Shiva / शिव
- Shiva is a very important deity of Hindus. His name is Rudra in Vedas. His wife is Parvati and Ganesha and Skand are his two sons. Shiva is a yogi and is worshipped in the form of linga. He is known for his calm and violent forms. Shiva is the lord of creation and destruction of the world. God Shiva, from the Trideva, is the god of destruction. Shiva means prosperity but he controls both the extremes.
- Shiva is the disintegrating or destroying and reproducing deity, who constitutes the third god of the Hindu Trinity, the other two being Brahma, the creator and Vishnu, the preserver. In his merciful aspects he is called Shankar, Bhav, Vishvanath, Mahadev, etc.
- As the god of destruction he is known as Rudra, Bhairav, Virbhadra and Mahakal or Kal. Thus Shiva represents both death, the end of all things, and also new life which arises from destruction.
- The Ling or Phallus is Shiv's symbol that presides over reproduction, which follows destruction. One of his representations is as Ardhnarish, half-female and half-male, symbolizing the unity of the generative principle.
- He has three eyes, one of which is in his forehead. With his three eyes he said to have a view of the three divisions of time, past, present and future. He has a moon's crescent above the central eye, and wears a serpent round his neck, a second necklace of skulls, with other serpents around his person.
- His hair is thickly matted together and gathered above his forehead into a coil. On top of it he bears the river Ganga, the rush of which, in its descent from heaven, he intercepted by his head, so that the earth would not be crushed by the weight of the falling stream.
- His throat is dark-blue from the stain of the deadly poison, which would have destroyed the world had it not been swallowed by him, on its production during the churning of the ocean by the gods for the nectar of immortality.
- He holds a Trishul or three-pronged trident in his hand to denote his combination of three attributes of Creator, Destroyer and Regenerator. He also carries a kind of drum, shaped like an hour-glass. His vehicle is the bull Nandi.
- His attendants or servants are a class of demons or supernatural beings known as Pramaths, and various hosts or troops called Gans. His consort is Parvati. He is fond of dancing and drinking wine. He is also worshipped as a great ascetic.
- He once scorched Kam, the god of love, to ashes by a glance from his third eye, Kam having attempted to inflame him with passion for Parvati whilst he was engaged in severe penance.
- In the exercise of his function as Universal Destroyer he is said to have burnt up the universe and all the gods, including Brahma and Vishnu, by a similar scorching glance, and to have rubbed the resulting ashes upon his body. His residence or heavenly abode is the mountain Kailas.
- Shiva has no incarnations, but Shankar, Bhav, Vishvanath, Mahadev, Rudra, Bhairav, Virbhadra and Mahakal are regarded as forms of him. His consort Parvati has various aspects corresponding to Shiva's different forms.