Shiva is the best yogi, tantric and meditator. For Shaivists, Shiva is the Supreme Deity.

The worship of Shiva in the pan-Hindu tradition is the oldest one. Shiva's abode is the Mount Kailash in Tibet. He has several typical attributes. It is also believed that the Holy Kaaba (in Mekka), the holiest place for Muslims, was originally a Shiva lingam (the black stone). Wherever there is Shiva, there is His emblem - the crescent moon. The article here says that Allah in Sanskrit is a synonym for Mother Divine - Durga.

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Shaivism has also its schools, for example, Shaiva Siddhanta is one of the oldest extensively practiced schools of Sanatana Dharma. It is built upon the twenty-eight Shaiva Agamas - special manuals for sacred worship. A famous guru of this school was Maharishi Nandinatha (about 250 BCE), who is also on records in the Panini's (Sanskrit grammarian) book of grammar. Other Shaiva schools are: Pashupata Shaivism, Siddha Siddhanta, Lingayatism, Shiva Advaita, and Trika (Kasmir Shaivism).

Shiva's name in the Vedas is Rudra and also Sasisekhara [S'as'is'ekhara] (having moon on his forehead).

Attributes of Lord Shiva

1) Rudraksha beads

These beads, as legends say, had originated from Lord Shiva's tears from which Rudraksha trees emerged. Rudraksha beads, the natural products of these trees, are used to form a sacred saivite rosary with 108 beads.

2) Third Eye: Shiva is depicted with the third eye.

3) Serpents: Shiva is often shown garlanded with snakes.

4) Vibhuti: Vibhuti is three lines of ashes drawn horizontally on the forehead (it symbolizes Shiva's essence, our beingness, impurities of ignorance, and immortality of the soul).

5) Trident: (Sanskrit: Trishula) Shiva's weapon is the trident.

6) Ashes: Shiva smears His body with ashes (bhasma).

7) Sacred Ganga: Ganga, the holiest of the holy rivers.

8) 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 damaruhasta is used to hold the drum. This drum is particularly used as an emblem by members of the Kapalika sect.

9) Tiger skin: He is often shown seated upon a tiger skin.

10) A Shiva Linga

11) Nandi, the Bull, is his Vahana (a Sanskrit term for vehicle).

12) The five mantras - Five is a sacred number for Lord Shiva, but also 64 and 1008. Shiva's body is said to consist of the five mantras called the pancabrahmans:

1) Sadyojata, 2) Vamadeva, 3) Aghora, 4) Tatpurusa, 5) Isana

13) The Holy Mountain Kailash in Tibet

Picture on the left: Nandi, the Bull, is Shiva's vehicle.

14) Pancha Kedar - the five places (Pancha Kedar), where devotees worship Lord Shiva as five holy parts of the Lord Shiva's body.

Shiva is the God of paradoxes.

Ribhu Gita

Ribhu Gita, an apparently very ancient text, is an extract from a much longer epic - the Sivarahasya Upa Purana. The Ribhu Gita means the "Ribhu's Song"; it comes from the Shiva Rahasya (Sivarahasya Upa Purana), which is an ancient mystical text. The whole of the Ribhu Gita is said to represent the teaching given to the Sage Ribhu by Lord Shiva Himself. The book has 44 chapters. Ribhu Gita is comparable to the traditional Gita (from Mahabharata) in certain parts and with verses similar to those spoken by Krishna - for example (in Chapter 8, verse 28, Lord Shiva says): "Among Serpents, I am Ananta. Among Military Leaders I am the Supreme Commander of the Hosts of Heaven."

Manifestations of Lord Shiva

Shiva as the Supreme Lord has many manifestations too. Bhairava, sometimes also known as Bhairadya (with many other names), is the fierce form of Lord Shiva. This form is one of the most important deities in some parts of Nepal. Bhairava is invoked in prayers to destroy foes and the name should not be misunderstood with Bhairavi, which is not Lord Shiva, but His consort Durga in Her most terrifying aspect almost indistinguishable from Kali.

There are few stories about the origin of Bhairava. Few of them cover the tale of Sati, the first Shiva's wife. Sati, the daughter of an ancient god - Daksha (in Satya Yuga), had chosen to marry Shiva. Daksha disapproved this because for him Shiva was rather a paradoxical ascetic character associated with animals, ash, snakes, and ghosts. One day, Daksha held a religious sacrifice (yagna) and invited all the gods, but not Sati and Shiva. However, Sati came uninvited to look at the sacrifice rituals and after hearing her father's sharp and ridiculing words in direction of Shiva she threw herself into the ritual pyre. (This is also why the custom "Sati", when widowed women ended their life alive in the funeral pyre with their deceased husbands, preserved later in India.) When Shiva found out what happened, He destroyed the yagna and killed Daksha. Shiva then took the Sati's corpse on His back and ran fiercely all around the world demolishing everything. Lord Vishnu wanted to help Shiva and used His divine discus to cut the Sati's body into pieces in order to stop the Shiva's outrage. The pieces of Sati's body fell all around and the spots her parts fell onto are now known as Shakti Peethas. Shiva is believed to be guarding each of these Shakti Peethas in His fiercest form called Bhairava. Parvati is the incarnation of Sati and She (not Sati) is the Mother of Ganesha and Skanda as the Shiva's second consort.

Bhairava has eight forms: 1) Kala Bhairava, 2) Asitanga Bhairava, 3) Samhara Bhairava, 4) Ruru Bhairava, 5) Krodha Bhairava, 6) Kapala Bhairava, 7) Rudra Bhirava and 8) Unmatta Bhairava.

Bhairava is the important deity of the Newa indigenous people of Nepal.

Lord Shiva has also His month. In Ribhu Gita it is written (Shiva says): "Among Months, I am Margashirsha (November-December)."


In Hinduism, Ardhanari is an androgynous (both male and female) deity composed of Shiva and His consort Shakti, representing the synthesis of masculine and feminine energies. Sometimes called Ardhanarishvara, Shiva in this form is the Lord whose half is female. Some people interpret both forms as "the half male" (Shiva) and "the half female" (Parvati).

The origin of the word "Sloven" is not quite clear. In Tamil, one of the oldest languages in the world (of Dravidian origin), the word "sol" (the term may also be inflected as "solu-", "solv-", etc.) means "to praise", but also "to say", which is surprisingly consistent with the meaning of our Slovak words such as "to celebrate" (slavit) or "to praise". Slovak "slovo" in English is "word". Some ideas presented by Dr. Cyril A. Hromnik, for example, support the hypothesis that the root of the name "Sloven", "Sloveni", "Slovak" (or "Slavian", etc.) comes from two Tamil words - "sol" and "veni". Dr. Hromník supports this viewpoint by few other Tamil words almost identical with Slovak - for example, "tassar" (Tamil), which means the same as Slovak "carpenter" ("tesar" in Slovak; however, there are many other similar words). The second word "veni" in Tamil means dense and entangled hair. The term "Sloveni" may therefore refer to the people who praised someone with big hair. The only God we know of that has big hair is Lord Shiva. The links between the ancient Slavic people and Dravidians must have been very intimate.




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