śiva शिव

Definition: m. "The Auspicious one", Name of the disintegrating or destroying and reproducing deity (who constitutes the third god of the Hindu trimūrti- or Triad, the other two being brahmā-"the creator"and viṣṇu-"the preserver";in the veda- the only Name of the destroying deity was rudra-"the terrible god", but in later times it became usual to give that god the euphemistic N. śiva-"the auspicious"[just as the Furies were called "the gracious ones"], and to assign him the office of creation and reproduction as well as dissolution;in fact the preferential worship of śiva- as developed in the purāṇa-s and Epic poems led to his being identified with the Supreme Being by his exclusive worshippers [called śaiva-s];in his character of destroyer he is sometimes called kāla-"black", and is then also identified with"Time", although his active destroying function is then oftener assigned to his wife under her name kālī-, whose formidable character makes her a general object of propitiation by sacrifices;as presiding over reproduction consequent on destruction śiva-'s symbol is the liṅga- [ q.v ] or Phallus, under which form he is worshipped all over India at the present day;again one of his representations is as ardha-nārī-,"half-female", the other half being male to symbolize the unity of the generative principle[ ];he has three eyes, one of which is in his forehead, and which are thought to denote his view of the three divisions of time, past, present, and future, while a moon's crescent, above the central eye, marks the measure of time by months, a serpent round his neck the measure by years, and a second necklace of skulls with other serpents about his person, the perpetual revolution of ages, and the successive extinction and generation of the races of mankind: his hair is thickly matted together, and gathered above his forehead into a coil;on the top of it he bears the Ganges, the rush of which in its descent from heaven he intercepted by his head that the earth might 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 at the churning of the ocean by the gods for the nectar of immortality;he holds a tri-śūla-,or three-pronged trident [also called pināka-] in his hand to denote, as some think, his combination of the three attributes of Creator, Destroyer, and Regenerator;he also carries a kind of drum, shaped like an hour-glass, called ḍamaru-: his attendants or servants are called pramatha- [ q.v ];they are regarded as demons or supernatural beings of different kinds, and form various hosts or troops called gaṇa-s;his wife durgā- [otherwise called kālī-, pārvatī-, umā-, gaurī-, bhavāṇī- etc.] is the chief object of worship with the śākta-s and tāntrika-s, and in this connection he is fond of dancing [see tāṇḍava-]and wine-drinking;he is also worshipped as a great ascetic and is said to have scorched the god of love (kāma-deva-) to ashes by a glance from his central eye, that deity having attempted to inflame him with passion for pārvatī- whilst he was engaged in severe penance;in the exercise of his function of Universal Destroyer he is fabled to have burnt up the Universe and all the gods, including brahmā- and viṣṇu-, by a similar scorching glance, and to have rubbed the resulting ashes upon his body, whence the use of ashes in his worship, while the use of the rudrākṣa- berries originated, it is said, from the legend that śiva-, on his way to destroy the three cities, called tri-pura-, let fall some tears of rage which became converted into these beads: his residence or heaven is kailāsa-, one of the loftiest northern peaks of the himālaya-;he has strictly no incarnations like those of viṣṇu-, though vīra-bhadra- and the eight bhairava-s and khaṇḍobā- etc.[ ] are sometimes regarded as forms of him;he is especially worshipped at Benares and has even more names than viṣṇu-, one thousand and eight being specified in the 69th chapter of the śiva-purāṇa- and in the 17th chapter of the anuśāsana-parvan- of the mahā-bhārata-, some of the most common being mahā-deva-, śambhu-, śaṃkara-, īśa-, īśvara-, maheśvara-, hara-;his sons are gaṇeśa- and kārttikeya-) etc.