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Shiva

Skt., siva

Shiva Temple, Pashupatinath, Kathmandu

The Indian god representing the male principle, the opposite pole and partner/lover of Shakti. As such, he is part of the trimurti; in which he represents the force of destruction.

Often symbolized and worshipped in the form of a lingam, Shiva is Indiaís foremost deity connected with phallic worship. Shiva is known under many names - for example, Mahadeva, Nandi, or Nataraj - and has many functions and attributes, differing from school to school and sect to sect.

Although generally worshipped all over India and in neighboring countries, this deity is especially venerated among the (non-Islamic) population of Kashmir and in the Southern provinces Kerala and Tamil Nadu.

Shiva and Shakti (often as Parvati) are featured in many sacred texts as a conversing couple, one answering the otherís questions and thus instructing their devotees.

The religious movement centered around Shiva is known as Shaiva; and his foremost symbol - apart from the lingam - is the trident.

See also Yonilinga