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martes, mayo 20, 2008


Shiva is one of the six primary forms of the Divine in Smartism, a denomination of Hinduism that puts particular emphasis on six deities, the other five being Vishnu, Shakti, Ganesha, Kartikkeya and Surya. Another way of thinking about the divinities in Hinduism identifies Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva as each representing one of the three primary aspects of the divine in Hinduism, known collectively as the Trimurti. In the Trimurti system, Brahma is the creator, Vishnu is the maintainer or preserver, and Shiva is the destroyer or transformer.

Shiva is usually worshipped as the Shiva linga. In images, he is generally represented as immersed in deep meditation or dancing the Tandava upon the demon of ignorance in his manifestation of Nataraja, the lord of the dance.

Shiva Gangeses, Rishikesh, originalmente cargada por o_zhdanov.

In Hinduism, deities are called by many names, which describe them in different ways. These names often refer to specific stories about the deities, functions they perform, or ways of thinking about them. Study of these names is helpful to understanding deities from multiple points of view. Some names are used by more than one deity, so looking for names that uniquely describe a deity is one way to pinpoint their functions.

In South India, five temples of Shiva are held to be particularly important, as being manifestations of him in the five elemental substances:
  1. Tiruvannamalai, as fire
  2. Chidambaram, as ether
  3. Srikalahasti, as air
  4. Tiruvanaikal, as water
  5. Conjeeveram, as earth

Lord Shiva also has DashaSahasranamas (10,000 names) that are found in the Mahanyasa.

  • Third Eye: Shiva is often depicted with a third eye with which he burned Desire (Kāma) to ashes. There has been controversy regarding the original meaning of Shiva's name 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 "Having Three Mothers" that was used by Max Müller and Arthur Macdonell. Since no story is known in which Shiva had three mothers, E. Washburn Hopkins suggested that the name refers not to three mothers, but to three Mother-goddesses who are collectively called the Ambikās. Other related translations have been "having three wives or sisters", or 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.
  • Blue Throat: The epithet Nīlakaṇtha (Sanskrit नीलकण्ठ; nīla = blue, kaṇtha = throat) refers to a story in which Shiva drank the poison churned up from the world ocean. (see: Halāhala)
  • Crescent Moon: Shiva bears on his head the crescent of the moon. The epithet Chandraśekhara (Sanskrit: चन्द्रशेखर "Having the moon as his crest" - chandra = 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 emplored, and in later literature Soma and Rudra came to be identified with one another, as were Soma and the Moon.
  • 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.
  • Sacred Ganga: The Ganga river flows from the matted hair of Shiva. The epithet Gaṅgādhara ("Bearer of the river Gaṅgā") refers to this feature. The Ganga (Ganges), one of the major rivers of the country, is said to have made her abode in Shiva's hair. The legend of Bhagiratha states that when the sage of that name invoked the gods to send the divine Ganges to earth to relieve a drought and purify the remains of his ancestors, he was warned that the earth had not the capacity to withstand the descent of the Ganges from heaven, in pursuit of which he propitiated Siva to receive the Ganges upon her descent from heaven and release her with diminished force. Siva agreed to trap the youthful and mischievous Ganges in his matted locks and release her to the earth. It was thus, according to Hindu legend, that the Ganges came to be trapped in Siva's locks, and to be portrayed as flowing therefrom, in all representations of Siva.[citation needed]
  • Ashes: Shiva smears his body with ashes (bhasma). 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.
  • Serpents: Shiva is often shown garlanded with a snake.
  • Drum: A small drum shaped like an hourglass is known as a damaru (Sanskrit: ḍamaru). 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.
  • Nandī, also known as Nandin, is the name of the bull that serves as Shiva's mount (Sanskrit: vāhana).[105][106] 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.
  • Gaṇa : In Hinduism, the Gaṇas (Devanagari: गण) are attendants of Shiva and live in Kailasa. They are often referred to as the Boothaganas, 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. Ganesha was chosen as their leader by Shiva, hence Ganesha's title gaṇa-īśa or gaṇa-pati, "lord of the gaṇas".
  • Mount Kailāsa in the Himalayas is his traditional abode.[110] In Hindu mythology, Mount Kailāsa is conceived as resembling a Linga, representing the center of the universe.
  • Varanasi (Benares) is considered as 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.


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