Shiva, meaning "The Auspicious One"), also known as Mahadeva ("Great God"), is a popular Hindu deity. Shiva is regarded as one of the primary forms of God. He is the Supreme God within Shaivism, one of the three most influential denominations in contemporary Hinduism. He is one of the five primary forms of God in the Smarta tradition, and "the Destroyer" or "the Transformer" among the Trimurti, the Hindu Trinity of the primary aspects of the divine.
Shiva has many benevolent and fearsome forms. At the highest level Shiva is limitless, transcendent, unchanging and formless. In benevolent aspects, he is depicted as an omniscient Yogi who lives an ascetic life on Mount Kailash, as well as a householder with wife Parvati and his two children, Ganesha and Kartikeya and in fierce aspects, he is often depicted slaying demons. Shiva is also regarded as the patron god of yoga and arts.
The main iconographical attributes of Shiva are the third eye on his forehead, the snake Vasuki around his neck, the crescent moon adorning, the holy river Ganga flowing from his matted hair, the trishula as his weapon and the damaru as his instrument.
Shiva is usually worshiped in the aniconic form of Lingam. Temples of Lord Shiva are called shivalayam.
ETYMOLOGY & OTHER NAMES
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.
The worship of Shiva is a pan-Hindu tradition, practiced widely across all of India, Nepal and Sri Lanka.
ASSIMILATION OF TRADITIONS
The figure of Shiva as we know him today was built up over time, with the ideas of many regional sects being amalgamated into a single figure. How the persona of Shiva converged as a composite deity is not well documented. According to Vijay Nath:
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 of Isa or Isvara to the name of the local deity, e.g., Bhutesvara, Hatakesvara, Chandesvara."
Axel Michaels the Indologist suggests that Shaivism, like Vaishnavism, implies a unity which cannot be clearly found either in religious practice or in philosophical and esoteric doctrine. Furthermore, practice and doctrine must be kept separate.
An example of assimilation took place in 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.
INDUS VALLEY ORIGINS
Many Indus valley seals show animals but one seal that has attracted attention shows a figure, either horned or wearing a horned headdress and possibly ithyphallic figure seated in a posture reminiscent of the Lotus position and surrounded by animals was named by early excavators of Mohenjo-daro Pashupati (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.
This claim has been criticised, with some academics like Gavin Flood and John Keay characterizing them as unfounded. Writing in 1997 Doris Srinivasan said that "Not too many recent studies continue to call the seal’s figure a ‘Proto-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, popularly known as Shiva and Parvati’s son.
Shiva’s rise to a major position in the pantheon was facilitated by his identification with a host of Vedic deities, including Purusha, Rudra, Agni, Indra, Prajāpati, Vāyu, and others.
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 BCE 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 Wendy Doniger, the Puranic Shiva is a continuation of the Vedic Indra. Doniger gives several reasons for his hypothesis. 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.
The Vedic beliefs and practices of the pre-classical era were closely related to the hypothesised Proto-Indo-European religion, and the Indo-Iranian religion. According to Anthony, the Old Indic religion probably emerged among Indo-European immigrants in the contact zone between the Zeravshan River (present-day Uzbekistan) and (present-day) Iran. It was "a syncretic mixture of old Central Asian and new Indo-European elements", which borrowed "distinctive religious beliefs and practices" from the Bactria–Margiana Culture. At least 383 non-Indo-European words were borrowed from this culture, including the god Indra and the ritual drink Soma. 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 the Rig Veda. He was associated more than any other deity with Soma, a stimulant drug (perhaps derived from Ephedra) probably borrowed from the BMAC religion. His rise to prominence was a peculiar trait of the Old Indic speakers.
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.
Early historical paintings at the Bhimbetka rock shelters, depict Shiva dancing, Shiva’s trident, and his mount Nandi but no other Vedic gods.
The Shiva Puranas, particularly the Shiva Purana and the Linga Purana, discuss the various forms of Shiva and the cosmology associated with him.
The Tantras, composed between the 8th and 11th centuries, regard themselves as Sruti. Among these the Shaiva Agamas, are said to have been revealed by Shiva himself and are foundational texts for Shaiva Siddhanta.
POSITION WITHIN HINDUISM
Shaivism (Sanskrit: शैव पंथ, śaiva paṁtha) (Kannada: ಶೈವ ಪಂಥ) (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 Smarta sampradaya of Hinduism. It is said to have been introduced by Adi Shankara, the 8th century CE Hindu 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.
The Trimurti is a concept in Hinduism 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’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.
Third eye: (Trilochana) Shiva is often depicted with a third eye, with which he burned Desire (Kāma) to ashes, called "Tryambakam" (Sanskrit: त्र्यम्बकम् ), 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, his third eye opens which can destroy most 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.
Ashes: (The epithet "Bhasmaanga Raaga") – Shiva smears his body with ashes (bhasma). The ashes are said to represent 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.
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"). 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.)
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.
Serpents: (The epithet "Nagendra Haara" or ‘Vasoki"). Shiva is often shown garlanded with a snake.
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 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 (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: (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, 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 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 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’. Jyotirlinga means "The Radiant sign of The Almighty". The Jyotirlingas are mentioned in Shiva Purana.
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. She is also referred to 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)
FORMES 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.
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
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.
Some regional deities are also identified as Shiva’s children. 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. Shiva is also mentioned in some scriptures or folktales to have had daughters like the serpent-goddess Manasa and Ashokasundari. Even the demon Andhaka is sometimes considered a child of Shiva.
he 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.
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.
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).
Other traditions regard the sage Durvasa, the sage Agastya, the philosopher Adi Shankara, as avatars of Shiva. Other forms of Shiva include Virabhadra and Sharabha.
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 the day 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 (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.
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."
In Dasam Granth, Guru Gobind Singh have mentioned two avtars of Rudra: Dattatreya Avtar and Parasnath Avtar.
The worship 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, a Mongol tribe from Nepal, worship 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 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. Mostly Shiva is worshipped in the form of a lingam or the phallus.
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