Shiva with Parvati
|Mantra||Om Namah Shivaya
Shiva Tandava Stotram
|Consort||Sati or Parvati in her different forms, Mohini (a form of vishnu)|
|Children||Kartikeya, Ganesha, Ayyappan/sabri, Ashoka sundari|
Shiva (//; Sanskrit: Śiva), meaning "The Auspicious One" is one of the three major deities of Hinduism. He is worshiped as the supreme god within Shaivism, one of the three most influential denominations in contemporary Hinduism. He is one of the five primary forms of God in the Smarta Tradition, and "the Creator, the Preserver, the Transformer, and the Destroyer".
At the highest level, Shiva is regarded as formless, limitless, transcendent, and unchanging as well. Shiva also has many benevolent and fearsome depictions. In benevolent aspects, he is depicted as an omniscient Yogi who lives an ascetic life on Mount Kailash, as well as a householder with wife Parvati and his two children, Ganesha and Kartikeya, and in fierce aspects, he is often depicted slaying demons. Shiva is also regarded as the patron god of yoga, meditation, and arts.
The main iconographical attributes of Shiva are the third eye on his forehead, the snake Vasuki around his neck, the adorning crescent moon, the holy river Ganga flowing from his matted hair, the trishula as his weapon and the damaru as his musical instrument. Shiva is usually worshiped in the aniconic form of Lingam.
- 1 Etymology and other names
- 2 Historical development and literature
- 3 Position within Hinduism
- 4 Attributes
- 5 Forms and depictions
- 6 Festivals
- 7 Beyond Hinduism
- 8 References
- 9 Sources
- 10 External links
Etymology and other names
The Sanskrit word "Shiva" (Devanagari: शिव, śiva) comes from the Shri Rudram Chamakam of the Taittiriya Shakha (TS 4.5, 4.7) of the Krishna Yajurveda. The word means auspicious and it is used as an adjective only in the Rig Veda. In simple English transliteration it is written either as Shiva or Siva. The adjective śiva, is used as an attributive epithet for several Rigvedic deities, including Rudra. Other popular names associated with Shiva are Viswanathan(Lord of the universe), Mahadeva, Mahesha, Maheshvara, Shankara, Shambhu, Rudra, Rishikesha (man of knowledge), Hara, Trilochana, Devendra (chief of the gods), Neelakanta, Subhankara and Trilokinatha (meaning Lord of the three realms).
The Sanskrit word śaiva 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. It is used as an adjective to characterize certain beliefs and practices, such as Shaivism.
Some authors associate the name with the Tamil word śivappu meaning "red", noting that Shiva is linked to the Sun (śivan, "the Red one", in Tamil) and that Rudra is also called Babhru (brown, or red) in the Rigveda.
Adi Shankara, 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 Guṇas of Prakṛti (Sattva, Rajas, and Tamas)" or "the One who purifies everyone by the very utterance of His name." Chinmayananda Saraswati, in his translation of the 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".
Shiva's role as the primary deity of Shaivism is reflected in his epithets Mahādeva ("Great god"; mahā "Great" and deva "god"), Maheśvara ("Great Lord"; mahā "great" and īśvara "lord"), and Parameśvara ("Supreme Lord").
There are at least eight different versions of the Shiva Sahasranama, devotional hymns (stotras) listing many names of Shiva. The version appearing in Book 13 (Anuśāsanaparvan) of the Mahabharata is considered the kernel of this tradition. Shiva also has Dasha-Sahasranamas (10,000 names) that are found in the Mahanyasa. The Shri Rudram Chamakam, also known as the Śatarudriya, is a devotional hymn to Shiva hailing him by many names.
Historical development and literature
Early prehistorical paintings at the Bhimbetka rock shelters, depict Shiva dancing, Shiva's trident, and his mount Nandi but no other Vedic gods. The worship of Shiva is a pan-Hindu tradition, practiced widely across all of India, Nepal and Sri Lanka.
Indus Valley origins
Many Indus valley seals show animals but one seal that has attracted attention shows a figure, either horned or wearing a horned headdress and possibly ithyphallic figure seated in a posture reminiscent of the Lotus position and surrounded by animals was named by early excavators of Mohenjo-daro Pashupati (lord of cattle), an epithet of the later Hindu gods Shiva and Rudra.
Some academics like Gavin Flood and John Keay have expressed doubts about this claim. John Keay writes that "He may indeed be an early manifestation of Lord Shiva as Pashu- pati", but a couple of his specialties of this figure does not match with Rudra. Writing in 1997 Doris Meth Srinivasan rejected Marshall's package of proto-Shiva 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.
Writing in 2002, Gregory L. Possehl concluded that while it would be appropriate to recognize the figure as a deity, its association with the water buffalo, and its posture as one of ritual discipline, regarding it as a proto-Shiva would "go too far."
A seal discovered during excavation of the Mohenjo-daro archaeological site in the Indus Valley has drawn attention as a possible representation of a "proto-Shiva" figure. This "Pashupati" (Lord of Animals, Sanskrit paśupati) seal shows a large central figure that is surrounded by animals. The central figure is often described as a seated figure, possibly ithyphallic, surrounded by animals. 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. Semi-circular shapes on the head are often interpreted as two horns. Gavin Flood characterizes these views as "speculative", saying that while it is not clear from the seal that the figure has three faces, is seated in a yoga posture, or even that the shape is intended to represent a human figure, it is nevertheless possible that there are echoes of Shaiva iconographic themes, such as half-moon shapes resembling the horns of a bull.
Shiva as we know him today shares many features with the Vedic god Rudra, and both Shiva and Rudra are viewed as the same personality in Hindu scriptures. The two names are used synonymously. 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. 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.
The identification of Shiva with the older god Rudhra is not universally accepted, as Axel Michaels explains:
Rudra is called "The Archer" (Sanskrit: Śarva), and the arrow is an essential attribute of Rudra. 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.
The word is derived from the Sanskrit root śarv-, which means "to injure" or "to kill", and Sharma uses that general sense in his interpretive translation of the name Śarva as "One who can kill the forces of darkness". The names Dhanvin ("Bowman") and Bāṇahasta ("Archer", literally "Armed with arrows in his hands") also refer to archery.
Rudra and Agni have a close relationship. 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. The identification of Agni with Rudra is explicitly noted in the Nirukta, an important early text on etymology, which says, "Agni is also called Rudra." The interconnections between the two deities are complex, and according to Stella Kramrisch:
The fire myth of Rudra-Śiva plays on the whole gamut of fire, valuing all its potentialities and phases, from conflagration to illumination.
In the Śatarudrīya, some epithets of Rudra, such as Sasipañjara ("Of golden red hue as of flame") and Tivaṣīmati ("Flaming bright"), suggest a fusing of the two deities. Agni is said to be a bull, and Lord Shiva possesses a bull as his vehicle, Nandi. The horns of Agni, who is sometimes characterized as a bull, are mentioned. In medieval sculpture, both Agni and the form of Shiva known as Bhairava have flaming hair as a special feature.
According to Wendy Doniger, the Puranic Shiva is a continuation of the Vedic Indra. Doniger gives several reasons for her hypothesis. 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 śiva is used to refer to Indra. (2.20.3, 6.45.17, and 8.93.3.) Indra, like Shiva, is likened to a bull. In the Rig Veda, Rudra is the father of the Maruts, but he is never associated with their warlike exploits as is Indra.
The Vedic beliefs and practices of the pre-classical era were closely related to the hypothesised Proto-Indo-European religion, and the Indo-Iranian religion. According to Anthony, the Old Indic religion probably emerged among Indo-European immigrants in the contact zone between the Zeravshan River (present-day Uzbekistan) and (present-day) Iran. It was "a syncretic mixture of old Central Asian and new Indo-European elements", which borrowed "distinctive religious beliefs and practices" from the Bactria–Margiana Culture. At least 383 non-Indo-European words were borrowed from this culture, including the god Indra and the ritual drink Soma. According to Anthony,
Many of the qualities of Indo-Iranian god of might/victory, Verethraghna, were transferred to the adopted god Indra, who became the central deity of the developing Old Indic culture. Indra was the subject of 250 hymns, a quarter of the Rig Veda. He was associated more than any other deity with Soma, a stimulant drug (perhaps derived from Ephedra) probably borrowed from the BMAC religion. His rise to prominence was a peculiar trait of the Old Indic speakers.
Rudra's transformation from an ambiguously characterized deity to a supreme being began in the Shvetashvatara Upanishad (400-200 BC), which founded the tradition of Rudra-Shiva worship. Here they are identified as the creators of the cosmos and liberators of souls from the birth-rebirth cycle. The period of 200 BC to 100 AD also marks the beginning of the Shaiva tradition focused on the worship of Shiva, with references to Shaiva ascetics in Patanjali's Mahābhāṣya and in the Mahabharata.
The Shaiva Puranas, particularly the Shiva Purana and the Linga Purana, discuss the various forms of Shiva and the cosmology associated with him. The Tantras, composed between the 8th and 11th centuries, regard themselves as Sruti. Among these the Shaiva Agamas, are said to have been revealed by Shiva himself and are foundational texts for Shaiva Siddhanta.
Assimilation of traditions
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. How the persona of Shiva converged as a composite deity is not well documented. According to Vijay Nath:
Vishnu and Siva [...] began to absorb countless local cults and deities within their folds. The latter were either taken to represent the multiple facets of the same god or else were supposed to denote different forms and appellations by which the god came to be known and worshipped. [...] Siva became identified with countless local cults by the sheer suffixing of Isa or Isvara to the name of the local deity, e.g., Bhutesvara, Hatakesvara, Chandesvara."
An example of assimilation took place in Maharashtra, where a regional deity named Khandoba is a patron deity of farming and herding castes. The foremost center of worship of Khandoba in Maharashtra is in Jejuri. Khandoba has been assimilated as a form of Shiva himself, in which case he is worshipped in the form of a lingam. Khandoba's varied associations also include an identification with Surya and Karttikeya.
Position within Hinduism
Shaivism is one of the four major sects of Hinduism, the others being Vaishnavism, Shaktism and the Smarta Tradition. Followers of Shaivism, called "Shaivas", 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. The tantric Shaiva tradition consists of the Kapalikas, Kashmir Shaivism and Shaiva Siddhanta. The Shiva Purana is one of the puranas, a genre of Hindu religious texts, dedicated to Shiva. 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. Indologist Axel Michaels suggests that Shaivism, like Vaishnavism, 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.
Panchayatana puja is the system of puja (worship) in the Smarta Tradition. It is said to have been introduced by Adi Shankara, the 8th century Hindu philosopher. It consists of the worship of five deities: Shiva, Vishnu, Devi, Surya and Ganesha. Depending on the tradition followed by Smarta households, one of these deities is kept in the center and the other four surround it. Worship is offered to all the deities. The five are represented by small murtis, or by five kinds of stones, or by five marks drawn on the floor.
The Trimurti is a concept in Hinduism in which the cosmic functions of creation, maintenance, and destruction are personified by the forms of Brahmā the creator, Vishnu the maintainer or preserver and Śhiva the destroyer or transformer. These three deities have been called "the Hindu triad" or the "Great Trinity".
- Third eye: Shiva is often depicted with a third eye, with which he burned Desire (Kāma) to ashes, called "Tryambakam" (Sanskrit: त्र्यम्बकम् ), which occurs in many scriptural sources. 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". However, in Vedic Sanskrit, the word ambā or ambikā means "mother", and this early meaning of the word is the basis for the translation "three mothers". These three mother-goddesses who are collectively called the Ambikās. 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 Ambikā.
- Crescent moon: Shiva bears on his head the crescent moon. The epithet Candraśekhara (Sanskrit: चन्द्रशेखर "Having the moon as his crest" - candra = "moon"; śekhara = "crest, crown") 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. 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.
- Ashes: Shiva smears his body with ashes (bhasma). The ashes are said to represent the end of all material existence. 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. These practices associated with cremation grounds are also mentioned in the Pali canon of Theravada Buddhism. One epithet for Shiva is "inhabitant of the cremation ground" (Sanskrit: śmaśānavāsin, also spelled Shmashanavasin), referring to this connection.
- Matted hair: Shiva's distinctive hair style is noted in the epithets Jaṭin, "the one with matted hair", and Kapardin, "endowed with matted hair" or "wearing his hair wound in a braid in a shell-like (kaparda) fashion". 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.
- Blue throat: The epithet Nīlakaṇtha (Sanskrit नीलकण्ठ; nīla = "blue", kaṇtha = "throat"). Since Shiva drank the Halahala poison churned up from the Samudra Manthan to eliminate its destructive capacity. Shocked by his act, Parvati squeezed his neck and stopped it in his neck to prevent it from spreading all over the universe, supposed to be in Shiva's stomach. However the poison was so potent that it changed the color of his neck to blue.
- Sacred Ganga: The epithet Gangadhara, "Bearer of the river Ganga" (Ganges). The Ganga flows from the matted hair of Shiva. The Gaṅgā (Ganga), one of the major rivers of the country, is said to have made her abode in Shiva's hair.
- Tiger skin: Shiva is often shown seated upon a tiger skin, an honour reserved for the most accomplished of Hindu ascetics, the Brahmarishis.
- Serpents: Shiva is often shown garlanded with a snake.
- Trident (Trishula): Shiva's particular weapon is the trident.
- Drum: A small drum shaped like an hourglass is known as a damaru. This is one of the attributes of Shiva in his famous dancing representation known as Nataraja. A specific hand gesture (mudra) called ḍamaru-hasta (Sanskrit for "ḍamaru-hand") is used to hold the drum. This drum is particularly used as an emblem by members of the Kāpālika sect.
- Axe (Parashu) and Deer are held in Shiva's hands in south Indian icons.
- Nandī: Nandī, also known as "Nandin", is the name of the bull that serves as Shiva's mount (Sanskrit: vāhana). Shiva's association with cattle is reflected in his name Paśupati, or Pashupati (Sanskrit: पशुपति), translated by Sharma as "lord of cattle" and by Kramrisch as "lord of animals", who notes that it is particularly used as an epithet of Rudra.
- Mount Kailāsa: Mount Kailash in the Himalayas is his traditional abode. In Hindu mythology, Mount Kailāsa is conceived as resembling a Linga, representing the center of the universe.
- Gaṇa: The Gaṇas 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. His son Ganesha was chosen as their leader by Shiva, hence Ganesha's title gaṇa-īśa or gaṇa-pati, "lord of the gaṇas".
- Varanasi: Varanasi (Benares) is considered to be 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.
Forms and depictions
According to Gavin Flood, "Shiva is a god of ambiguity and paradox," whose attributes include opposing themes. The ambivalent nature of this deity is apparent in some of his names and the stories told about him.
Destroyer and Benefactor
In Yajurveda, two contrary sets of attributes for both malignant or terrific (Sanskrit: rudra) and benign or auspicious (Sanskrit: śiva) forms can be found, leading Chakravarti to conclude that "all the basic elements which created the complex Rudra-Śiva sect of later ages are to be found here". In the Mahabharata, Shiva is depicted as "the standard of invincibility, might, and terror", as well as a figure of honor, delight, and brilliance.
The duality of Shiva's fearful and auspicious attributes appears in contrasted names. The name Rudra reflects Shiva's fearsome aspects. According to traditional etymologies, the Sanskrit name Rudra is derived from the root rud-, which means "to cry, howl". 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". R. K. Sharma follows this alternate etymology and translates the name as "terrible". Hara 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". Kramrisch translates it as "the ravisher". Another of Shiva's fearsome forms is as Kāla "time" and Mahākāla "great time", which ultimately destroys all things. The name Kāla appears in the Shiva Sahasranama, where it is translated by Ram Karan Sharma as "(the Supreme Lord of) Time." Bhairava "terrible" or "frightful" is a fierce form associated with annihilation.In contrast, the name Śaṇkara, "beneficent" or "conferring happiness" reflects his benign form. This name was adopted by the great Vedanta philosopher Adi Shankara (c. 788-820), who is also known as Shankaracharya. The name Śambhu (Sanskrit: शम्भु swam-on its own; bhu-burn/shine) "self-shining/ shining on its own", also reflects this benign aspect.
Ascetic and Householder
Shiva is depicted as both an ascetic yogi and as a householder, roles which have been traditionally mutually exclusive in Hindu society. When depicted as a yogi, he may be shown sitting and meditating. His epithet Mahāyogi ("the great Yogi: Mahā = "great", Yogi = "one who practices Yoga") refers to his association with yoga. 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.
As a family man and householder, he has a wife, Parvati and two sons, Ganesha and Kartikeya. His epithet Umāpati ("The husband of Umā") refers to this idea, and Sharma notes that two other variants of this name that mean the same thing, Umākānta and Umādhava, also appear in the sahasranama. Umā in epic literature is known by many names, including the benign Pārvatī. She is identified with Devi, the Divine Mother; Shakti (divine energy) as well as goddesses like Tripura Sundari, Durga, Kali, Kamakshi and Minakshi. The consorts of Shiva are the source of his creative energy. They represent the dynamic extension of Shiva onto this universe. 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 South 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.
Some regional deities are also identified as Shiva's children. 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 Ayyappan and Aiyanar - is born. IIn some traditions, Shiva has daughters like the serpent-goddess Manasa and Ashokasundari.
The depiction of Shiva as Nataraja (Sanskrit: naṭarāja, "Lord of Dance") is popular. The names Nartaka ("dancer") and Nityanarta ("eternal dancer") appear in the Shiva Sahasranama. His association with dance and also with music is prominent in the Puranic period. In addition to the specific iconographic form known as Nataraja, various other types of dancing forms (Sanskrit: nṛtyamūrti) are found in all parts of India, with many well-defined varieties in Tamil Nadu in particular. 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, Shiva does it by the Tandava, 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. Lasya is regarded as the female counterpart of Tandava. The Tandava-Lasya dances are associated with the destruction-creation of the world.
Dakshinamurthy (Dakṣiṇāmūrti) literally describes a form (mūrti) of Shiva facing south (dakṣiṇa). This form represents Shiva in his aspect as a teacher of yoga, music, and wisdom and giving exposition on the shastras. This iconographic form for depicting Shiva in Indian art is mostly from Tamil Nadu. Elements of this motif can include Shiva seated upon a deer-throne and surrounded by sages who are receiving his instruction.
An iconographic representation of Shiva called Ardhanarishvara (Ardhanārīśvara) 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".
Shiva is often depicted as an archer in the act of destroying the triple fortresses, Tripura, of the Asuras. Shiva's name Tripurantaka ( Tripurāntaka), "ender of Tripura", refers to this important story.
Apart from anthropomorphic images of Shiva, the worship of Shiva in the form of a lingam, is also important. These are depicted in various forms. One common form is the shape of a vertical rounded column. Shiva means auspiciousness, and lingam means a sign or a symbol, so the Shivalinga is regarded as a "symbol of the great God of the universe who is all-auspiciousness". Shiva also means "one in whom the whole creation sleeps after dissolution". Since, according to Hinduism, it is the same god that creates, sustains and withdraws the universe, the Shivalinga represents symbolically God Himself. Some scholars, such as Monier Monier-Williams and Wendy Doniger, also view linga as a phallic symbol, although this interpretation is disputed by others, including Swami Vivekananda, Sivananda Saraswati, and S. N. Balagangadhara.
The worship of the lingam originated from the famous hymn in the Atharva-Veda Samhitâ 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. 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. Jyotirlinga means "The Radiant sign of The Almighty". The Jyotirlingas are mentioned in the Shiva Purana.
The five mantras
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. 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. The overall meaning of these associations is summarized by Stella Kramrisch:
Through these transcendent categories, Śiva, the ultimate reality, becomes the efficient and material cause of all that exists.
According to the Pañcabrahma Upanishad:
One should know all things of the phenomenal world as of a fivefold character, for the reason that the eternal verity of Śiva is of the character of the fivefold Brahman. (Pañcabrahma Upanishad 31)
Shiva, like some other Hindu deities, is said to have several incarnations, known as Avatars. Although Puranic scriptures contain occasional references to "ansh" avatars of Shiva, the idea is not universally accepted in Saivism. The Linga Purana speaks of twenty-eight forms of Shiva which are sometimes seen as avatars. According to the Svetasvatara Upanishad, he has four avatars.
Maha Shivratri is a festival celebrated every year on the 13th day in the Krishna Paksha of the month of Phalguna in the Hindu calendar. This festival is of utmost importance to the devotees of Shiva. Mahashivaratri marks the night when Shiva performed the Tandava and it is the day that Shiva was married to Parvati. The holiday is often celebrated with special prayers and rituals offered up to Shiva, notably the Abhishek. This ritual, practiced throughout the night, is often performed every three hours with water, milk, yogurt, and honey. Bel (aegle marmelos) leaves are often offered up to the Hindu god, as it is considered necessary for a successful life. The offering of the leaves are considered so important that it is believed that someone who offers them without any intentions will be rewarded greatly.
The Japuji Sahib of the Guru Granth Sahib says, "The Guru is Shiva, the Guru is Vishnu and Brahma; the Guru is Paarvati and Lakhshmi." In the same chapter, it also says, "Shiva speaks, and the Siddhas listen." In Dasam Granth, Guru Gobind Singh has mentioned two avtars of Rudra: Dattatreya Avtar and Parasnath Avtar.
The worship of Shiva became popular in Central Asia through the Hephthalite Empire, and Kushan Empire. Shaivism was also popular in Sogdia and the Kingdom of Yutian as found from the wall painting from Penjikent on the river Zervashan. In this depiction, Shiva is portrayed with a sacred halo and a sacred thread ("Yajnopavita"). He is clad in tiger skin while his attendants are wearing Sogdian dress. A panel from Dandanwulike shows Shiva in His Trimurti form with Shakti kneeling on her right thigh. Another site in the Taklamakan Desert depicts him with four legs, seated cross-legged on a cushioned seat supported by two bulls. It is also noted that Zoroastrian wind god Vayu-Vata took on the iconographic appearance of Shiva.
In Indonesia, Shiva is also worshiped as Batara Guru. In the ancient times, all kingdoms were located on top of mountains. When he was young, before receiving his authority of power, his name was Sang Hyang Manikmaya. He is first of the children who hatched from the eggs laid by Manuk Patiaraja, wife of god Mulajadi na Bolon. This avatar is also worshiped in Malaysia. Shiva's other form in Indonesian Hinduism is "Mahadewa" (Mahadeva).
Daikokuten, one of the Seven Lucky Gods in Japan, is considered to be evolved from Shiva. The god enjoys an exalted position as a household deity in Japan and is worshipped as the god of wealth and fortune. The name is the Japanese equivalent of Mahākāla, the Buddhist name for Shiva.
- For the name Kailāsagirivāsī (Sanskrit कैलासिगिरवासी), "With his abode on Mount Kailāsa", as a name appearing in the Shiva Sahasranama, see: Sharma 1996, p. 281.
- Flood (1996), p. 17.
- Tattwananda, p. 45.
- Zimmer (1972) p. 124.
- See Parmeshvaranand, Volume 3.
- See Kramrisch, The presence of Siva, page 186.
- See Abhayananda, page 95.
- See Davis, pp 113-114.
- Chatterji, Kashmir Shaivism.
- Sharma, Iconography of Sadasiva
- See Shiva Samhita, e.g. translation by Mallinson.
- Yoga and the Hindu Tradition, Varenne, page 82.
- See Marchand for Jnana Yoga.
- Davis writes on page 122: "The Saiva worshipper does not worship the object itself as Siva or as representing Siva; he directs his worship toward it as the physical support for Siva's special presence."
- Hinduism: Beliefs and Practices, by Jeanne Fowler, pgs. 42–43, In traditional Indian society, the linga is rather seen as a symbol of the energy and potentiality of the god.
- See Fuller, The Camphor Flame, pp 58.
- "125 Hindus from India arrive in Pakistan for Maha Shivratri". The Times of India. March 5, 2016.
- Flood 1996, p. 17.
- Keay, p.xxvii.
- For use of the term śiva as an epithet for other Vedic deities, see: Chakravarti, p. 28.
- See translation by Manmatha Nath Dutt, Chapter 17 of Volume 13.
- See translation by Kisari Mohan Ganguli, Chapter 17 of Volume 13.
- See Chidbhavananda, "Siva Sahasranama Stotram".
- Apte, p. 927
- For the definition "Śaivism refers to the traditions which follow the teachings of Śiva (śivaśāna) and which focus on the deity Śiva... " see: Flood (1996), p. 149.
- van Lysebeth, Andre (2002). Tantra: Cult of the Feminine. Weiser Books. p. 213. ISBN 9780877288459.
- Tyagi, Ishvar Chandra (1982). Shaivism in Ancient India: From the Earliest Times to C.A.D. 300. Meenakshi Prakashan. p. 81.
- Sri Vishnu Sahasranama, Ramakrishna Math edition, pg.47 and pg. 122.
- Swami Chinmayananda's translation of Vishnu sahasranama, pg. 24, Central Chinmaya Mission Trust.
- Kramrisch, p. 476.
- For appearance of the name महादेव in the Shiva Sahasranama see: Sharma 1996, p. 297
- Kramrisch, p. 477.
- For appearance of the name in the Shiva Sahasranama see:Sharma 1996, p. 299
- For Parameśhvara as "Supreme Lord" see: Kramrisch, p. 479.
- Sharma 1996, p. viii-ix
- This is the source for the version presented in Chidbhavananda, who refers to it being from the Mahabharata but does not explicitly clairify which of the two Mahabharata versions he is using. See Chidbhavananda, p.5.
- For an overview of the Śatarudriya see: Kramrisch, pp. 71-74.
- For complete Sanskrit text, translations, and commentary see: Sivaramamurti (1976).
- Working with India p.31
- Javid, Ali (January 2008). World Heritage Monuments and Related Edifices in India. Algora Publishing. pp. 20–21. ISBN 978-0-87586-484-6.
- Mathpal, Yashodhar (1 January 1984). Prehistoric Rock Paintings of Bhimbetka, Central India. Abhinav Publications. p. 220. ISBN 978-81-7017-193-5.
- For a drawing of the seal see Figure 1 in: Flood (1996), p. 29.
- Singh, S.P., Rgvedic Base of the Pasupati Seal of Mohenjo-Daro(Approx 2500-3000 BC), Puratattva 19: 19-26. 1989
- Kenoyer, Jonathan Mark. Ancient Cities of the Indus Valley Civilization. Karachi: Oxford University Press, 1998.
- Ranbir Vohra (2000). The Making of India: A Historical Survey. M.E. Sharpe. p. 15.
- Grigoriĭ Maksimovich Bongard-Levin (1985). Ancient Indian Civilization. Arnold-Heinemann. p. 45.
- Steven Rosen; Graham M. Schweig (2006). Essential Hinduism. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 45.
- Flood 1996, pp. 28-29.
- Flood 2003, pp. 204-205.
- John Keay. India: A History. Grove Press. p. 14.
- Srinivasan, Doris Meth (1997). Many Heads, Arms and Eyes: Origin, Meaning and Form in Multiplicity in Indian Art. Brill. ISBN 978-9004107588.
- Possehl, Gregory L. (11 November 2002). The Indus Civilization: A Contemporary Perspective. Rowman Altamira. pp. 140–144. ISBN 978-0-7591-1642-9.
- Flood (1996), pp. 28–29.
- For translation of paśupati as "Lord of Animals" see: Michaels, p. 312.
- For a drawing of the seal see Figure 1 in: Flood (1996), p. 29.
- Flood (2003), pp. 204–205.
- For Shiva being identified with Agni, Indra, Prajāpati, Vāyu, and others see: Chakravarti, p. 70.
- Michaels, p. 316.
- Flood (2003), p. 73.
- For dating based on "cumulative evidence" see: Oberlies, p. 158.
- Doniger, pp. 221-223.
- For Śarva as a name of Shiva see: Apte, p. 910.
- For archer and arrow associations see Kramrisch, Chapter 2, and for the arrow as an "essential attribute" see: Kramrisch, p. 32.
- Sharma 1996, p. 306
- For root śarv- see: Apte, p. 910.
- Chidbhavananda, p. 33.
- For translation of Bāṇahasta as "Armed with arrows in his hands", see: Sharma 1996, p. 294.
- For general statement of the close relationship, and example shared epithets, see: Sivaramamurti, p. 11.
- For an overview of the Rudra-Fire complex of ideas, see: Kramrisch, pp. 15-19.
- For quotation "An important factor in the process of Rudra's growth is his identification with Agni in the Vedic literature and this identification contributed much to the transformation of his character as Rudra-Śiva." see: Chakravarti, p. 17.
- For translation from Nirukta 10.7, see: Sarup (1927), p. 155.
- Kramrisch, p. 18.
- For "Note Agni-Rudra concept fused" in epithets Sasipañjara and Tivaṣīmati see: Sivaramamurti, p. 45.
- "Rig Veda: Rig-Veda, Book 6: HYMN XLVIII. Agni and Others". Sacred-texts.com. Retrieved 2010-06-06.
- For the parallel between the horns of Agni as bull, and Rudra, see: Chakravarti, p. 89.
- RV 8.49; 10.155.
- For flaming hair of Agni and Bhairava see: Sivaramamurti, p. 11.
- Doniger, Wendy (1973). "The Vedic Antecedents". Śiva, the erotic ascetic. Oxford University Press US. pp. 84–9.
- For text of RV 2.20.3a as स नो युवेन्द्रो जोहूत्रः सखा शिवो नरामस्तु पाता । and translation as "May that young adorable Indra, ever be the friend, the benefactor, and protector of us, his worshipper" see: Arya & Joshi (2001), p. 48, volume 2.
- For text of RV 6.45.17 as यो गृणतामिदासिथापिरूती शिवः सखा । स त्वं न इन्द्र मृलय ॥ and translation as "Indra, who has ever been the friend of those who praise you, and the insurer of their happiness by your protection, grant us felicity" see: Arya & Joshi (2001), p. 91, volume 3.
- For translation of RV 6.45.17 as "Thou who hast been the singers' Friend, a Friend auspicious with thine aid, As such, O Indra, favour us" see: Griffith 1973, p. 310.
- For text of RV 8.93.3 as स न इन्द्रः सिवः सखाश्चावद् गोमद्यवमत् । उरूधारेव दोहते ॥ and translation as "May Indra, our auspicious friend, milk for us, like a richly-streaming (cow), wealth of horses, kine, and barley" see: Arya & Joshi (2001), p. 48, volume 2.
- For the bull parallel between Indra and Rudra see: Chakravarti, p. 89.
- RV 7.19.
- For the lack of warlike connections and difference between Indra and Rudra, see: Chakravarti, p. 8.
- B. S. Ahloowalia (2009). Invasion of the Genes Genetic Heritage of India. Strategic Book Publishing. ISBN 978-1-60860-691-7.
- Roger D. Woodard (18 August 2006). Indo-European Sacred Space: Vedic and Roman Cult. University of Illinois Press. pp. 242–. ISBN 978-0-252-09295-4.
- Beckwith 2009, p. 32.
- Anthony 2007, p. 462.
- Anthony 2007, p. 454-455.
- Anthony 2007, p. 454.
- Flood 1996, p. 86.
- Flood 2003, pp. 205-206.
- Flood 2003, pp. 208-212.
- For Shiva as a composite deity whose history is not well documented, see: Keay, p. 147.
- Nath 2001, p. 31.
- Courtright, p. 205.
- For Jejuri as the foremost center of worship see: Mate, p. 162.
- Biroba, Mhaskoba und Khandoba: Ursprung, Geschichte und Umwelt von pastoralen Gottheiten in Maharastra, Wiesbaden 1976 (German with English Synopsis) pp. 180-98, "Khandoba is a local deity in Maharashtra and been Sanskritised as an incarnation of Shiva."
- For worship of Khandoba in the form of a lingam and possible identification with Shiva based on that, see: Mate, p. 176.
- For use of the name Khandoba as a name for Karttikeya in Maharashtra, see: Gupta, Preface, and p. 40.
- Michaels, p. 215.
- Himalaya Academy, Panchayatana puja
- For quotation defining the trimurti see Matchett, Freda. "The Purāṇas", in: Flood (2003), p. 139.
- For the Trimurti system having Brahma as the creator, Vishnu as the maintainer or preserver, and Shiva as the transformer or destroyer see: Zimmer (1972) p. 124.
- For definition of trimurti as "the unified form" of Brahmā, Viṣṇu and Śiva and use of the phrase "the Hindu triad" see: Apte, p. 485.
- For the term "Great Trinity" in relation to the Trimurti see: Jansen, p. 83.
- For Shiva as depicted with a third eye, and mention of the story of the destruction of Kama with it, see: Flood (1996), p. 151.
- For a review of 4 theories about the meaning of tryambaka, see: Chakravarti, pp. 37-39.
- For usage of the word ambaka in classical Sanskrit and connection to the Mahabharata depiction, see: Chakravarti, pp. 38-39.
- For translation of Tryambakam as "having three mother eyes" and as an epithet of Rudra, see: Kramrisch, p. 483.
- For vedic Sanskrit meaning Lord has three mother eyes which symbolize eyes are the Sun, Moon and Fire.
- For discussion of the problems in translation of this name, and the hypothesis regarding the Ambikās see: Hopkins (1968), p. 220.
- For the Ambikā variant, see: Chakravarti, pp. 17, 37.
- For the moon on the forehead see: Chakravarti, p. 109.
- For śekhara as crest or crown, see: Apte, p. 926.
- For Candraśekhara as an iconographic form, see: Sivaramamurti (1976), p. 56.
- For translation "Having the moon as his crest" see: Kramrisch, p. 472.
- For the moon iconography as marking the rise of Rudra-Shiva, see: Chakravarti, p. 58.
- For discussion of the linkages between Soma, Moon, and Rudra, and citation to RV 7.74, see: Chakravarti, pp. 57-58.
- Flood (1996), p. 151.
- Flood (1996), pp. 92, 161.
- Flood (1996), p. 161.
- Chidbhavananda, p. 23.
- Chidbhavananda, p. 22.
- For translation of Kapardin as "Endowed with matted hair" see: Sharma 1996, p. 279.
- Kramrisch, p. 475.
- For Kapardin as a name of Shiva, and description of the kaparda hair style, see, Macdonell, p. 62.
- Sharma 1996, p. 290
- See: name #93 in Chidbhavananda, p. 31.
- For Shiva drinking the poison churned from the world ocean see: Flood (1996), p. 78.
- Kramrisch, p. 473.
- For alternate stories about this feature, and use of the name Gaṅgādhara see: Chakravarti, pp. 59 and 109.
- For description of the Gaṅgādhara form, see: Sivaramamurti (1976), p. 8.
- For Shiva supporting Gaṅgā upon his head, see: Kramrisch, p. 473.
- "Mythology ~ The birth of Brahmarishis". Retrieved 2008-05-07.
- Flood (1996), p. 151
- Michaels, p. 218.
- For definition and shape, see: Apte, p. 461.
- Jansen, p. 44.
- Jansen, p. 25.
- For use by Kāpālikas, see: Apte, p. 461.
- C. Sivaramamurti (1963). South Indian Bronzes. Lalit Kalā Akademi. p. 41.
- For a review of issues related to the evolution of the bull (Nandin) as Shiva's mount, see: Chakravarti, pp. 99-105.
- For spelling of alternate proper names Nandī and Nandin see: Stutley, p. 98.
- Sharma 1996, p. 291
- Kramrisch, p. 479.
- For identification of Mount Kailāsa as the central linga, see: Stutley (1985), p. 62.
- Dictionary of Hindu Lore and Legend (ISBN 0-500-51088-1) by Anna L. Dallapiccola
- Keay, p. 33.
- For quotation "Shiva is a god of ambiguity and paradox" and overview of conflicting attributes see: Flood (1996), p. 150.
- For quotation regarding Yajur Veda as containing contrary sets of attributes, and marking point for emergence of all basic elements of later sect forms, see: Chakravarti, p. 7.
- For summary of Shiva's contrasting depictions in the Mahabharata, see: Sharma 1988, pp. 20–21.
- For rud- meaning "cry, howl" as a traditional etymology see: Kramrisch, p. 5.
- Citation to M. Mayrhofer, Concise Etymological Sanskrit Dictionary, s.v. "rudra", is provided in: Kramrisch, p. 5.
- Sharma 1996, p. 301.
- Sharma 1996, p. 314.
- Kramrisch, p. 474.
- Sharma 1996, p. 280.
- Apte, p. 727, left column.
- Kramrisch, p. 481.
- Flood (1996), p. 92.
- Chakravarti, pp. 28 (note 7), and p. 177.
- For the contrast between ascetic and householder depictions, see: Flood (1996), pp. 150-151.
- For Shiva's representation as a yogi, see: Chakravarti, p. 32.
- For name Mahāyogi and associations with yoga, see, Chakravarti, pp. 23, 32, 150.
- For the ascetic yogin form as reflecting Epic period influences, see: Chakravarti, p. 32.
- For Umāpati, Umākānta and Umādhava as names in the Shiva Sahasranama literature, see: Sharma 1996, p. 278.
- For Umā as the oldest name, and variants including Pārvatī, see: Chakravarti, p. 40.
- For Pārvatī identified as the wife of Shiva, see: Kramrisch, p. 479.
- Search for Meaning By Antonio R. Gualtieri
- For regional name variants of Karttikeya see: Gupta, Preface.
- Doniger, Wendy (1999). Splitting the difference: gender and myth in ancient Greece and India. London: University of Chicago Press. pp. 263–5. ISBN 978-0-226-15641-5.
- Vanita, Ruth; Kidwai, Saleem (2001). Same-sex love in India: readings from literature and history. Palgrave Macmillan. p. 69. ISBN 978-0-312-29324-6.
- Pattanaik, Devdutt (2001). The man who was a woman and other queer tales of Hindu lore. Routledge. p. 71. ISBN 978-1-56023-181-3.
- See Mohini#Relationship with Shiva for details
- McDaniel, June (2004). Offering Flowers, Feeding Skulls: Popular Goddess Worship in West Benegal. Oxford University Press, US. p. 156. ISBN 0-19-516790-2.
- Vettam Mani (1975). Puranic Encyclopaedia: a Comprehensive Dictionary with Special Reference to the Epic and Puranic Literature. Motilal Banarsidass Publishers. pp. 62, 515–6. ISBN 978-0-8426-0822-0.
- For description of the nataraja form see: Jansen, pp. 110-111.
- For interpretation of the naṭarāja form see: Zimmer, pp. 151-157.
- For names Nartaka (Sanskrit नर्तक) and Nityanarta (Sanskrit नित्यनर्त) as names of Shiva, see: Sharma 1996, p. 289.
- For prominence of these associations in puranic times, see: Chakravarti, p. 62.
- For popularity of the nṛtyamūrti and prevalence in South India, see: Chakravarti, p. 63.
- Kramrisch, Stella (1994). "Siva's Dance". The Presence of Siva. Princeton University Press. p. 439.
- Klostermaier, Klaus K. "Shiva the Dancer". Mythologies and Philosophies of Salvation in the Theistic Traditions of India. Wilfrid Laurier Univ. Press. p. 151.
- Massey, Reginald. "India's Kathak Dance". India's Kathak Dance, Past Present, Future. Abhinav Publications. p. 8.
- Moorthy, Vijaya (2001). Romance of the Raga. Abhinav Publications. p. 96.
- Leeming, David Adams (2001). A Dictionary of Asian Mythology. Oxford University Press. p. 45.
- Radha, Sivananda (1992). "Mantra of Muladhara Chakra". Kuṇḍalinī Yoga. Motilal Banarsidass. p. 304.
- when it requires to be destroyed, Lord Śiva does it by the tāṇḍavanṛtya
- For iconographic description of the Dakṣiṇāmūrti form, see: Sivaramamurti (1976), p. 47.
- For description of the form as representing teaching functions, see: Kramrisch, p. 472.
- For characterization of Dakṣiṇāmūrti as a mostly south Indian form, see: Chakravarti, p. 62.
- For the deer-throne and the audience of sages as Dakṣiṇāmūrti, see: Chakravarti, p. 155.
- Goldberg specifically rejects the translation by Frederique Marglin (1989) as "half-man, half-woman", and instead adopts the translation by Marglin as "the lord who is half woman" as given in Marglin (1989, 216). Goldberg, p. 1.
- For evolution of this story from early sources to the epic period, when it was used to enhance Shiva's increasing influence, see: Chakravarti, p.46.
- For the Tripurāntaka form, see: Sivaramamurti (1976), pp. 34, 49.
- Michaels, p. 216.
- Flood (1996), p. 29.
- Tattwanandaz, pp. 49-52.
- Harshananda, Swami. "Sivalinga". Principal Symbols of World Religions. Sri Ramakrishna Math Mylapore. pp. 6–8.
- See Monier William's Sanskrit to english Dictionary
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- Sen, Amiya P. (2006). "Editor's Introduction". The Indispensable Vivekananda. Orient Blackswan. pp. 25–26.
- Sivananda, Swami (1996). "Worship of Siva Linga". Lord Siva and His Worship. The Divine Life Trust Society.
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- Chaturvedi, B. K. (2006), Shiv Purana (First ed.), New Delhi: Diamond Pocket Books (P) Ltd, ISBN 81-7182-721-7
- For five as a sacred number, see: Kramrisch, p. 182.
- It is first encountered in an almost identical form in the Rudram. For the five syllable mantra see: Kramrisch, p. 182.
- For discussion of these five forms and a table summarizing the associations of these five mantras see: Kramrisch, pp. 182-189.
- For distinct iconography, see Kramrisch, p. 185.
- For association with the five faces and other groups of five, see: Kramrisch, p. 182.
- For the epithets pañcamukha and pañcavaktra, both of which mean "five faces", as epithets of Śiva, see: Apte, p. 578, middle column.
- For variation in attributions among texts, see: Kramrisch, p. 187.
- Kramrisch, p. 184.
- Quotation from Pañcabrahma Upanishad 31 is from: Kramrisch, p. 182.
- Parrinder, Edward Geoffrey (1982). Avatar and incarnation. Oxford: Oxford University Press. p. 88. ISBN 0-19-520361-5.
- Winternitz, Moriz; V. Srinivasa Sarma (1981). A History of Indian Literature, Volume 1. Motilal Banarsidass. pp. 543–544. ISBN 978-81-208-0264-3.
- P. 184 Cultural History from the Vāyu Purāna By Devendrakumar Rajaram Patil
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- Sri Ramakrishna Math (1985) "Hanuman Chalisa" p. 5
- "Footnote 70:1 to Horace Hayman Wilson's English translation of The Vishnu Purana: Book I - Chapter IX".
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