Shiva is usually worshiped in the aniconic form of Lingam. Shiva of the highest level is limitless, transcendent, unchanging and formless. However, Shiva also has many benevolent and fearsome forms. 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 two sons, Ganesha and Kartikeya or as the Cosmic Dancer. In fierce aspects, he is often depicted slaying demons. The most recognizable iconographical attributes of the god are a third eye on his forehead, a snake around his neck, the crescent moon adorning and the river Ganga flowing from his matted hair, the trishula as his weapon and the damaru as his instrument.
Shiva as we know him today shares features with the Vedic god Rudra. Historians have also suggested that worship of Shiva existed in pre-Vedic times, but not all historians agree on this.
Shiva absorbed in meditation, as depicted commonly in Hinduism
The Sanskrit word Shiva (Devanagari: शिव, śiva) comes from Shri Rudram Chamakam of Taittiriya Samhita (TS 4.5, 4.7) of Krishna Yajurveda. The root word śi means auspicious. In simple English transliteration it is written either as Shiva or Siva. The adjective śiva, is used as an attributive 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 the Gods) and Trilokinath (meaning Lord of the 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. He is the oldest worshipped Lord of India.
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 Mahādeva ("Great God"; mahā "Great" and deva "god"),Maheśvara ("Great Lord"; mahā "great" and īśvara "lord"), and Parameśvara ("Supreme Lord").
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 literature
The worship of Shiva is a pan-Hindu tradition, practiced widely across all of India, Nepal and Sri Lanka. Some historians believe that 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.Axel Michaels the Indologist suggests Shaivism like Vaiṣṇavism, 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 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 he is worshipped in the form of a lingam. Khandoba's varied associations also include an identification with Surya and Karttikeya.
Seal discovered during excavation of the Mohenjodaro archaeological site in the Indus Valley has drawn attention as a possible representation of a "yogi" or "proto-Shiva" figure
Many Indus valley seals show animals. 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 Mohenjo-daroPashupati (lord of cattle), an epithet of the later Hindu gods Shiva and Rudra.Sir John Marshall and 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. However, this claim is not without its share of critics, 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-Siva," rejecting thereby Marshall's package of proto-Siva 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 Iravatham 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.
Several lines of evidence have been used to identify depictions of gods, goddesses , and animals as symbols of practices known from historic South Asian religions, principally Buddhism and Hinduism. The figurines and narratives depicted on seals continue to be central to arguments for and against these interpretations. Their direct relationship to modern South Asian religions remains ambiguous in view of the great time depth between the last vestiges of the Indus civilization and the emergence of Hinduism and Buddhism in the mid to late first millennium B. C. Even if later religions were to have borrowed and/or revived imagery from the Indus culture, the meanings attached to them are unlikely to have remained the same, since meanings inherent in borrowed images typically are transformed in a new cultural context.
There are no religious buildings or evidence of elaborate burials. If there were temples, they have not been identified. However, House - 1 in HR-A area in Mohenjadaro's Lower Town has been identified as a possible temple.
Shiva as we know him today shares many features with the Vedic god Rudra, 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 roaring storm, is usually portrayed in accordance with the element he represents as a fierce, destructive deity.
The oldest surviving text of Hinduism is the Rig Veda, which is dated to between 1700 and 1100 BC based on linguistic and philological evidence. A god named Rudra is 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 the Rudras", a group of storm gods. Furthermore, the Rudram, 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 term Shiva is used as an epithet for the gods Indra, Mitra and Agni many times. Since Shiva means pure, 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: Śarva), and the arrow is an essential attribute of Rudra. 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.
The word is derived from the Sanskrit root śarv-, which means "to injure" or "to kill", and Sharma uses that general sense in his interpretive translation of the name Śarva as "One who can kill the forces of darkness". The names Dhanvin ("Bowman") and Bāṇahasta ("Archer", literally "Armed with arrows in his hands") also refer to archery.
Rudra and Agni have a close relationship. 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. The identification of Agni with Rudra is explicitly noted in the Nirukta, an important early text on etymology, which says, "Agni is also called Rudra." The interconnections between the two deities are complex, and according to Stella Kramrisch:
The fire myth of Rudra-Śiva plays on the whole gamut of fire, valuing all its potentialities and phases, from conflagration to illumination.
In the Śatarudrīya, some epithets of Rudra, such as Sasipañjara ("Of golden red hue as of flame") and Tivaṣīmati ("Flaming bright"), suggest a fusing of the two deities. Agni is said to be a bull, and Lord Shiva possesses a bull as his vehicle, Nandi. The horns of Agni, who is sometimes characterized as a bull, are mentioned. In medieval sculpture, both Agni and the form of Shiva known as Bhairava have flaming hair as a special feature.
According to a theory, the Puranic Shiva is a continuation of the Vedic Indra. He gives several reasons for his hypothesis. Both Shiva and Indra are known for having a thirst for Soma. Both are associated with mountains, rivers, male fertility, fierceness, fearlessness, warfare, transgression of established mores, the Aum sound, the Supreme Self. In the Rig Veda the term śiva is used to refer to Indra. (2.20.3, 6.45.17, and 8.93.3.) Indra, like Shiva, is likened to a bull. In the Rig Veda, Rudra is the father of the Maruts, but he is never associated with their warlike exploits as is Indra.
Later Vedic literature
Rudra's transformation from an ambiguously characterized deity to a supreme being began in the Shvetashvatara Upanishad (400-200 BCE), which founded the tradition of Rudra-Shiva worship. Here they are identified as the creators of the cosmos and liberators of souls from the birth-rebirth cycle. The period of 200 BCE to 100 CE also marks the beginning of the Shaiva tradition focused on the worship of Shiva, with references to Shaiva ascetics in Patanjali's Mahabhasya and in the Mahabharata.
Shaivism (Sanskrit: शैव पंथ, śaiva paṁtha) (Tamil: சைவ சமயம்) is the oldest of the four major sects of Hinduism, the others being Vaishnavism, Shaktism and Smartism. Followers of Shaivism, called "Shaivas", and also "Saivas" or "Saivites", 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. The tantric Shaiva tradition consists of the Kapalikas, Kashmir Shaivism and Shaiva Siddhanta. The Shiva MahaPurana is one of the purāṇas, 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.
Panchayatana puja is the system of worship ('puja') in the Smartasampradaya of Hinduism. It is said to have been introduced by Adi Shankara, the 8th century CEHindu philosopher. It consists of the worship of five deities: Shiva, Vishnu, Devi, Surya and Ganesha. 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 small murtis, or by five kinds of stones, or by five marks drawn on the floor.
in which the cosmic functions of creation, maintenance, and destruction are personified by the forms of Brahmā the creator, Vishnu the maintainer or preserver and Śhiva the destroyer or transformer,"
These three deities have been called "the Hindu triad" or the "Great Trinity", often addressed as "Brahma-Vishnu-Maheshwara."
Iconography and properties
Shiva with Parvati. Shiva is depicted three-eyed, the Ganges flowing through his matted hair, wearing ornaments of serpents and a skull bracelet, and covered in ashes, and seated on a tiger skin.
Shiva's form: Shiva has a Trident in the right lower arm, with a crescent moon on his head. He is said to be fair like camphor or like an ice clad mountain. He has fire and Damaru and Mala or a kind of weapon. He wears five serpents as ornaments. He wears a garland of skulls. He is pressing with his feet the demon Muyalaka, a dwarf holding a cobra. He faces south. Panchakshara itself is his body. (The 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.)
Third eye: (Trilochana) Shiva is often depicted with a third eye, with which he burned Desire (Kāma) to ashes, called "Tryambakam" (Sanskrit: त्र्यम्बकम् )(Tamil :நெற்றிக்கண்), 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 ambā or ambikā means "mother", and this early meaning of the word is the basis for the translation "three mothers". These three mother-goddesses who are collectively called the Ambikās. 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 goddess Ambikā. It has been mentioned that when Shiva loses his temper badly, his third eye opens which can destroy most of the things to ashes.
Crescent moon: (The epithets "Chandrasekhara/Chandramouli")- Shiva bears on his head the crescent moon. The epithet Candraśekhara (Sanskrit: चन्द्रशेखर "Having the moon as his crest" - candra = "moon"; śekhara = "crest, crown") 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. 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 implored, and in later literature, Soma and Rudra came to be identified with one another, as were Soma and the moon. 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. Since the Lord is the Eternal Reality, He is beyond time. Thus, the crescent moon is only one of His ornaments. The wearing of the crescent moon in his head indicates that He has controlled the mind perfectly.
Ashes: (The epithet "Bhasmaanga Raaga") - Shiva smears his body with ashes (bhasma). Ashes represent the final reality that a human being will face - the end of all material existence. 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 Pali canon of Theravada Buddhism. One epithet for Shiva is "inhabitant of the cremation ground" (Sanskrit: śmaśānavāsin, also spelled Shmashanavasin), referring to this connection. It is interesting to see the peaceful acceptance of cremation ground temples of Batuk Bhairava, a form of Lord Shiva, by the general populace. At Ujjain, near the Kaal Bhairava temple lies such a cremation ground temple of Batuk Bhairava, with its legendary disciple Baba Dabral known throughout Central India (as he is blessed, people say, with the ability to literally read out incidents of the future in one's life just by holding one's palm).
Matted hair: (The epithet "Jataajoota Dhari/Kapardina") - Shiva's distinctive hair style is noted in the epithets Jaṭin, "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. His hair is said to be like molten gold in color or being yellowish-white.
Blue throat: The epithet Nīlakaṇtha (Sanskrit नीलकण्ठ; nīla = "blue", kaṇtha = "throat").(Tamil: [நீலகண்டன்];NeelaKandan) since Shiva drank the Halahala poison 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. (See Maha 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. Ganges river flows from the matted hair of Shiva. The Gaṅgā (Ganges), one of the major rivers of the country, is said to have made her abode in Shiva's hair. 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, an honour reserved for the most accomplished of Hindu ascetics, the Brahmarishis. Tiger represents lust. His sitting on the tiger’s skin indicates that He has conquered lust.
Serpents: (The epithet "Nagendra Haara"). Shiva is often shown garlanded with a snake. His wearing of serpents on the neck denotes wisdom and eternity.
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: (Sanskrit: Trishula): Shiva's particular weapon is the trident. 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 a damaru (Sanskrit: ḍamaru). This is one of the attributes of Shiva in his famous dancing representation known as Nataraja. A specific hand gesture (mudra) called ḍamaru-hasta (Sanskrit for "ḍamaru-hand") is used to hold the drum. This drum is particularly used as an emblem by members of the Kāpālika sect.
Axe: (Sanskrit: Parashu):The parashu is the weapon of Lord Shiva who gave it to Parashurama, sixth Avatar of Vishnu, whose name means "Rama with the axe" and also taught him its mastery.
Nandī: (The epithet "Nandi Vaahana").Nandī, also known as Nandin, is the name of the bull that serves as Shiva's mount (Sanskrit: vāhana). Shiva's association with cattle is reflected in his name Paśupati, or Pashupati (Sanskrit: पशुपति), 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. 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.
Gaṇa: The Gaṇas (Devanagari: गण) are attendants of Shiva and live in Kailash. 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. Ganesha was chosen as their leader by Shiva, hence Ganesha's title gaṇa-īśa or gaṇa-pati, "lord of the gaṇas".
Mount Kailāsa: Mount Kailash in the Himalayas is his traditional abode. In Hindu mythology, Mount Kailāsa is conceived as resembling a Linga, representing the center of the universe.
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.
Apart from anthropomorphic images of Shiva, the worship of Shiva in the form of a lingam, or linga (Tamil : இலிங்கம் ), is also important. These are depicted in various forms. One common form is the shape of a vertical rounded column. Shiva means auspiciousness, and linga means a sign or a symbol. Hence, the Shivalinga is regarded as a "symbol of the great God of the universe who is all-auspiciousness".Shiva also means "one in whom the whole creation sleeps after dissolution".Linga also means the same thing—a place where created objects get dissolved during the disintegration of the created universe. Since, according to Hinduism, it is the same god that creates, sustains and withdraws the universe, the Shivalinga represents symbolically God Himself. Some scholars, such as Monier-Williams and Wendy Doniger, also view linga as a phallic symbol, although this interpretation is disputed by others, including Christopher Isherwood,Vivekananda,Swami Sivananda, and S.N. Balagangadhara.
The worship of Shiva or Rudra can be dated back to the primitive worship of The Almighty. The people in these period used to worship the natural forces and represented The Almighty in the stones. The Linga worship could be a primitive form of idol worship. Gradually the culture may have been assimilated to the Ancient Aryan-Dravidian culture and there by to the Sanskrit literature.
The worship of the Shiva-Linga originated from the famous hymn in the Atharva-Veda Samhitâ sung in praise of the Yupa-Stambha, the sacrificial post. In that hymn, a description is found of the beginningless and endless Stambha or Skambha, and it is shown that the said Skambha is put in place of the eternal Brahman. Just as the Yajna (sacrificial) fire, its smoke, ashes, and flames, the Soma plant, and the ox that used to carry on its back the wood for the Vedic sacrifice gave 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, the Yupa-Skambha gave place in time to the Shiva-Linga. In the text Linga 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.
The sacred of all Shiva linga is worshipped as Jyotir linga. Jyoti means Radiance, apart from relating Shiva linga as a phallus symbol, there are also arguments that Shiva linga means 'mark' or a 'sign'. The way of worship of primitive men by representing The Almighty on a stone. Jyotirlinga means The Radiant sign of The Almighty. The Jyotirlingas are mentioned in Shiva Purana. The dwadasha (12) Jyotirlinga's are told in Dwadasha Jyotirlinga stotram Sanskrit Literature as
Sanskrit: :सौराष्ट्रे सोमनाथं च श्रीशैले मल्लिकार्जुनम्। उज्जयिन्यां महाकालमोङ्कारममलेश्वरम्॥
परल्यां वैद्यनाथं च डाकिन्यां भीमशङ्करम्। सेतुबन्धे तु रामेशं नागेशं दारुकावने॥
English Translation: Somanatham in Saurashtra and Mallikarjunam in Shri-Shail. (सौराष्ट्रे सोमनाथं च श्रीशैले मल्लिकार्जुनम्); Mahakaal in Ujjain and Amleshwar in Omkareshwar. (उज्जयिन्यां महाकालमोङ्कारममलेश्वरम्); Vaidyanath in Paralya and Bhimashankaram in Dakniya. (परल्यां वैद्यनाथं च डाकिन्यां भीमशङ्करम्);Rameshem (Rameshwaram) in Sethubandh and Nageshem (Nageshwar) in Darauka-Vana. (सेतुबन्धे तु रामेशं नागेशं दारुकावने);Vishwa-Isham (Vishvanath) in Vanarasi and Triambakam at bank of Gautami River. (वाराणस्यां तु विश्वेशं त्र्यम्बकं गौतमीतटे));Kedar (Kedarnath) in Himalayas and Gushmesh (Gushmeshwar) in Shivalaya (Shiwar). (। हिमालये तु केदारं घुश्मेशं च शिवालये) 
Kali and Bhairava (the terrible form of Shiva) in Union, 18th century, Nepal
Shiva forms a Tantric couple with Shakti[Tamil : சக்தி ], 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. Sati and Parvati are the main consorts of Shiva, but she is also manifested as Uma, Durga (Parvata), Kali and Chandika. Kali is the manifestation of Shakti in her dreadful aspect. The name Kali comes from kāla, which means black, time, death, lord of death, Shiva. Since Shiva is called Kāla, the eternal time, Kālī, his consort, also means "Time" or "Death" (as in "time has come"). Various Shakta Hindu cosmologies, as well as Shākta Tantric beliefs, worship her as the ultimate reality or Brahman. She is also revered as Bhavatārini (literally "redeemer of the universe"). Kālī 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
Five is a sacred number for Shiva. One of his most important mantras has five syllables (namaḥ śivāya).
Shiva's body is said to consist of five mantras, called the pañcabrahmans. As forms of God, each of these have their own names and distinct iconography:
These 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. 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. The overall meaning of these associations is summarized by Stella Kramrisch:
Through these transcendent categories, Śiva, the ultimate reality, becomes the efficient and material cause of all that exists.
According to the Pañcabrahma Upanishad:
One should know all things of the phenomenal world as of a fivefold character, for the reason that the eternal verity of Śiva is of the character of the fivefold Brahman. (Pañcabrahma Upanishad 31)
Forms and roles
According to Gavin Flood, "Shiva is a god of ambiguity and paradox," whose attributes include opposing themes. The ambivalent nature of this deity is apparent in some of his names and the stories told about him.
Destroyer and Benefactor
In the Yajurveda, two contrary sets of attributes for both malignant or terrific (Sanskrit: rudra) and benign or auspicious (Sanskrit: śiva) forms can be found, leading Chakravarti to conclude that "all the basic elements which created the complex Rudra-Śiva sect of later ages are to be found here". In the Mahabharata, Shiva is depicted as "the standard of invincibility, might, and terror", as well as a figure of honor, delight, and brilliance. The duality of Shiva's fearful and auspicious attributes appears in contrasted names.
Uma and Maheswar
The name Rudra (Sanskrit: रुद्र) reflects his fearsome aspects. According to traditional etymologies, the Sanskrit name Rudra is derived from the root rud-, which means "to cry, howl". Stella Kramrisch notes a different etymology connected with the adjectival form raudra, which means "wild, of rudra nature", and translates the name Rudra as "the wild one" or "the fierce god". R. K. Sharma follows this alternate etymology and translates the name as "terrible". Hara (Sanskrit: हर) is an important name that occurs three times in the Anushasanaparvan version of the Shiva 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". Kramrisch translates it as "the ravisher". Another of Shiva's fearsome forms is as Kāla (Sanskrit: काल), "time", and as Mahākāla (Sanskrit: महाकाल), "great time", which ultimately destroys all things.Bhairava (Sanskrit: भैरव), "terrible" or "frightful", is a fierce form associated with annihilation.
In contrast, the name Śaṇkara (Sanskrit: शङ्कर), "beneficent" or "conferring happiness" reflects his benign form. This name was adopted by the great Vedanta philosopher Śaṇkara (c. 788 - 820 CE), who is also known as Shankaracharya. The name Śambhu (Sanskrit: शम्भु), "causing happiness", also reflects this benign aspect.
Ascetic and Householder
An illustration of the family of Shiva, consisting of Shiva, Parvati, Ganesha and Skanda (Kartikeya)
He is depicted as both an ascetic yogi and as a householder, roles which have been traditionally mutually exclusive in Hindu society. When depicted as a yogi, he may be shown sitting and meditating. His epithet Mahāyogi ("the great Yogi: Mahā = "great", Yogi = "one who practices Yoga") refers to his association with yoga. While Vedic religion was conceived mainly in terms of sacrifice, it was during the Epic period that the concepts of tapas, yoga, and asceticism became more important, and the depiction of Shiva as an ascetic sitting in philosophical isolation reflects these later concepts. Shiva is also depicted as a corpse below Goddess Kali, it represents that Shiva is a corpse without Shakti. He remains inert. While Shiva is the static form. Mahakali or Shakti is the dynamic aspect without whom Shiva is powerless.
As a family man and householder, he has a wife, Parvati and two sons, Ganesha and Kartikeya. His epithet Umāpati ("The husband of Umā") refers to this idea, and Sharma notes that two other variants of this name that mean the same thing, Umākānta and Umādhava, also appear in the sahasranama.Umā in epic literature is known by many names, including the benign Pārvatī. She is identified with Devi, the Divine Mother; Shakti (divine energy) as well as goddesses like Tripura Sundari, Durga, Kamakshi and Meenakshi. The consorts of Shiva are the source of his creative energy. They represent the dynamic extension of Shiva onto this universe. His son Ganesha is worshipped throughout India and Nepal as the Remover of Obstacles, Lord of Beginnings and Lord of Obstacles. Kartikeya is worshipped in Southern India (especially in Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Karnataka) by the names Subrahmanya, Subrahmanyan, Shanmughan, Swaminathan and Murugan, and in Northern India by the names Skanda, Kumara, or Karttikeya.
The depiction of Shiva as Nataraja (Tamil: நடராஜா,Kannada: ನಟರಾಜ, Telugu: నటరాజు, Sanskrit: naṭarāja, "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: nṛtyamūrti) are found in all parts of India, with many well-defined varieties in Tamil Nadu in particular. The two most common forms of the dance are the Tandava, 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 Śiva does it by the tāṇḍavanṛtya. and Lasya, which is graceful and delicate and expresses emotions on a gentle level and is considered the feminine dance attributed to the goddess Parvati.Lasya is regarded as the female counterpart of Tandava. The Tandava-Lasya dances are associated with the destruction-creation of the world.
Dakshinamurthy, or Dakṣiṇāmūrti (Tamil:தட்சிணாமூர்த்தி, Telugu: దక్షిణామూర్తి, Sanskrit: दक्षिणामूर्ति), literally describes a form (mūrti) of Shiva facing south (dakṣiṇa). This form represents Shiva in his aspect as a teacher of yoga, music, and wisdom and giving exposition on the shastras. This iconographic form for depicting Shiva in Indian art is mostly from Tamil Nadu. Elements of this motif can include Shiva seated upon a deer-throne and surrounded by sages who are receiving his instruction.
Chola bronze from the 11th century. Shiva in the form of Ardhanarisvara.
An iconographic representation of Shiva called (Ardhanārīśvara) 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 (Ardhanārīśvara) is best translated as "the lord who is half woman", not as "half-man, half-woman". 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, though Ardhanārīśvara appears to be more ancient.
Kalantaka (Ender of Death) is an aspect of the Hindu god Shiva as the Conqueror of Time and Death, itself personified by the god Yama. He is depicted as defeating or killing Yama when the latter comes to take the life of Shiva's devotee Markandeya. Shiva is often depicted as dancing on Death, personified by Yama. This incident is believed as happened at Triprangode, Tirur, Malappuram district, Kerala where the Kalasamharamurthy Temple is situated. Another chief temple dedicated to Kalantaka is situated at Thirukkadavoor, Tamil Nadu of South India, however the Kalantaka icon is found sculpted in many Shiva temples in the South.
Kalantaka is also called as Kalakala (the Death of Death),Kalasamhara (slayer of Death), Kalari(Foe of Death) and Kalahara or Kalahari ("one who takes away death") and Markandeyanugraha ("bestowing grace upon Markandeya"). The suffix "murti" meaning image or icon may be added to these names e.g. Kalarimurti or Kalantakamurti. Shiva is also known as Mrityunjaya ("Victor over Death").
The five-headed Tripurantaka is 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. Shiva's name Tripurantaka (Sanskrit: त्रिपुरान्तक, Tripurāntaka), "ender of Tripura", refers to this important story. 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 destroying Tripura, 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
Shiva, like some other Hindu deities, is said to have several incarnations, known as Avatars. Although Puranic scriptures contain occasional references to "ansh" avatars of Shiva, the idea is not universally accepted in Saivism. The Linga Purana speaks of twenty-eight forms of Shiva which are sometimes seen as avatars. According to the Svetasvatara Upanishad, he has four avatars.
In the Hanuman Chalisa, Hanuman is identified as the eleventh avatar of Shiva and this belief is universal. Hanuman is popularly known as “Rudraavtaar” “Rudra” being a name of “Shiva”. Rama– the Vishnu avatar is considered by some to be the eleventh avatar of Rudra (Shiva).
During the Vedic period, both Vishnu and Shiva (as identified with Rudra) played relatively minor roles, but by the time of the Brahmanas (c. 1000 - 700 BC), both were gaining ascendance. By the Puranic period, both deities had major sects that competed with one another for devotees. Many stories developed showing different types of relationships between these two important deities.
Sectarian groups each presented their own preferred deity as supreme. Vishnu in his myths "becomes" Shiva. The Vishnu Purana (4th century CE) shows Vishnu awakening and becoming both Brahmā to create the world and Shiva to destroy it. Shiva also is viewed as a manifestation of Vishnu in the Bhagavata Purana. In Shaivite myths, on the other hand, Shiva comes to the fore and acts independently and alone to create, preserve, destroy, hide, and to bless (five works). In one Shaivite myth of the origin of the lingam, both Vishnu and Brahmā are revealed as emanations from Shiva's manifestation as a towering pillar of flame. The Śatarudrīya, a Shaivite hymn, says that Shiva is "of the form of Vishnu". Differences in viewpoints between the two sects are apparent in the story of Śarabha (also spelled "Sharabha"), the name of Shiva's incarnation in the composite form of man, bird, and beast. Shiva assumed that unusual form of Sarabheshwara to chastise Vishnu, who in his hybrid form as Narasimha, the man-lion, killed Hiranyakashipu. However, Vaishnava followers including Dvaita scholars, such as Vijayindra Tirtha (1539–95) dispute this view of Narasimha based on their reading of Sattvika Puranas and Śruti texts.
According to Mahabharata, a Vaishnav text, Lord Krishna, an incarnation of Lord Vishnu, is one of the greatest devotees of Lord Shiva. In Mahabharata, Anushasana Parva, i.e., In Book 13, Chapter 15 verses 1 to 51, Lord Krishna explains to Yudistira how he got initiated into Pashupata Diksha and how he obtained the grace of Lord Shiva. About soliciting boons of Lord Shiva, Lord Krishna says, "Bowing my head with great joy unto that mass of energy and effulgence (meaning Lord Shiva)...". He calls Lord Shiva Brahman, Parameshwar (the Supreme God) and Paramatman (the Supreme Soul).
Syncretic forces produced stories in which the two deities were shown in cooperative relationships and combined forms. Harihara is the name of a combined deity form of both Vishnu (Hari) and Shiva (Hara). This dual form, which is also called Harirudra, is mentioned in the Mahabharata. An example of a collaboration story is one given to explain Shiva's epithet Mahābaleśvara, "lord of great strength" (Maha = "great", Bala = "strength", Īśvara = "lord"). This name refers to a story in which Rāvaṇa was given a linga as a boon by Shiva on the condition that he carry it always. During his travels, he stopped near the present Gokarna, India in Karnataka to purify himself and asked Ganesha, a son of Parvathi in the guise of a young Brahmin, to hold the linga for him, but after some time, Ganesha put it down on the ground and vanished. When Ravana returned, he could not move the linga, and it is said to remain there ever since.
As one story goes, Shiva is enticed by the beauty and charm of Mohini, Vishnu's female avatar, and procreates with her. As a result of this union, Shasta - identified with regional deities Ayyappa and Ayyanar - is born.
Maha Shivratri is a festival celebrated every year on the 13th night or the 14th day of the new moon in the Shukla Paksha of the month of Maagha or Phalguna in the Hindu calendar. This festival is of utmost importance to the devotees of Lord Shiva. Mahashivaratri marks the night when Lord Shiva performed the 'Tandava' and it is also believed that Lord Shiva was married to Parvati. 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 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.
Shiva is mentioned in Buddhist Tantra. Shiva as Upaya and Shakti as Prajna. In cosmologies of buddhist tantra, Shiva is depicted as active, skillful, and more passive.
The Japuji Sahib of the Guru Granth Sahib says, "The Guru is Shiva, the Guru is Vishnu and Brahma; the Guru is Paarvati and Lakhshmi." In the same chapter, it also says, "Shiva speaks, the Siddhas speak."
The cult of Lord Shiva became popular in Central Asia through the Hephthalite (White Hun) Dynasty, and Kushan Empire. Shaivism was also popular in Sogdiana and Eastern Turkestan as found from the wall painting from Penjikent on the river Zervashan. In this depiction, Shiva is portrayed with a sacred halo and a sacred thread ("Yajnopavita"). He is clad in tiger skin while his attendants are wearing Sodgian dress. In Eastern Turkestan in the Taklamakan Desert. There is a depiction of his four-legged seated cross-legged n a cushioned seat supported by two bulls. Another panel form Dandan-Uilip shows Shiva in His Trimurti form with His Shakti kneeling on her right thigh. It is also noted that Zoroastrian wind god Vayu-Vata took on the iconographic appearance of Shiva.
Kirant people worship a form of Shiva as one of their major god. Kirants are Mongol tribe of Nepal. They worship Shiva as the lord of animals. They are the worshiper of nature, so Shiva is a major deity. 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 as Batara Guru. His other name is "Sang Hyang Jagadnata" (king of the universe) and "Sang Hyang Girinata" (king of mountains). 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 Hindu worship is "Maharaja Dewa" (Mahadeva). Both the forms are closely identified with the Sun in local forms of Hinduism or Kebatinan, and even in the genie lore of Muslims.
^Davis writes on page 122: "The Saiva worshipper does not worship the object itself as Siva or as representing Siva; he directs his worship toward it as the physical support for Siva's special presence."
^Hinduism: Beliefs and Practices, by Jeanne Fowler, pgs. 42–43, In traditional Indian society, the linga is rather seen as a symbol of the energy and potentiality of the God.
^This is the source for the version presented in Chidbhavananda, who refers to it being from the Mahabharata but does not explicitly clairify which of the two Mahabharata versions he is using. See Chidbhavananda, p.5.
^For an overview of the Śatarudriya see: Kramrisch, pp. 71-74.
^For complete Sanskrit text, translations, and commentary see: Sivaramamurti (1976).
^For Jejuri as the foremost center of worship see: Mate, p. 162.
^'Khandoba: Ursprung, Geschiche und Umvelt von Pastoralem Gotheiten in Maharashtra, Wiesbaden 1976 (German with English Synopsis) pp. 180-98, "Khandoba is a local deity in Maharashtra and been Sanskritised as an incarnation of Shiva."
^For worship of Khandoba in the form of a lingam and possible identification with Shiva based on that, see: Mate, p. 176.
^For use of the name Khandoba as a name for Karttikeya in Maharashtra, see: Gupta, Preface, and p. 40.
^ abFor a drawing of the seal see Figure 1 in: Flood (1996), p. 29.
^Singh, S.P., Rgvedic Base of the Pasupati Seal of Mohenjo-Daro, Puratattva 19: 19-26. 1989
^Kenoyer, Jonathan Mark. Ancient Cities of the Indus Valley Civilization. Karachi: Oxford University Press, 1998.
^Ranbir Vohra (2000). The Making of India: A Historical Survey. M.E. Sharpe. p. 15.
^Grigoriĭ Maksimovich Bongard-Levin (1985). Ancient Indian Civilization. Arnold-Heinemann. p. 45.
^Steven Rosen, Graham M. Schweig (2006). Essential Hinduism. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 45.
^For translation of Bāṇahasta as "Armed with arrows in his hands", see: Sharma 1996, p. 294.
^For general statement of the close relationship, and example shared epithets, see: Sivaramamurti, p. 11.
^For an overview of the Rudra-Fire complex of ideas, see: Kramrisch, pp. 15-19.
^For quotation "An important factor in the process of Rudra's growth is his identification with Agni in the Vedic literature and this identification contributed much to the transformation of his character as Rudra-Śiva." see: Chakravarti, p. 17.
^For translation from Nirukta 10.7, see: Sarup (1927), p. 155.
^For flaming hair of Agni and Bhairava see: Sivaramamurti, p. 11.
^Doniger, Wendy (1973). "The Vedic Antecedents". Śiva, the erotic ascetic. Oxford University Press US. pp. 84–9.
^For text of RV 2.20.3a as स नो युवेन्द्रो जोहूत्रः सखा शिवो नरामस्तु पाता । and translation as "May that young adorable Indra, ever be the friend, the benefactor, and protector of us, his worshipper" see: Arya & Joshi (2001), p. 48, volume 2.
^For text of RV 6.45.17 as यो गृणतामिदासिथापिरूती शिवः सखा । स त्वं न इन्द्र मृलय ॥ and translation as "Indra, who has ever been the friend of those who praise you, and the insurer of their happiness by your protection, grant us felicity" see: Arya & Joshi (2001), p. 91, volume 3.
^For translation of RV 6.45.17 as "Thou who hast been the singers' Friend, a Friend auspicious with thine aid, As such, O Indra, favour us" see: Griffith 1973, p. 310.
^For text of RV 8.93.3 as स न इन्द्रः सिवः सखाश्चावद् गोमद्यवमत् । उरूधारेव दोहते ॥ and translation as "May Indra, our auspicious friend, milk for us, like a richly-streaming (cow), wealth of horses, kine, and barley" see: Arya & Joshi (2001), p. 48, volume 2.
^For the bull parallel between Indra and Rudra see: Chakravarti, p. 89.
^For iconographic description of the Dakṣiṇāmūrti form, see: Sivaramamurti (1976), p. 47.
^For description of the form as representing teaching functions, see: Kramrisch, p. 472.
^For characterization of Dakṣiṇāmūrti as a mostly south Indian form, see: Chakravarti, p. 62.
^For the deer-throne and the audience of sages as Dakṣiṇāmūrti, see: Chakravarti, p. 155.
^Goldberg specifically rejects the translation by Frederique Marglin (1989) as "half-man, half-woman", and instead adopts the translation by Marglin as "the lord who is half woman" as given in Marglin (1989, 216). Goldberg, p. 1.
^For relatively minor position in Vedic times, and rise in progress by 1000-700 BC see: Zimmer (1946), p. 125, note 2.
^For the rise in popularity of Shiva and Vishnu, and the role of Puranas in promoting sectarian positions, see: Flood (1996), pp. 110-111.
^For Visnu becoming Shiva in Vaishnava myths, see: Zimmer (1946), p. 125.
^For Vishnu Purana dating of 4th century CE and role of Vishnu as supreme deity, see: Flood (1996), p. 111.
^For identification of Shiva as a manifestation of Vishnu see: Bhagavata Purana 4.30.23, 5.17.22-23, 10.14.19.
^For predominant role of Shiva in some myths, see: Zimmer (1946), p. 128.
^For the lingodbhava myth, and Vishnu and Brahmā as emanations of Shiva, see: Zimmer (1946), pp. 128-129.
^For translation of the epithet शिपिविष्ट (IAST: śipiviṣṭa) as "salutation to him of the form of Vishṇu" included in the fifth anuvāka, and comment that this epithet "links Śiva with Vishṇu" see: Sivaramamurti, pp. 21, 64.
^For Śarabha as an "animal symplegma" form of Shiva, see: Kramrisch, p. 481.
^For incarnation in composite form as man, bird, and beast to chastise Narasimha, see: Chakravarti, p. 49.
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