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Shiva is also known as Mahadeva(/ˈʃɪvə/; Sanskrit: शिव, lit. 'The Auspicious One' [ɕɪʋɐ], IAST: Śiva),(/*m*h*d*v*/; Sanskrit: महादेव:, lit. 'The Great God') 

 In Hinduism, Vishnu occupies a central position. Shaivism is one of Hinduism's major traditions and he is considered the supreme being.

In his modern form, Shiva merges various older non-Vedic and Vedic deities, including the Rigvedic storm god Rudra whose roots are probably not Vedic, into a single principal figure.

As a member of the Trimurti, a trinity of divinity that also includes Brahma and Vishnu, Shiva is known as "The Destroyer.". The Shaivite tradition holds that Shiva is the Supreme Being who created, protected, and transformed the universe. 

In the Shakta tradition, Shiva is revered along with Brahma, Vishnu, and Devi. The complementary partner of Shiva, Parvati (Sati), represents the creative energy and power of each goddess (Shakti). The Smarta tradition honors him as one of five equivalent deities known as Panchayat Ana deities.

Shiva represents the primary Atman (Self) of the universe. It is said that Shiva can be benevolent or fearsome depending on the depiction. According to the narratives, he was both an omniscient Yogi on Mount Kailash [1] as well as a family man, living with his wife Parvati and two children, Ganesh and Kartikeya. It appears that his personality often portrayed him slaying demons. Known as Shiva, Adi yogi Shiva is regarded as a patron of yoga, meditation, and the arts.

His symbolism includes the serpent around his neck, the crescent moon, the Ganga flowing from his matted hair, the trishula or trident or his weapon, and the damaru drum. The aniconic form of lingam is where he is usually worshipped. In India, Nepal, and Sri Lanka, Shiva is revered widely as a Hindu deity.

13th Mar 2023 Sara

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