Jitendra and friends singing the Holy names of Lord Shiva on Maui Hawaii ....Śiva About this name meaning "The Auspicious One"), also known as Parameshwara (the Supreme God), Mahadeva, Mahesh ("Great God") or Bholenath ("Simple Lord"), is a popular Hindu deity and considered as the Supreme God within Shaivism, one of the three most influential denominations in Hinduism.
Shiva is regarded as one of the primary forms of God, such as one of the five primary forms of God in the Smarta tradition, and "the Destroyer" or "the Transformer" among the Trimurti, the Hindu Trinity of the primary aspects of the divine. Shiva is also regarded as the patron god of yoga and arts. Shiva is usually worshiped in the an iconic form of Lingam.Shiva of the highest level is limitless, transcendent, unchanging and formless. However, Shiva also has many benevolent and fearsome forms In benevolent aspects, he is depicted as an omniscient Yogi who lives an ascetic life on Mount Kailash, as well as a householder with wife Parvati and two sons, Ganesha and Kartikeya or as the Cosmic Dancer. In fierce aspects, he is often depicted slaying demons. The most recognizable iconographical attributes of the god are a third eye on his forehead, a snake around his neck, the crescent moon adorning and the river Ganga flowing from his matted hair, the trishula as his weapon and the damaru as his instrument. Shiva as we know him today shares features with the Vedic god Rudra. Historians have also suggested that worship of Shiva existed in pre-Vedic times. The Sanskrit word śaiva means "relating to the god Shiva", and this term is the Sanskrit name both for one of the principal sects of Hinduism and for a member of that sect It is used as an adjective to characterize certain beliefs and practices, such as Shaivism Shiva's role as the primary deity of Shaivism is reflected in his epithets Mahādeva ("Great God"; mahā "Great" and deva "god"), Maheśvara ("Great Lord"; mahā "great" and īśvara "lord"), and Parameśvara ("Supreme Lord").
There are at least eight different versions of the Shiva Sahasranama, devotional hymns (stotras) listing many names of Shiva. The version appearing in Book 13 (Anuśāsanaparvan) of the Mahabharata is considered the kernel of this tradition. Shiva also has Dasha-Sahasranamas (10,000 names) that are found in the Mahanyasa. The Shri Rudram Chamakam, also known as the Śatarudriya, is a devotional hymn to Shiva hailing him by many names.
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