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Shiva meaning "The Auspicious One"), also known as Parameshwara (the Supreme God),[1] Mahadeva, Mahesh ("Great God")

or Bholenath ("Simple Lord"), is a popular Hindu deity and considered as the Supreme God within Shaivism, one of the three most influential denominations in Hinduism.[2][3] Shiva is regarded as one of the primary forms of God, such as one of the five primary forms of God in the Smarta tradition,[2] and "the Destroyer" or "the Transformer"[4] among the Trimurti, the Hindu Trinity of the primary aspects of the divine. Shiva is also regarded as the patron god of yoga and arts.[5][6][7] Shiva is usually worshiped in the aniconic form of Lingam.[8][9][10] Shiva of the highest level is limitless, transcendent, unchanging and formless.[11][12][13][14][15] However, Shiva also has many benevolent and fearsome forms.[16] In benevolent aspects, he is depicted as an omniscient Yogi who lives an ascetic life on Mount Kailash,[4] 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.


1 Etymology and other names 2 Historical development and literature o 2.1 The Pashupati seal o 2.2 In the Vedas 2.2.1 Rudra 2.2.2 Agni 2.2.3 Indra o 2.3 Later Vedic literature o 2.4 Puranic literature o 2.5 Tantric literature 3 Position within Hinduism o 3.1 Shaivism o 3.2 Panchayatana puja o 3.3 Trimurti 4 Iconography and properties o 4.1 Attributes o 4.2 Lingam 4.2.1 Jyotir Linga o 4.3 Shakti o 4.4 The five mantras 5 Forms and roles o 5.1 Destroyer and Benefactor o 5.2 Ascetic and Householder o 5.3 Nataraja o 5.4 Dakshinamurthy

5.5 Ardhanarishvara 5.6 Kalantaka 5.7 Tripurantaka 5.8 Other forms, avatars, identifications 6 Relationship with Vishnu 7 Festivals o 7.1 Maha Shivaratri 8 Beyond Hinduism o 8.1 Buddhism o 8.2 Sikhism o 8.3 Others 9 See also 10 References 11 Sources 12 External links

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Etymology and other names

Shiva absorbed in meditation, as depicted commonly in Hinduism

The Sanskrit word Shiva (Devanagari: , iva) comes from Shri Rudram Chamakam of Taittiriya Samhita (TS 4.5, 4.7) of Krishna Yajurveda. The root word i[17] means auspicious. In simple English transliteration it is written either as Shiva or Siva. The adjective iva, is used as an attributive epithet not particularly of Rudra, but of several other Vedic deities.[18] 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).[19][20][21] The Sanskrit word aiva 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.[22] It is used as an adjective to characterize certain beliefs and practices, such as Shaivism.[23] He is the oldest worshipped Lord of India. The Tamil word Sivan, Tamil: ("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.[24][25] 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."[26] 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".[27]

Shiva's role as the primary deity of Shaivism is reflected in his epithets Mahdeva ("Great God"; mah "Great" and deva "god"),[28][29] Mahevara ("Great Lord"; mah "great" and vara "lord"),[30][31] and Paramevara ("Supreme Lord").[32] There are at least eight different versions of the Shiva Sahasranama, devotional hymns (stotras) listing many names of Shiva.[33] The version appearing in Book 13 (Anusanaparvan) of the Mahabharata is considered the kernel of this tradition.[34] 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.[35][36]

Historical development and literature

The worship of Shiva is a pan-Hindu tradition, practiced widely across all of India, Nepal and Sri Lanka.[37][38] 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.[38] How the persona of Shiva converged as a composite deity is not well documented.[39] Axel Michaels the Indologist suggests Shaivism like Vaiavism, 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.[40] An example of assimilation took place in Maharashtra, where a regional deity named Khandoba is a patron deity of farming and herding castes.[41] The foremost center of worship of Khandoba in Maharashtra is in Jejuri.[42] Khandoba has been assimilated as a form of Shiva himself,[43] in which case he is worshipped in the form of a lingam.[41][44] Khandoba's varied associations also include an identification with Surya[41] and Karttikeya.[45]
The Pashupati seal Further information: Pashupati seal 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[46][47][48] 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.[46][49][50][51]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[52][53] and John Keay characterizing them as unfounded.[54] 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.[55] 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.[56] According to Rita P. Wright: 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.[57] There are no religious buildings or evidence of elaborate burials. If there were temples, they have not been identified.[58] However, House - 1 in HR-A area in Mohenjadaro's Lower Town has been identified as a possible temple.[59]