Essays About Shaivism

History, Philosophy, Beliefs and Practices of Shaivism,

Who is Lord Shiva?

Siva or Shiva is one the gods of Hindu Trinity. He is worshipped by millions of Hindus all over the world. He is known as the destroyer of the worlds in His aspect of Rudra. He personifies anger, passion as well as compassion. He subdues all our passions and transforms the human body so as to make it divine. The human body devoid of Siva is Sava or a dead body.

Parvathi is His consort while Ganga, His second consort adorns his head. Parvathi is his better half. Parvathi literally means parva+thi, the one who occupies the one half. Ganga is the divine consciousness he bears and then allows it to flow into human or earth consciousness. The bull Nandi is his vehicle. It symbolizes ignorance, passion and animality.

Lord Vinayaka and Kumaraswamy are his two children, who are gods of great powers in their own right. Lord Siva symbolizes innocence, purity, charity, spiritual wisdom, inner harmony and greater good.

If He is worshipped sincerely he is bound to response and free us from the bondage or Pasa. He transforms the Pasu (animal qualities) in us. And He is the Lord of All (Pasu Pathi).

Names of Shiva

The Sanskrit word Shiva means auspicious, pure, kind and gracious. In English it is written both as Siva and Shiva. Ancient Hindu scholars such as Shankaracharya i interpreted the name variously as the "Pure One", or "One who is not affected by the Gunas of Prakrti (Sattva, Rajas, and Tamas)" or "One who purifies everyone when His name is uttered." According to swami Chinmayananda, Shiva means "One who is eternally pure" or "One who can never have any contamination of the imperfection of Rajas and Tamas".[11] .The name Shiva, in one interpretation, is speculated to have derived from the Dravidian or Tamil word Siva, meaning "to be red." As the principal deity of Shaivism Shiva is known by such epithets as Mahādeva ("Great God"- mahā = Great + deva = God),  Maheśhvara ("Great Lord" - mahā = Great + īśhvara = Lord), and Parameśhvara ("Supreme Lord"). His followers worship Him by uttering his 108 or 1008 names. There are at least eight different lists of the Shiva Sahasranama, devotional hymns (stotras) listing his many names. The list taken from the Book 13 (Anuśāsanaparvan) of the Mahabharata is considered to be the standard version. List of Shiva's 10000 names ( dasa-dahasranama) is the Mahanyasa.  Satarudriyam, popularly known as liturgy to Shiva (Shri Rudram Chamakam), is also used to extol the greatness of Shiva during his ritual worhsip.


Source: Some information in this article is based on the article on Shiva from and