Search: in
Shiva in Encyclopedia Encyclopedia
  Tutorials     Encyclopedia     Videos     Books     Software     DVDs  


Shiva (; Sanskrit: , meaning "auspicious one") is supreme hindu deity Hindu deity, and is the destroyer of evil or transformer among the Trimurti, the Hindu Trinity of the primary aspects of the divine. Shiva is a yogi who has notice of everything that happens in the world and is the main aspect of life. Yet one with great power, he lives a life of a sage at Mount Kailash.[1] In the Shaiva tradition of Hinduism, Shiva is seen as the Supreme God and has five important works: creator, preserver, destroyer, concealer, and revealer (to bless). In the Smarta tradition, he is regarded as one of the five primary forms of God.[2] Followers of Hinduism who focus their worship upon Shiva are called Shaivites or Shaivas (Sanskrit ).[3] Shaivism, along with traditions that focus on Vishnu and traditions that focus on the goddess , is one of the most influential denominations in Hinduism.[2]

Shiva is usually worshipped in the abstract form of Shiva linga. In images, he is represented as immersed in deep meditation or dancing the Tandava dance upon Apasmara, the demon of ignorance in his manifestation of Nataraja, the Lord of the dance. He is also the father of the deities Ganesha, Murugan (Kartikeya), and Ayyappan (Dharma Sastha).


Etymology and other names

A statue of Lord Shiva in Nasiksthan Sanga Kavre,Nepal. The Sanskrit word Shiva (Devanagari: , ) is an adjective meaning "auspicious, kind, gracious".[4][5] As a proper name it means "The Auspicious One", used as a name for Rudra.[5] In simple English transliteration it is written either as Shiva or Siva. The adjective , meaning "auspicious", is used as an attributive epithet not particularly of Rudra, but of several other Vedic deities.[6]

The Sanskrit word 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.[7] It is used as an adjective to characterize certain beliefs and practices, such as Shaivism.[8]

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."[9] 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".[10] Shiva is considered as the Hindu God who has no Aadi or Anta i.e. no birth/death.

Shiva's role as the primary deity of Shaivism is reflected in his epithets ("Great God"; = Great + deva = God),[11][12] ("Great Lord"; = Great + = Lord),[13][14] and ("Supreme Lord").[15]

There are at least eight different versions of the Shiva Sahasranama, devotional hymns (stotras) listing many names of Shiva.[16] The version appearing in Book 13 () of the Mahabharata is considered the kernel of this tradition.[17] Shiva also has Dasha-Sahasranamas (10,000 names) that are found in the Mahanyasa. The Shri Rudram Chamakam, also known as the atarudriya, is a devotional hymn to Shiva hailing him by many names.[18][19]

Historical development

The worship of Shiva is a pan-Hindu tradition, practiced widely across all of India, Nepal and Sri Lanka.[20][21] 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.[21] How the persona of Shiva converged as a composite deity is not well documented.[22] Axel Michaels explains the composite nature of Shaivism as follows:

An example of assimilation took place in Maharashtra, where a regional deity named Khandoba is a patron deity of farming and herding castes.[23] The foremost center of worship of Khandoba in Maharashtra is in Jejuri.[24] Khandoba has been assimilated as a form of Shiva himself,[25] in which case he is worshipped in the form of a lingam.[23][26] Khandoba's varied associations also include an identification with Surya [23] and Karttikeya.[27]

The Pashupati seal

Seal discovered at Mohenjodaro shows a seated figure surrounded by animals, possibly Shiva,the PashupatiA seal discovered during the excavation of Mohenjo-daro has drawn attention as a possible representation of a "proto-Shiva" figure.[28] This Pashupati (Lord of animal-like beings)[29] seal shows a seated figure, possibly ithyphallic, surrounded by animals.[30] 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[28][31] and John Keay characterizing them as unfounded.[32]


Three-headed Shiva, Gandhara, 2nd century AD Shiva as we know him today shares many features with the Vedic god Rudra,[33] and both Shiva and Rudra are viewed as the same personality in a number of Hindu traditions. 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.[34] 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.[35] 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 Indra, Mitra and Agni many times.

The identification of Shiva with the older god Rudra is not universally accepted, as Axel Michaels explains:

Rudra is called "The Archer" (Sanskrit: ),[36] and the arrow is an essential attribute of Rudra.[37] 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.[38] The word is derived from the Sanskrit root -, which means "to injure" or "to kill",[39] and Sharma uses that general sense in his interpretive translation of the name as "One who can kill the forces of darkness".[38] The names ("Bowman")[40] and ("Archer", literally "Armed with arrows in his hands")[40][41] also refer to archery.

Identification with Vedic deities

Shiva's rise to a major position in the pantheon was facilitated by his identification with a host of Vedic deities, including Agni, Indra, , , and others.[42]


Rudra and Agni have a close relationship.[43][44] 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.[45] The identification of Agni with Rudra is explicitly noted in the Nirukta, an important early text on etymology, which says, "Agni is called Rudra also."[46] The interconnections between the two deities are complex, and according to Stella Kramrisch:

The fire myth of plays on the whole gamut of fire, valuing all its potentialities and phases, from conflagration to illumination.[47]

In the atarudr a, some epithets of Rudra, such as ("Of golden red hue as of flame") and ("Flaming bright"), suggest a fusing of the two deities.[48] Agni is said to be a bull,[49] and Lord Shiva possesses a bull as his vehicle, Nandi. The horns of Agni, who is sometimes characterized as a bull, are mentioned.[50][51] In medieval sculpture, both Agni and the form of Shiva known as Bhairava have flaming hair as a special feature.[52]


According to a theory, the Puranic Shiva is a continuation of the Vedic Indra.[53] 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 is used to refer to Indra. (2.20.3,[54] 6.45.17,[55][56] and 8.93.3.[57]) Indra, like Shiva, is likened to a bull.[58][59] In the Rig Veda, Rudra is the father of the Maruts, but he is never associated with their warlike exploits as is Indra.[60]


Shaivism (, aiva pa tha) (Tamil: ) 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. 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.


Shiva with Parvati. Shiva is depicted three-eyed, the Ganges flowing through his matted hair (which are yellowish-white or like molten gold), wearing ornaments of serpents and a skull bracelet, and covered in ashes, and Trisula and Damaru are seen in the background.

  • 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. It is believed that Shiva became a god through meditating everyday.
  • Third eye: Shiva is often depicted with a third eye, with which he burned Desire () to ashes,[61] called "Tryambakam" (Sanskrit: ), which occurs in many scriptural sources.[62] 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".[63] However, in Vedic Sanskrit, the word or means "mother", and this early meaning of the word is the basis for the translation "three mothers".[64][65] These three mother-goddesses who are collectively called the .[66] 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 .[67]
  • Crescent moon: Shiva bears on his head the crescent moon.[68] The epithet (Sanskrit: "Having the moon as his crest" - chandra = "moon"; = "crest, crown")[69][70][71] 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.[72] 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.[73] 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: Shiva smears his body with ashes (bhasma).[74] 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.[75] These practices associated with cremation grounds are also mentioned in the Pali canon of Theravada Buddhism.[76] One epithet for Shiva is "inhabitant of the cremation ground" (Sanskrit: , also spelled Shmashanavasin), referring to this connection.[77]
  • Matted hair: Shiva's distinctive hair style is noted in the epithets , "the one with matted hair",[78] and Kapardin, "endowed with matted hair"[79] or "wearing his hair wound in a braid in a shell-like (kaparda) fashion".[80] 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.[81] His hair is said to be like molten gold in color or being yellowish-white.

Shiva bearing the descent of the Ganges River as Parvati and Bhagiratha and the bull Nandi look, folio from a Hindi manuscript by the saint Narayan, circa 1740

A statue of Shiva meditating on the Ganges River, Rishikesh
A statue of Shiva meditating on the Ganges River, Rishikesh

  • Sacred Ganges: The Ganges river flows from the matted hair of Shiva. The epithet ("bearer of the river ") refers to this feature.[86][87] The (Ganges), one of the major rivers of the country, is said to have made her abode in Shiva's hair.[88] The flow of the Ganges also represents the nectar of immortality.
  • Tiger skin: He is often shown seated upon a tiger skin,[74] an honour reserved for the most accomplished of Hindu ascetics, the Brahmarishis.[89] Tiger represents lust. His sitting on the tiger s skin indicates that He has conquered lust.
  • Serpents: Shiva is often shown garlanded with a snake.[90] 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 (tossing) of the mind. Deer jumps from one place to another swiftly. The mind also jumps from one object to another.
  • Trident: (Sanskrit: Trishula): Shiva's particular weapon is the trident.[74] 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: ).[91][92] This is one of the attributes of Shiva in his famous dancing representation[93] known as Nataraja. A specific hand gesture (mudra) called (Sanskrit for "-hand") is used to hold the drum.[94] This drum is particularly used as an emblem by members of the sect.[95]
  • : Nand , also known as Nandin, is the name of the bull that serves as Shiva's mount (Sanskrit: ).[96][97] Shiva's association with cattle is reflected in his name , or Pashupati (Sanskrit: ), translated by Sharma as "lord of cattle"[98] and by Kramrisch as "lord of animals", who notes that it is particularly used as an epithet of Rudra.[99] 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.
  • : The s (Devanagari: ) 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 or , "lord of the ".[100]
  • Varanasi: Varanasi (Benares) is 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.[102]

Forms and depictions

According to Gavin Flood, "Shiva is a god of ambiguity and paradox," whose attributes include opposing themes.[103] The ambivalent nature of this deity is apparent in some of his names and the stories told about him.

Destroyer versus benefactor

Shiva carrying the corpse of his first consort Dakshayani (Sati) In the Yajurveda, two contrary sets of attributes for both malignant or terrific (Sanskrit: ) and benign or auspicious (Sanskrit: ) 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".[104] In the Mahabharata, Shiva is depicted as "the standard of invincibility, might, and terror", as well as a figure of honor, delight, and brilliance.[105] The duality of Shiva's fearful and auspicious attributes appears in contrasted names.

The name Rudra (Sanskrit: ) reflects his fearsome aspects. According to traditional etymologies, the Sanskrit name Rudra is derived from the root rud-, which means "to cry, howl".[106] 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".[107] R. K. Sharma follows this alternate etymology and translates the name as "terrible".[108] Hara (Sanskrit: ) 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".[109] Kramrisch translates it as "the ravisher".[85] Another of Shiva's fearsome forms is as (Sanskrit: ), "time", and as (Sanskrit: ), "great time", which ultimately destroys all things.[110][111][112] Bhairava (Sanskrit: ), "terrible" or "frightful",[113] is a fierce form associated with annihilation.[114]

In contrast, the name (Sanskrit: ), "beneficent"[38] or "conferring happiness"[115] reflects his benign form. This name was adopted by the great Vedanta philosopher (c. 788-820 CE), who is also known as Shankaracharya.[116][117] The name (Sanskrit: ), "causing happiness", also reflects this benign aspect.[118][119]

Ascetic versus householder

Skanda]] (Kartikeya)

He is depicted as both an ascetic yogin and as a householder, roles which have been traditionally mutually exclusive in Hindu society.[120] When depicted as a yogin, he may be shown sitting and meditating.[121] His epithet Mah yogin ("the great Yogi: = "great", Yogin = "one who practices Yoga") refers to his association with yoga.[122] 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.[123]

As a family man and householder, he has a wife, Parvati, and two sons, Ganesha and Kartikey. His epithet ("The husband of ") refers to this idea, and Sharma notes that two other variants of this name that mean the same thing, and , also appear in the sahasranama.[124] in epic literature is known by many names, including the benign .[125][126] 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.[127] 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.[128]


Chola dynasty statue depicting Shiva dancing as Nataraja (Los Angeles County Museum of Art) The depiction of Shiva as Nataraja (, , Sanskrit: , "Lord of Dance") is popular.[129][130] The names Nartaka ("dancer") and Nityanarta ("eternal dancer") appear in the Shiva Sahasranama.[131] His association with dance and also with music is prominent in the Puranic period.[132] In addition to the specific iconographic form known as Nataraja, various other types of dancing forms (Sanskrit: ) are found in all parts of India, with many well-defined varieties in Tamil Nadu in particular.[133] 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 iva does it by the t avan tya.[134][135] 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.[136][137] Lasya is regarded as the female counterpart of Tandava.[137] The Tandava-Lasya dances are associated with the destruction-creation of the world.[138][139][140]


Dakshinamurthy, or (Tamil: , Telugu: , Sanskrit: ),[141] literally describes a form () of Shiva facing south (). This form represents Shiva in his aspect as a teacher of yoga, music, and wisdom and giving exposition on the shastras.[142] This iconographic form for depicting Shiva in Indian art is mostly from Tamil Nadu.[143] Elements of this motif can include Shiva seated upon a deer-throne and surrounded by sages who are receiving his instruction.[144]

Chola bronze from the 11th century. Shiva in the form of Ardhanarisvara.


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. An iconographic representation of Shiva called () 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 () is best translated as "the lord who is half woman", not as "half-man, half-woman".[145] In Hindu philosophy, this is used to visualize the belief that the lord had sacrificed half of his body to his consort goddess Parvati as a sign of this love for her.


Shiva is often depicted as an archer in the act of destroying the triple fortresses, Tripura, of the Asuras.[146] Shiva's name Tripurantaka (Sanskrit: , ), "ender of Tripura", refers to this important story.[147] 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.


A Shiva Lingam worshipped at Jambukesvara temple in Thiruvanaikaval (Thiruaanaikaa) Lingodbhava murti Apart from anthropomorphic images of Shiva, the worship of Shiva in the form of a lingam, or linga, is also important.[148][149][150] 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".[151] Shiva also means "one in whom the whole creation sleeps after dissolution".[151] 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.[151] Some scholars, such as Monier-Williams and Wendy Doniger, also view linga as a phallic symbol,[152][153] although this interpretation is disputed by others, including Christopher Isherwood,[154] Vivekananda,[155] Swami Sivananda,[156] and S.N. Balagangadhara.[157]

The worship of the Shiva-Linga originated from the famous hymn in the Atharva-Veda Samhit 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.[158][159] 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.[159]


Shiva, like some other Hindu deities, is said to have several incarnations, known as Avatars. Although Puranic scriptures contain occasional references to avatars of Shiva, the idea is not universally accepted in Saivism.[160]

  • Virabhadra who was born when Shiva grabbed a lock of his matted hair and dashed it to the ground. Virabhadra then destroyed Daksha's yajna (fire sacrifice) and severed his head as per Shiva's instructions.[161]
  • Bhairava, Bhairava (Sanskrit: , "Terrible" or "Frightful",[1]), sometimes known as Bhairo or Bhairon or Bhairadya or Bheruji (In Rajasthan), is the fierce manifestation of Shiva associated with annihilation.[2] He is one of the most important deities of Rajasthan and Nepal, sacred to Hindus and Buddhists alike.When depicted as Kala Bhairava, Bhairava is shown carrying the decapitated head of Brahma.
  • Veer Teja, He was born on magha shukla 14 samvat 1130 Veer Teja was a great saint. A large number of temples of Veer Teja have been built in Rajasthan.
  • Sharabha, Shaiva scriptures narrate that god Shiva assumed the Avatar (incarnation) 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. In Buddhism, Sharabha appears in Jataka Tales as a previous birth of the Buddha.
  • Adi Shankara, the 8th-century philosopher of non-dualist Vedanta"Advaita Vedanta", was named "Shankara" after Lord Shiva and is considered by some to have been an incarnation of Shiva.[162]
  • In the Hanuman Chalisa, Hanuman is identified as the eleventh avatar of Shiva, but this belief is not universal.[163]

The five mantras

Five is a sacred number for Shiva.[164] One of his most important mantras has five syllables ().[165]

Shiva's body is said to consist of five mantras, called the .[166] As forms of God, each of these have their own names and distinct iconography:[167]

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.[168][169] 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.[170] 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.[171]

According to the Pa cabrahma Upanishad:

One should know all things of the phenomenal world as of a fivefold character, for the reason that the eternal verity of is of the character of the fivefold Brahman. (Pa cabrahma Upanishad 31)[172]

Relationship to Vishnu

Vishnu (left half blue) and Shiva (right half white)

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.[173] By the Puranic period, both deities had major sects that competed with one another for devotees.[174] 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.[175] The Vishnu Purana (4th c. AD) shows Vishnu awakening and becoming both to create the world and Shiva to destroy it.[176] Shiva also is viewed as a manifestation of Vishnu in the Bhagavata Purana.[177] 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).[178] In one Shaivite myth of the origin of the lingam, both Vishnu and are revealed as emanations from Shiva's manifestation as a towering pillar of flame.[179] The atarudr ya, a Shaivite hymn, says that Shiva is "of the form of Vishnu".[180] Differences in viewpoints between the two sects are apparent in the story of (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.[181][182] 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 ruti texts.[183]

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).[184] This dual form, which is also called Harirudra, is mentioned in the Mahabharata.[185] An example of a collaboration story is one given to explain Shiva's epithet , "lord of great strength" (Maha = "great", Bala = "strength", = "lord"). This name refers to a story in which 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 Deoghar in Jharkhand to purify himself and asked Narada, a devotee of Vishnu in the guise of a Brahmin, to hold the linga for him, but after some time, Narada 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.[186]

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.[187][188][189][190]

Maha Shivaratri

Celestial Marriage of Shiva and Parvati in presence of all depicted at Elephanta Caves
Celestial Marriage of Shiva and Parvati in presence of all depicted at Elephanta Caves

Maha Shivratri is a festival celebrated every year on the 13th night or the 14th day of the new moon in the Krishna 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.

On this day the devotees observe fast and offer fruits, flowers and Bael leaves to Shiva Linga.[191] Uma and Maheswar


There are many Shiva temples in the Indian subcontinent, the Jyotirlinga temples being the most prominent.

Jyotirlinga temples

The holiest Shiva temples are the 12 Jyotirlinga temples.

Jyotirlinga Location
Somnath 100px Prabhas Patan, near Veraval, Gujarat
Mahakaleshwar 100px Ujjain, Madhya Pradesh
Omkareshwar 100px near Indore, Madhya Pradesh
Kedarnath 100px Kedarnath, Uttarakhand
Bhimashankar 100px Disputed:
Kashi Vishwanath Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh
Trimbakeshwar 100px Trimbak, near Nasik, Maharashtra
Ramanathaswamy 100px Rameswaram, Tamil Nadu
Grishneshwar 100px near Ellora, Maharashtra
Vaidyanath Disputed:
Nageshwar 100px Disputed:
Mallikarjuna Swamy 100px Srisailam, Andhra Pradesh


Chidambaram Temple in Tamil Nadu is dedicated to Nataraj, dancing form of Siva which was built well before 6th century. In South India, five temples of Shiva are held to be particularly important, as being manifestations of him in the five elemental substances:

Panchaaraama temples

The Pancharama Kshetras (or the Pancharamas) are five ancient Hindu temples of Lord Shiva situated in Andhra Pradesh. The Sivalingas at these temples are made from a single Sivalinga. As per the legend, this Sivalinga was owned by the demon king Tarakasura. No one could win over him due to the power of this Sivalinga. Finally, Lord Kumaraswamy, the son of Lord Shiva broke the Sivalinga into five pieces and killed Tarakasura. The five pieces of Sivalinga fell at five different places on earth namely, Bhimesvara Swamy Temple in Draksharama, one of the Pancharama Kshetras

Arama Name Siva's Name Consort Name Location State
Amararama Amaralingeswara Swamy Bala Chamundika Ammavaru Amaravathi Andhra Pradesh
Draksharama Bhimesvara Swamy Manikyamba Ammavaru Draksharama Andhra Pradesh
Somarama Someswara Swamy Sri Rajarajeswari Ammavaru Bhimavaram Andhra Pradesh
Ksheerarama Ksheera Ramalingeswara Swamy Parvati Ammavaru Palakol Andhra Pradesh
Bhimarama Kumara Bhimeswara Swamy Bala Tripurasundari Ammavaru Samalkota Andhra Pradesh

Sabha temples

The five sabha temples where Shiva is believed to perform five different style of dances are:

Sabha Temple Location State
Pon (Gold) Sabha Natarajar Temple Chidambaram Tamil Nadu
Velli (Silver) Sabha Meenakshi Sundareswarar Temple Madurai Tamil Nadu
Tamira (Copper) Sabha Nellaiappar Temple Tirunelveli Tamil Nadu
Rathna (Gem) Sabha Thiruvalankadu Vadaaranyeswarar Temple Thiruvalangadu
near Arakkonam
Tamil Nadu
Chitira (Picture) Sabha Kutraleeswar Temple Coutrallam Tamil Nadu

Other famous temples in India

Tamil Nadu


Andhra Pradesh
West Bengal
Jammu and Kashmir

Famous temples in other countries

File:Pashupatinath Temple, Kathmandu.jpg|Pashupatinath Temple in Kathmandu, Nepal File:Kailash north.JPG|Mount Kailash in Tibet, believed to be the abode of Lord Shiva File:Gosainkunda Lake.jpg|Gosaikunda Lake is believed to have formed by the Trishul of Lord Shiva after he drank the poison Halahala from Samudra manthan and desperately wanted cold water to quench the overwhelming heat of the poison File:Lord_Shiva.jpg|Kailashnath Mahadev Statue is the tallest lord shiva statue in the world. 143 feet high.

See also



  • Arya, Ravi Prakash & K. L. Joshi. : Sanskrit Text, English Translation. Parimal Publications, Delhi, 2001, ISBN 81-7110-138-7 (Set of four volumes). Parimal Sanskrit Series No. 45; 2003 reprint: 81-7020-070-9.
  • (Third edition). The version provided by Chidbhavananda is from chapter 17 of the Anu sana Parva of the Mah bharata.
  • Originally published in 1915.
  • Reprint: Motilal Banarsidass, 2002, ISBN 81-208-1381-2.
  • This work compares eight versions of the ivasahasran m stotra with comparative analysis and ivasahasran m ko a (A Dictionary of Names). The text of the eight versions is given in Sanskrit.
  • First Indian Edition: Munshiram Manoharlal, 2003, ISBN 81-215-1087-2.
  • First revised edition.
  • First Princeton-Bollingen printing, 1972.

External links

af:Sjiwa als:Shiva ar: an: iva bn: be: be-x-old: bh: bg: bo: bs: iva br: iva ca:Xiva (hinduisme) cs: iva cy:Shiva da:Shiva de:Shiva et: iva el: es:Shiv eo: ivao eu:Shiva fa: fr:Shiva gl:Shiva gu: ko: hi: hr: iva io:Shiva id:Siwa is:S va it:Shiva he: jv:Siwah kn: ka: sw:Shiva la:Sivus lv: iva lt: iva hu:Siva ml: mr: ms:Dewa Siva my: nl:Shiva new: ( ) ja: no:Shiva nn:Sjiva oc:Shiva or: uz:Shiva pnb: km: nds:Schiwa pl: iwa pt:Shiva ro:Shiva rue: ru: sah: sco:Shiva simple:Shiva sk: iva sl: iva sr: sh: iva fi:Shiva sv:Shiva tl:Siva ta: te: th: tr: iva uk: ur: vi:Shiva fiu-vro: iva war:Shiva zh-yue: zh:

Source: Wikipedia | The above article is available under the GNU FDL. | Edit this article

Search for Shiva in Tutorials
Search for Shiva in Encyclopedia
Search for Shiva in Videos
Search for Shiva in Books
Search for Shiva in Software
Search for Shiva in DVDs
Search for Shiva in Store


Shiva in Encyclopedia
Shiva top Shiva

Home - Add TutorGig to Your Site - Disclaimer

©2011-2013 All Rights Reserved. Privacy Statement