Shiva is the Supreme Being in Shaivism, one of the major traditions within Hinduism.
70 Facts About Shiva
Shiva is known as "The Destroyer" within the Trimurti, the Hindu trinity which includes Brahma and Vishnu.
Shiva is one of the five equivalent deities in Panchayatana puja of the Smarta tradition of Hinduism.
Shiva is known as Adiyogi, regarded as the patron god of yoga, meditation and the arts.
The iconographical attributes of Shiva are the serpent Vasuki around his neck, the adorning crescent moon, the holy river Ganga flowing from his matted hair, the third eye on his forehead, the trishula or trident as his weapon, and the damaru drum.
Shiva is usually worshipped in the aniconic form of lingam.
Shiva is a pan-Hindu deity, revered widely by Hindus in India, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Indonesia.
The term Shiva connotes "liberation, final emancipation" and "the auspicious one"; this adjectival usage is addressed to many deities in Vedic literature.
Some authors associate the name with the Tamil word meaning "red", noting that Shiva is linked to the Sun and that Rudra is called Babhru in the Rigveda.
The Vishnu sahasranama interprets Shiva to have multiple meanings: "The Pure One", and "the One who is not affected by three Gunas of Prakrti ".
Shiva is known by many names such as Viswanatha, Mahadeva, Mahandeo, Mahasu, Mahesha, Maheshvara, Shankara, Shambhu, Rudra, Hara, Trilochana, Devendra, Neelakanta, Subhankara, Trilokinatha, and Ghrneshwar.
Shiva has Dasha-Sahasranamas that are found in the Mahanyasa.
The Shri Rudram Chamakam, known as the Satarudriya, is a devotional hymn to Shiva hailing him by many names.
The Shiva-related tradition is a major part of Hinduism, found all over the Indian subcontinent, such as India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, and Southeast Asia, such as Bali, Indonesia.
How the persona of Shiva converged as a composite deity is not well documented, a challenge to trace and has attracted much speculation.
Shiva characterizes these views as "speculative", but adds that it is nevertheless possible that there are echoes of Shaiva iconographic themes, such as half-moon shapes resembling the horns of a bull.
Gregory L Possehl in 2002, associated it with the water buffalo, and concluded that while it would be appropriate to recognize the figure as a deity, and its posture as one of ritual discipline, regarding it as a proto-Shiva would "go too far".
Shiva's contrasting aspects such as being terrifying or blissful depending on the situation, are similar to those of the Greek god Dionysus, as are their iconic associations with bull, snakes, anger, bravery, dancing and carefree life.
Similarly, the use of phallic symbol as an icon for Shiva is found for Irish, Nordic, Greek and Roman deities, as was the idea of this aniconic column linking heaven and earth among early Indo-Aryans, states Roger Woodward.
Shiva is usually portrayed in accordance with the element he represents as a fierce, destructive deity.
Nevertheless, both Rudra and Shiva are akin to Wodan, the Germanic God of rage and the wild hunt.
The term Shiva appears simply as an epithet, that means "kind, auspicious", one of the adjectives used to describe many different Vedic deities.
Agni is said to be a bull, and Lord Shiva possesses a bull as his vehicle, Nandi.
In medieval sculpture, both Agni and the form of Shiva known as Bhairava have flaming hair as a special feature.
Shiva was associated more than any other deity with Soma, a stimulant drug probably borrowed from the BMAC religion.
Shiva's rise to prominence was a peculiar trait of the Old Indic speakers.
The texts and artwork of Jainism show Indra as a dancer, although not identical generally resembling the dancing Shiva artwork found in Hinduism, particularly in their respective mudras.
The Svetasvatara Upanishad set the tone for early Shaivite thought, especially in chapter 3 verse 2 where Shiva is equated with Brahman: "Rudra is truly one; for the knowers of Brahman do not admit the existence of a second".
The period of 200 BC to 100 AD marks the beginning of the Shaiva tradition focused on the worship of Shiva as evidenced in other literature of this period.
Shiva who sees himself in all beings, And all beings in him, attains the highest Brahman, not by any other means.
The Shiva-related Tantra literature, composed between the 8th and 11th centuries, are regarded in devotional dualistic Shaivism as Sruti.
In Shiva related sub-traditions, there are ten dualistic Agama texts, eighteen qualified monism-cum-dualism Agama texts and sixty-four monism Agama texts.
Shiva-related literature developed extensively across India in the 1st millennium CE and through the 13th century, particularly in Kashmir and Tamil Shaiva traditions.
The various dualistic and monist Shiva-related ideas were welcomed in medieval southeast Asia, inspiring numerous Shiva-related temples, artwork and texts in Indonesia, Myanmar, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, Thailand and Malaysia, with syncretic integration of local pre-existing theologies.
Shaivas believe that Shiva is All and in all, the creator, preserver, destroyer, revealer and concealer of all that is.
Shiva is not only the creator in Shaivism, but he is the creation that results from him, he is everything and everywhere.
Shiva is the primal Self, the pure consciousness and Absolute Reality in the Shaiva traditions.
The Tantric Shiva tradition ignored the mythologies and Puranas related to Shiva, and depending on the sub-school developed a variety of practices.
The Trika sub-tradition developed a theology of triads involving Shiva, combined it with an ascetic lifestyle focusing on personal Shiva in the pursuit of monistic self-liberation.
The earliest evidence of the tradition of reverence for the feminine with Rudra-Shiva context, is found in the Hindu scripture Rigveda, in a hymn called the Devi Sukta.
Shiva, along with Vishnu, is a revered god in the Devi Mahatmya, a text of Shaktism considered by the tradition to be as important as the Bhagavad Gita.
Shiva is one of the five deities, others being Vishnu, Devi, Surya and Ganesha or Skanda or any personal god of devotee's preference.
Shiva is the Lord of Yogis, and the teacher of Yoga to sages.
The theory and practice of Yoga, in different styles, has been a part of all major traditions of Hinduism, and Shiva has been the patron or spokesperson in numerous Hindu Yoga texts.
Shiva is depicted as both an ascetic yogi and as a householder, roles which have been traditionally mutually exclusive in Hindu society.
Shiva is identified with Devi, the Divine Mother; Shakti as well as goddesses like Tripura Sundari, Durga, Kali, Kamakshi and Minakshi.
The consorts of Shiva are the source of his creative energy.
In some traditions, Shiva has daughters like the serpent-goddess Manasa and Ashokasundari.
The depiction of Shiva as Nataraja is a form of Shiva.
Pancanana, called the pancabrahma, is a form of Shiva depicting him as having five faces which correspond to his five divine activities : creation, preservation, destruction, concealing grace, and revealing grace.
The Linga Purana states, "Shiva is signless, without color, taste, smell, that is beyond word or touch, without quality, motionless and changeless".
Apart from anthropomorphic images of Shiva, he is represented in aniconic form of a lingam.
The oldest known archaeological linga as an icon of Shiva is the Gudimallam lingam from 3rd-century BCE.
In Shaivism pilgrimage tradition, twelve major temples of Shiva are called Jyotirlinga, which means "linga of light", and these are located across India.
The Linga Purana mentions twenty-eight forms of Shiva which are sometimes seen as avatars, however such mention is unusual and the avatars of Shiva is relatively rare in Shaivism compared to the well emphasized concept of Vishnu avatars in Vaishnavism.
Across India, various Shiva temples are illuminated throughout the night.
In Indonesian Shaivism the popular name for Shiva has been Batara Guru, which is derived from Sanskrit Bhattaraka which means "noble lord".
Shiva is conceptualized as a kind spiritual teacher, the first of all Gurus in Indonesian Hindu texts, mirroring the Dakshinamurti aspect of Shiva in the Indian subcontinent.
Shiva has been called Sadasiva, Paramasiva, Mahadeva in benevolent forms, and Kala, Bhairava, Mahakala in his fierce forms.
The worship of Shiva became popular in Central Asia through the influence of the Hephthalite Empire and Kushan Empire.
Shiva is clad in tiger skin while his attendants are wearing Sogdian dress.
Shiva is mentioned in the Buddhist Tantras and worshipped as the fierce deity Mahakala in Vajrayana, Chinese Esoteric, and Tibetan Buddhism.
In Mahayana Buddhism, Shiva is depicted as Maheshvara, a deva living in Akanishta Devaloka.
In Vajrayana Buddhism, Shiva is depicted as Mahakala, a dharma protecting Bodhisattva.
In most forms of Buddhism, the position of Shiva is lesser than that of Mahabrahma or Sakra Indra.
In Mahayana Buddhist texts, Shiva becomes a buddha called Bhasmeshvara Buddha.
In China and Taiwan, Shiva, better known there as Mahesvara is considered one of the Twenty Devas or the Twenty-Four Devas who are a group of dharmapalas that manifest to protect the Buddhist dharma.
Statue of Shiva depicted as a Chinese Buddhist deva on Mount Putuo Guanyin Dharma Realm in Zhejiang, China.
In contemporary culture, Shiva is depicted in art, films, books, tattoos, etc.
Shiva has been referred to as "the god of cool things" and a "bonafide rock hero".