Shiva (pronounced; Sanskrit: शिव, Śiva; meaning “Auspicious one”), is a major Hindu deity, and one aspect of Trimurti. In the Shaiva tradition of Hinduism, Shiva is seen as the Supreme God. In the Smarta tradition, he is regarded as one of the five primary forms of God.
Followers of Hinduism who focus their worship upon Shiva are called Shaivites or Shaivas (Sanskrit Śaiva). Shaivism, along with Vaiṣṇava traditions that focus on Vishnu and Śākta traditions that focus on the goddess Devi are three of the most influential denominations in Hinduism.
Shiva is usually worshipped in the abstract form of Shiva linga. In images, he is generally represented as immersed in deep meditation or dancing the Tandava upon Maya, the demon of ignorance in his manifestation of Nataraja, the lord of the dance.
In major Hindu denominations, Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva represent the three primary aspects of the divine, and are collectively known as the Trimurti. In this school of religious thought, Brahma is the Creator, Vishnu is the Maintainer or preserver, and Shiva is the Destroyer or Transformer.
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