Shiva is the destroyer of the world, following Brahma the creator and Vishnu the preserver, after which Brahma again creates the world and so on. Shiva is responsible for change both in the form of death and destruction and in the positive sense of the shedding of old habits. In Satyam, Shivam, Sundaram or Truth, Goodness and Beauty, Shiva also represents the most essential goodness.
Shiva is the god of the yogis, self-controlled and celibate, while at the same time a lover of his spouse (shakti). Shiva’s first wife was Sati and his second wife was Parvati, also known as Uma, Gauri, Durga, Kali and Shakti. His sons are Ganesha and Kartikeya. Shiva lives on Mount Kailasa in the Himalayas.
Shiva’s main attributes are the trident that represents the three gunas and the snakes that show he is beyond the power of death and poison and also stand for the Kundalini energy. The vehicle of Shiva is the white bull called Nandi (the joyful). He is often seated on a tiger skin or wears a tiger skin, with the tiger representing the mind.
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