Peter Bisschop

in Hinduism

ISBN: 9780195399318
Published online January 2011 | | DOI:


Shiva is one of the great gods of Hinduism and perhaps more than any other attests to the complexity of the religious culture of South Asia. The name Shiva is not yet in use in the Rig Veda, but an ambiguous deity called Rudra appears, who shares many traits with the god who is later more commonly referred to as Shiva, “The Auspicious One.” In fact, Shiva is known and referred to by many different names, each reflecting different sides of his character, such as Śaṃkara, Śambhu, Bhava, and Paśupati. In classical Hindu mythology, Rudra is represented as one of the three aspects of the Hindu trinity (Trimurti): Brahma the creator, Vishnu the preserver, and Rudra the destroyer. This indicates that Rudra’s ambiguous character remained, but from a Saiva religious perspective, Shiva is the Great Lord (Maheśvara) who encompasses this trinity and simultaneously transcends it. This article focuses on the historical development of the early deity Rudra into the later great god Shiva.

Article.  10518 words. 

Subjects: Hinduism

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