(the Supreme Lord of) Time."[176]Bhairava"terrible" or "frightful"[177]is a fierce form associated with annihilation.[178]In contrast, the nameakara"beneficent"[63]or "conferring happiness"[179]reflects his benign form. This name was adopted by the greatVedantaphilosopherAdi Shankara(c. 788-820),[180]who is also known as Shankaracharya.[181]The nameambhu(Sanskrit:), "causing happiness",[182][183]also reflects this benign aspect.Ascetic and Householder[edit]

An illustration of the family of Shiva, consisting of Shiva,Parvati,Ganeshaand Skanda (Kartikeya)He is depicted as both an asceticyogiand as a householder, roles which have been traditionally mutually exclusive in Hindu society.[184]When depicted as a yogi, he may be shown sitting and meditating.[185]His epithet Mahyogi ("the greatYogi:Mah= "great",Yogi= "one who practicesYoga") refers to his association with yoga.[186]WhileVedic religionwas conceived mainly in terms of sacrifice, it was during theEpic periodthat the concepts oftapas,yoga, andasceticismbecame more important, and the depiction of Shiva as an ascetic sitting in philosophical isolation reflects these later concepts.[187]Shiva is also depicted as a corpse below GoddessKali, it represents that Shiva is a corpse without Shakti. He remains inert. While Shiva is the static form,MahakaliorShaktiis the dynamic aspect without whom Shiva is powerless.As a family man and householder, he has a wife,Parvatiand two sons,GaneshaandKartikeya. His epithetUmpati("The husband ofUm") refers to this idea, and Sharma notes that two other variants of this name that mean the same thing,UmkntaandUmdhava, also appear in the sahasranama.[188]Umin epic literature is known by many names, including the benignPrvat.[189][190]She is identified withDevi, the Divine Mother;Shakti(divine energy) as well as goddesses likeTripura Sundari,Durga,KamakshiandMinakshi. The consorts of Shiva are the source of his creative energy. They represent the dynamic extension of Shiva onto this universe.[191]His son Ganesha is worshipped throughoutIndiaandNepalas the Remover of Obstacles, Lord of Beginnings and Lord of Obstacles. Kartikeya is worshipped inSouth India(especially inTamil Nadu,KeralaandKarnataka) by the names Subrahmanya, Subrahmanyan, Shanmughan, Swaminathan and Murugan, and inNorthern Indiaby the names Skanda, Kumara, or Karttikeya.[192]Some regional deities are also identified as Shiva's children. As one story goes, Shiva is enticed by the beauty and charm ofMohini, Vishnu's female avatar, and procreates with her. As a result of this union,Shasta- identified with regional deitiesAyyappanandAiyanar- is born.[193][194][195][196]Shiva is also mentioned in some scriptures to have had daughters like the serpent-goddessManasaandAshokasundari. The demonsAndhakaandJalandharaand the godMangalaare considered children of Shiva.Nataraaja[edit]

Chola dynastystatue depicting Shiva dancing asNataraja(Los Angeles County Museum of Art)Main article:NatarajaThe depiction of Shiva as Nataraja (Sanskrit:naarja, "Lord of Dance") is popular.[197][198]The names Nartaka ("dancer") and Nityanarta ("eternal dancer") appear in the Shiva Sahasranama.[199]His association with dance and also with music is prominent in thePuranicperiod.[200]In addition to the specific iconographic form known as Nataraja, various other types of dancing forms (Sanskrit:ntyamrti) are found in all parts of India, with many well-defined varieties inTamil Naduin particular.[201]The two most common forms of the dance are theTandava, which later came to denote the powerful and masculine dance as Kala-Mahakala associated with the destruction of the world. When it requires the world or universe to be destroyed, Lord iva does it by the tavantya.[202][203]andLasya, which is graceful and delicate and expresses emotions on a gentle level and is considered the feminine dance attributed to the goddess Parvati.[204][205]Lasyais regarded as the female counterpart ofTandava.[205]TheTandava-Lasyadances are associated with the destruction-creation of the world.[206][207][208]Dakshinamurthy[edit]Main article:DakshinamurthyDakshinamurthy, orDakimrti(Tamil:,Telugu: , Sanskrit:),[209]literally describes a form (mrti) of Shiva facing south (dakia). This form represents Shiva in his aspect as a teacher ofyoga, music, and wisdom and giving exposition on the shastras.[210]This iconographic form for depicting Shiva in Indian art is mostly fromTamil Nadu.[211]Elements of this motif can include Shiva seated upon a deer-throne and surrounded by sages who are receiving his instruction.[212]Ardhanarishvara[edit]Main article:Ardhanarishvara

Chola bronze from the 11th century. Shiva in the form ofArdhanarisvara.An iconographic representation of Shiva called (Ardhanrvara) shows him with one half of the body as male and the other half as female. According to Ellen Goldberg, the traditional Sanskrit name for this form (Ardhanrvara) is best translated as "the lord who is half woman", not as "half-man, half-woman".[213]According to legend, Lord Shiva is pleased by the difficult austerites performed by the goddess Parvati, grants her the left half of his body. This form of Shiva is quite similar to the Yin-Yang philosophy of Eastern Asia, thoughArdhanrvaraappears to be more ancient.Tripurantaka[edit]Main article:TripurantakaSee also:Tripura (mythology)

The five-headedTripurantakais seen pointing an arrow towards the Tripura (rightmost top corner) with the bow made of mount Meru, the serpent Vasuki is seen as its string.Shiva is often depicted as an archer in the act of destroying the triple fortresses,Tripura, of the Asuras.[214]Shiva's name Tripurantaka (Sanskrit:,Tripurntaka), "ender of Tripura", refers to this important story.[215]In this aspect, Shiva is depicted with four arms wielding a bow and arrow, but different from the Pinakapani murti. He holds an axe and a deer on the upper pair of his arms. In the lower pair of the arms, he holds a bow and an arrow respectively. After destroyingTripura, Tripurantaka Shiva smeared his forehead with three strokes of Ashes. This has become a prominent symbol of Shiva and is practiced even today by Shaivites.Other forms, avatars, identifications[edit]Shiva, like some other Hindu deities, is said to have several incarnations, known asAvatars. AlthoughPuranic scripturescontain occasional references to "ansh" avatars of Shiva, the idea is not universally accepted inSaivism.[216]TheLinga Puranaspeaks of twenty-eight forms of Shiva which are sometimes seen as avatars.[217]According to theSvetasvatara Upanishad, he has four avatars.[218]In theHanuman Chalisa,Hanumanis identified as the eleventh avatar of Shiva and this belief is universal. Hanuman is popularly known as Rudraavtaar Rudra being a name of Shiva.[219]Rama the Vishnu avatar is considered by some to be the eleventh avatar ofRudra(Shiva).[220][221]Other traditions regard the sageDurvasa,[222][223][224][225]the sageAgastya, the philosopherAdi ShankaraandAshwatthamaas avatars of Shiva. Other forms of Shiva includeVirabhadraandSharabha.Festivals &Kumbh Mela[edit]

Kalyanasundara: Celestial Marriage of Shiva andParvatiin presence of all depicted atElephanta CavesMain article:Maha ShivaratriMaha Shivratri is a festival celebrated every year on the 13th day in the KrishnaPakshaof the month ofPhalgunain theHindu calendar. Thisfestivalis of utmost importance to the devotees of Lord Shiva. Mahashivaratri marks the night when Lord Shiva performed the 'Tandava' and it is the day that Lord Shiva was married to Parvati.[226]The holiday is often celebrated with special prayers and rituals offered up to Shiva, notably the Abhishek. This ritual, practiced throughout the night, is often performed every three hours with water, milk, yogurt, and honey. Bel (aegle marmelos) leaves are often offered up to the Hindu god, as it is considered necessary for a successful life. The offering of the leaves are considered so important that it is believed that someone who offers them without any intentions will be rewarded greatly.[227]Kumbh MelaorKumbha Mela(/kmmel/or/kmml/) is a massHindupilgrimageof faith in which Hindus gather to bathe in a sacred river. It is considered to be thelargest peaceful gatheringin the world where around 100 million (10 crore) people were expected to visit during the Maha Kumbh Mela in 2013 inAllahabad.[228][229]It is held every third year at one of the four places by rotation:Haridwar,Allahabad(Prayaga),NashikandUjjain. Thus the Kumbh Mela is held at each of these four places every twelfth year.Ardha("Half")Kumbh Melais held at only two places, Haridwar and Allahabad, every sixth year. The rivers at these four places are: theGanges(Ganga) at Haridwar, the confluence (Sangam) of the Ganges and theYamunaand the mythicalSaraswatiat Allahabad, theGodawariat Nashik, and theShipraat Ujjain. The name Kumbh Mela comes fromHindi, and in the originalSanskritand other Indian languages it is more often known as Kumbha Mela.Kumbhameans a pitcher andMelameansfairin Sanskrit.Beyond Hinduism[edit]Buddhism[edit]Shiva is mentioned inBuddhist Tantra. Shiva asUpayaand Shakti asPrajna.[230]In cosmologies of Buddhist tantra, Shiva is depicted as passive, with Shakti being his active counterpart.[231]Sikhism[edit]The Japuji Sahib of theGuru Granth Sahibsays, "The Guru is Shiva, the Guru is Vishnu and Brahma; the Guru is Paarvati and Lakhshmi."[232]In the same chapter, it also says, "Shiva speaks, and the Siddhas listen."InDasam Granth, Guru Gobind Singh have mentioned two avtars of Rudra:DattatreyaAvtar andParasnathAvtar.[233]Others[edit]

Daikokuten, God of WealthThe worship of Shiva became popular in Central Asia through theHephthalite Empire,[234]andKushan Empire. Shaivism was also popular inSogdiaandEast Turkestanas found from the wall painting from Penjikent on the river Zervashan.[235]In this depiction, Shiva is portrayed with a sacred halo and a sacred thread ("Yajnopavita").[235]He is clad in tiger skin while his attendants are wearing Sogdian dress.[235]In Eastern Turkestan in theTaklamakan Desert.[235]There is a depiction of his four-legged seated cross-legged n a cushioned seat supported by two bulls.[235]Another panel form Dandan-Uilip shows Shiva in His Trimurti form with Shakti kneeling on her right thigh.[235][236]It is also noted thatZoroastrianwind godVayu-Vatatook on the iconographic appearance of Shiva.[236]TheKirati peopleworship a form of Shiva as one of their major deity, identifying him as the lord of animals. It is also said that the physical form of Shiva as a yogi is derived from Kirants as it is mentioned in Mundhum that Shiva took human form as a child of Kirant. He is also said to give Kirants visions in form of a male deer.In Indonesia, Shiva is also worshiped asBatara Guru. In the ancient times, all kingdoms were located on top of mountains. When he was young, before receiving his authority of power, his name was Sang Hyang Manikmaya. He is first of the children who hatched from the eggs laid by Manuk Patiaraja, wife of god Mulajadi na Bolon. This avatar is also worshiped in Malaysia. Shiva's other form in Indonesian Hinduism is "Maharaja Dewa" (Mahadeva).[237]Daikokuten, one of theSeven Lucky Godsin Japan, is considered to be evolved from Shiva. The god enjoys an exalted position as a household deity in Japan and is worshipped as the god of wealth and fortune.[238]The name is the Japanese equivalent ofMahkla, the Buddhist name for Shiva.[


byMark Cartwrightpublished on 20 November 2012

Shiva(or Siva) is one of the most important gods in theHindupantheonand, along withBrahmaandVishnu, is considered a member of the holy trinity (trimurti) ofHinduism. A complex character, he may represent goodness, benevolence and serve as the Protector but he also has a darker side as the leader of evil spirits, ghosts and vampires and as the master of thieves, villains and beggars. He is also associated with Time, and particularly as the destroyer of all things. Nevertheless, Shiva is also associated with creation. In Hinduism, the universe is thought to regenerate in cycles (every 2,160,000,000 years). Shiva destroys the universe at the end of each cycle which then allows for a new Creation. Shiva is also the great ascetic, abstaining from all forms of indulgence and pleasure, concentrating rather on meditation as a means to find perfect happiness. He is the most important Hindu god for the Shaivism sect, the patron of Yogis and Brahmins, and also the protector ofthe Vedas, thesacred texts.SHIVA, PARVATI &GANESHAShivas wife was Parvati, often incarnated asKaliand Durga. She was in fact a reincarnation of Sati (or Dakshayani), the daughter of the god Daksha. Daksha did not approve of Satis marriage to Shiva and even went further and held a special sacrificial ceremony to all the gods except Shiva. Outraged at this slight, Sati threw herself on the sacrificial fire. Shiva reacted to this tragedy by creating two demons (Virabhadra and Rudrakali) from his hair who wreaked havoc on the ceremony and beheaded Daksha. The other gods appealed to Shiva to end the violence and, complying, he brought Daksha back to lifebut with the head of a ram (or goat). Sati was eventually reincarnated as Parvati in her next life and she re-married Shiva.With Parvati, Shiva had a son, the god Ganesha. The boy was in fact created out of earth and clay to keep her company and protect her while Shiva went on his meditative wanderings. However, Shiva returned one day and, finding the boy guarding the room where Parvati was bathing, he enquired who he was. Not believing the boy was his son, and thinking him an impudent beggar, Shiva called up thebhutaganasdemons who fought the boy and eventually managed to distract him with the appearance of the beautifulMayaand, whilst he admired the beauty, they lopped off his head. At the commotion, Parvati rushed from her bath and screamed that her son had been killed. Realising his error, Shiva then sent for a new head with which to make the boy whole again but the nearest at hand was of an elephant. And so Ganesha, the elephant-headed god, was born. Other sons of Shiva are Skanda or Karttikeya, the god ofwarand Kuvera, the god of treasures.Ganga(the goddess who personified the riverGanges) was given to Shiva by Vishnu who could not take any more of the constant quarrels between his then three wives of Lakshmi (goddess of good fortune), Saraswati (goddess of wisdom) and Ganga. To cushion Gangas fall to the earth, and prevent such a great river destroying civilisation, Shiva caught her in his hair topknot; once again, illustrating his quality of self-sacrifice.AS WITH ANY MAJOR GOD, SHIVA WAS INVOLVED IN MANY ADVENTUROUS EPISODES WHICH ILLUSTRATE HIS VIRTUOUS CHARACTER.SHIVA'S GREAT DEEDSAs with any major god, Shiva was involved in many adventurous episodes which illustrate his virtuous character and offer instruction on how to live correctly. For example, self-sacrifice is emphasised when Vasuki, the king of Serpents, threatened to vomit snake venom across the seas. Shiva, assuming the form of a giant tortoise or turtle, collected the venom in his palm and drank it. The poison burned his throat and left a permanent blue scar, hence one of his many titles became Nilakantha or Blue Throat.Another celebrated episode describes how Shiva became associated with the bull Nandi. One day, Surabhi, who was the original mother of all the worlds cows, began to give birth to an untold number of perfectly white cows. The milk from all these cows flooded the home of Shiva, somewhere in the Himalaya. Angry at this disturbance to his meditation, the god struck the cows with fire from his third eye. In consequence, patches of the cows hides were turned brown. Still angry, the other gods sought to calm Shiva down by offering him a magnificent bull - Nandi, the son of Surabhi and Kasyapa - which Shiva accepted and rode. Nandi also became the protector of all animals.Shiva is closely associated with the Linga (or Lingham) - a phallus or symbol of fertility or divine energy found in temples to the god. Following the death of Sarti, and before her reincarnation, Shiva was in mourning and went to the Daru forest to live withrishisor sages. However, the wives of therishissoon began to take an interest in Shiva. In jealousy, therishisfirst sent a large antelope and then a gigantic tiger against the god but Shiva swiftly dealt with them and wore the tiger skin thereafter. The sages then cursed Shivas manhood which, in consequence, fell off. When the phallus struck the ground, earthquakes began and thericsisbecame afraid and asked for forgiveness. This was given but Shiva told them to forever after worship the phallus as the symbolic Linga.

Shiva with Nandi, Aihole

REPRESENTATIONS IN ARTIn Asian art Shiva may be represented in slightly different ways depending on the particular culture: Indian, Cambodian, Javanese etc. but he is most commonly depicted naked, with multiple arms and with his hair tied up in a topknot. He often has three horizontal stripes and a third vertical eye on his forehead. He wears a headdress with a crescent moon and a skull (representing the fifth head of Brahma, which he decapitated as punishment for the god lusting after his own daughter Sandhya), a necklace of heads, and snakes as bracelets. In this guise he usually represents Nataraja and dances the Tandava within a circle of fire which represents the never-ending cycle of time. He holds the divine fire (agni) which destroys the universe and the drum (damaru) which makes the first sounds of the creation. One hand makes the calmingabhayamudragesture and another points to his left foot, symbol of salvation. He also stamps one foot on the dwarf figure Apasmara Purusha who represents illusion and who leads men away from truth.

Shiva may also be depicted standing on one leg with the right leg folded in front of the left knee and holding a rosary in his right hand, the typical posture of ascetic meditation. Sometimes he also rides his white bull, carries a silver bow (Pinaka), holds an antelope, and wears a tiger or elephant skin, all symbolic of his famed prowess as a hunter.

ShivaShivaoriva(Sanskrit: , lit. "Auspicious one") is one of the principal deities or a form of Ishvara (God) representing one of the three primary aspects of the Divine Brahma,Vishnu, and Shiva collectively as theTrimurti. In the Trimurti system, Brahma is the creator, Vishnu is the maintainer or preserver, and Shiva is the destroyer or transformer. WithinShaivatradition he is viewed as the Supreme deity, whereas inSmartatradition Shiva is one of the six primary forms of the Divine (the other five beingVishnu,Shakti,Ganesha,KartikkeyaandSurya). Followers who focus their worship upon Shiva are calledaiva. His role as the primary deity is reflected in his epithetsMahdeva("Great God"),Mahehvara("Great Lord"), andParamehvara("Supreme Lord"). Saiva, along withVaiavatraditions that focus on Vishnu, andktatraditions that focus on theDev(Goddess) are three of the most influential denominations in Hindu system. Shiva is usually worshiped as theShiva Linga. In images, he is generally represented as immersed in deep meditation or dancing theTandavaupon the demon of ignorance in his manifestation ofNataraja, the lord of the dance.FoldTable of ContentsDescriptionAttributes of ShivaNatarajaThe Sons of ShivaSchools and Views of haivaNames of ShivaDescriptionShiva is referred to as 'the good one' or the 'auspicious one'. Shiva - Rudra is considered to be the destroyer of evil and sorrow. Shiva - Shankara is the doer of good. Shiva is 'tri netra' or three eyed, and is 'neela kantha' - blue necked (having consumed poison to save the world from destruction). Shiva - Nataraja is the Divine Cosmic Dancer. Shiva - Ardhanareeswara is both man and woman.He is both static and dynamic and is both creator and destroyer. He is the oldest and the youngest, he is the eternal youth as well as the infant. He is the source of fertility in all living beings. He has gentle as well as fierce forms. Shiva is the greatest of renouncers as well as the ideal lover. He destroyes evil and protects good. He bestows prosperity on worshipers although he is austere. He is omnipresent and resides in everyone as pure consciousness.Shiva is inseparable from Shakti - Parvati the daughter of Himavaan - Haimavati. There is no Shiva without Shakti and no Shakti without Shiva, the two are one - or the absolute state of being - consciousness and bliss.The five mantras that constitute Shiva's body are Sadyojaata, Vaamadeva, Aghora, Tatpurusha and Eesaana. Eesaana is Shiva not visible to the human eye, Sadyojaata is Shiva realized in his basic reality (as in the element earth, in the sense of smell, in the power of procreation and in the mind). The Vishnudharmottara Purana of the 6th century CE assigns a face and an element to each of the above mantras. (Sadyojaata - earth, Vaamadeva - water, Aghora - fire, Tatpurusha - air and Eesaana - space).The names of the deified faces with their elements are Mahadeva (earth), Bhairava (fire), Nandi (air), Uma (water) and Sadasiva (space).In some views iva is the third form of God as one of the Trimurti (popularly called the "Hindu trinity"). In the Trimurti, iva is the destroyer, while Brahma and Vishnu are creator and preserver, respectively. However, even though he represents destruction, he is viewed as a positive force (The Destroyer of Evil), since creation follows destruction. Other views contend that iva produces Vishnu who produces Brahma and thus creation begins, within which the cycle of the Trimurti exists. iva also assumes many other roles, including the Lord of Ascetics (Mahadeva), the Lord of Boons (Rudra), and also the Universal Divinity (Mahesvara). Worshippers of iva are called aivites who consider iva as representing the Ultimate Reality (see Ishta-Deva for fuller discussion).In shiva temples, Navarha (9 plantes), Ganesh, Skantha, Saraswati, Lakshmi, Vishnu, Brahma, Ashtathig balar, Durga, Bairava, and all the other hidu gods will have the place, denoting the entire gods are uniquely said to Lord Shiva, so that only he is in shapeless (i.e. in linga form) there are five different avatars of shiva:1. Bhairava2. Natarajar3. Dhakshinamoorthy4. Somaskantha5. PitkchadanarIn most of the South indian temples , we can see all the five suprems in shiva temple. all the five characteristics in a single face is said to be sadashivaiva is not limited to the personal characteristics as he is given in many images and can transcend all attributes. Hence, iva is often worshipped in an abstract manner, as God without form, in the form of linga. This view is similar in some ways to the view of God in Semitic religions such as Islam or Judaism, which hold that God has no personal characteristics. Hindus, on the other hand, believe that God can transcend all personal characteristics yet can also have personal characteristics for the grace of the embodied human devotee. Personal characteristics are a way for the devotee to focus on God. iva is also described as Anaadi (without beginning/birth) and Ananta (without end/death).According to the Bhagavata Purana, Lord iva manifested in his multiple forms from the forehead of Lord Brahma. When Lord Brahma asked his sons, the Four Kumaras, to go forth and create progeny in the universe, they refused. This angered Lord Brahma and in his anger a child appeared from his forehead, which split into two - a male part and a female part. The male half started crying inconsolable and as a result, Brahma named him Rudra. The child cried seven more times and each time Brahma gave him a separate name. The eight names thus given to the child were Rudra, Sharva, Bhava, Ugra, Bhima, Pashupati, Ishana, and Mahadeva. Each of these eight names are said to be associated with specific elements of the cosmos, namely the earth, water, fire, wind, sky, a yogi called Kshetragya, the sun, and the moon respectively. This male child became Lord iva, who was asked to go forth and create progeny, but when Lord Brahma observed the power, as they shared the qualities of Lord iva, he asked him to observe austerities instead of creating progeny. A slightly different version is told in the Shiva Purana: in the iva Purana, iva promises Brahma that an aspect of his, Rudra, will be born and this aspect is identical to Him.The tale about Lord iva being born and immediately splitting into two halves of male and female indicates the origin of the Ardhanarishvara - the union of substance and energy, the Being and his Shakti (force).iva is the supreme God of aivism, one of the three main branches of Hinduism today (the others being Vaishnavism and Shaktism). His abode is called Kailasa. His holy mount (Skt: Vahana) is Nandi, the Bull. His attendant is named Bhadra. iva is usually represented by the iva linga (or lingam), usually depicted as a clay mound with three horizontal stripes on it, or visualised as a flaming pillar. In anthropomorphised images, he is generally represented as immersed in deep meditation on Mount Kailash (reputed to be the same as the Mount Kailash in the south of Tibet, near Manasarovar Lake) in the Himalaya, his traditional abode.List of Hindu deities, Ardhanari, Siddha Yoga, Aum Namah Sivaya, the foremost Saivite mantra, Shri Rudram, a Vedic chant on the early manifestation of iva as Rudra, Kapalika, a secretive sect worship Shiva in it's Bhairava form, Aghori, Hindu views on God and gender.Attributes of ShivaThird EyeShiva is often depicted with a third eye with which he burned Desire (Kma) to ashes. There has been controversy regarding the original meaning of Shiva's nameTryambakam(Sanskrit: ), which occurs in many scriptural sources. In classical Sanskrit the word ambaka denotes "an eye", and in the Mahabharata Shiva is depicted as three-eyed, so this name is sometimes translated as "Having Three Eyes". However, in Vedic Sanskrit the word amb or ambik means "mother", and this early meaning of the word is the basis for the translation "Having Three Mothers" that was used by Max Mller and Arthur Macdonell. Since no story is known in which Shiva had three mothers, E. Washburn Hopkins suggested that the name refers not to three mothers, but to three Mother-goddesses who are collectively called the Ambiks. Other related translations have been "having three wives or sisters", or based on the idea that the name actually refers to the oblations given to Rudra, which according to some traditions were shared with the goddess Ambik.Blue ThroatThe epithetNlakatha(Sanskrit ; nla = blue, katha = throat) refers to a story in which Shiva drank the poison churned up from the world ocean. (see:Halhala)Crescent MoonShiva bears on his head the crescent of the moon. The epithet Chandraekhara (Sanskrit: "Having the moon as his crest" - chandra = Moon, ekhara = crest, crown)[81][82][83] refers to this feature. The placement of the moon on his head as a standard iconographic feature dates to the period when Rudra rose to prominence and became the major deity Rudra-Shiva.[84] The origin of this linkage may be due to the identification of the moon with Soma, and there is a hymn in the Rig Veda where Soma and Rudra are jointly emplored, and in later literature Soma and Rudra came to be identified with one another, as wereSomaand the Moon.Matted HairShiva's distinctive hair style is noted in the epithets Jain, "The One with matted hair" and Kapardin, "Endowed with matted hair" or "wearing his hair wound in a braid in a shell-like (kaparda) fashion". A kaparda is a cowrie shell, or a braid of hair in the form of a shell, or more generally hair that is shaggy or curly.Sacred GangaThe Ganga river flows from the matted hair of Shiva. The epithet Gagdhara ("Bearer of the river Gag") refers to this feature. The Ganga (Ganges), one of the major rivers of the country, is said to have made her abode in Shiva's hair. The legend of Bhagiratha states that when the sage of that name invoked the gods to send the divine Ganges to earth to relieve a drought and purify the remains of his ancestors, he was warned that the earth had not the capacity to withstand the descent of the Ganges from heaven, in pursuit of which he propitiated Siva to receive the Ganges upon her descent from heaven and release her with diminished force. Siva agreed to trap the youthful and mischievous Ganges in his matted locks and release her to the earth. It was thus, according to Hindu legend, that the Ganges came to be trapped in Siva's locks, and to be portrayed as flowing therefrom, in all representations of Siva.AshesShiva smears his body with ashes (bhasma). Some forms of Shiva, such as Bhairava, are associated with a very old Indian tradition of cremation-ground asceticism that was practiced by some groups who were outside the fold of brahmanic orthodoxy. These practices associated with cremation grounds are also mentioned in the Palicanonof Theravada Buddhism. One epithet for Shiva is "Inhabitant of the cremation ground" (Sanskrit: manavsin, also spelled Shmashanavasin) referring to this connection.Tiger skinHe is often shown seated upon a tiger skin, an honour reserved for the most accomplished of Hindu ascetics, the Brahmarishis. "Mythology ~ The birth of Brahmarishis" (HTML). Retrieved on 2008-05-07.SerpentsShiva is often shown garlanded with a snake.Trishula (Trident)Shiva's particular weapon is the trident.DrumA small drum shaped like an hourglass is known as a damaru (Sanskrit: amaru). This is one of the attributes of Shiva in his famous dancing representation known as Nataraja. A specific hand gesture (mudra) called amaru-hasta (Sanskrit for "amaru-hand") is used to hold the drum. This drum is particularly used as an emblem by members of the Kplika sect.NandAlso known as Nandin, is the name of the bull that serves as Shiva's mount (Sanskrit: vhana). Shiva's association with cattle is reflected in his name Paupati orPashupati(Sanskrit ), translated by Sharma as "Lord of cattle" and by Kramrisch as "Lord of Animals", who notes that it is particularly used as an epithet of Rudra.GaaIn Hinduism, the Gaas (Devanagari: ) are attendants of Shiva and live in Kailasa. They are often referred to as the Boothaganas, or ghostly hosts, on account of their nature. Generally benign, except when their Lord is transgressed against, they are often invoked to intercede with the Lord on behalf of the devotee. Ganesha was chosen as their leader by Shiva, hence Ganesha's title gaa-a or gaa-pati, "lord of the gaas".Mount Kailsa in the HimalayasIs his traditional abode.Mount Kailsais conceived as resembling aLinga, representing the center of the universe.Varanasi / BenaresIs considered as the city specially-loved by Shiva, and is one of the holiest places of pilgrimage in India. It is referred to, in religious contexts, as Kashi.NatarajaThe depiction of Shiva asNataraja(Tamil: , Sanskrit: naarja, "Lord of Dance") is popular. The names Nartaka ("Dancer") and Nityanarta ("Eternal Dancer") appear in the Shiva Sahasranama. His association with dance and also with music is prominent in the Puranic period. In addition to the specific iconographic form known as Nataraja, various other types of dancing forms (Sanskrit: ntyamrti) are found in all parts of India, with many well-defined varieties in Tamil Nadu (in southern India) in particular.The Sons of Shivaiva and Parvati are the parents of Karttikeya and Ganesha. Ganesha, the elephant-headed God of wisdom, acquired his head by offending iva, by refusing to allow him to enter the house while Parvati was bathing. iva sent his ganas to subdue Ganesha, but to no avail. As a last resort, he bade Vishnu confuse the stalwart guardian using his powers of Maya. Then, at the right moment, iva hurled Trishula and cut Ganesha's head from his body. Upon finding her guardian dead, Parvati was enraged and called up the many forms of Shakti to devour Shiva's ganas and wreak havoc in Swargaloka. To pacify her, iva brought forth an elephant's head from the forest and set it upon the boy's shoulders, reviving him. Shiva then took Ganesha as his own son and placed him in charge of his ganas. Thus, Ganesha's title is Ganapati, Lord of the Ganas. In another version, Parvati presented her child to Shani (the planet Saturn), whose gaze burned his head to ashes. Brahma bade iva to replace with the first head he could find, which happened to be that of an elephant.Karttikeya is a six-headed god and was conceived to kill the demon Tarakasura, who had proven invincible aga