Shiva is the god of the yogis, self-controlled and celibate, while at the same time a lover of his spouse (shakti). Lord 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 destroying the ego, the false identification with the form. This also includes the shedding of old habits and attachments.
The worship of Shiva is a pan-Hindu tradition, practiced widely across all of India, Nepal and Sri Lanka.Some historians believe that the figure of Shiva as we know him today was built up over time, with the ideas of many regional sects being amalgamated into a single figure.As to the evolution of the concept of Shiva, writes Sailen Debnath, "The evolution of the concept of Shiva is the most fascinating one and Shiva’s place is unique among the Hindu pantheon. It is only Shiva again whose origin can be traced in the pre-Aryan period and whose worship pervaded to all nooks and corners of India, North and South equally. Shiva thus had non-Aryan origin and Aryan manifestations in different forms including that of the Vedic Rudra (the power of destruction) though the original meaning has not yet been lost. Most probably the authors of the Indus Valley Civilization had the credit of developing the concept of Shiva as the source of all things in their known universe.
All that has a beginning by necessity must have an end. In destruction, truly nothing is destroyed but the illusion of individuality. Thus the power of destruction associated with Lord Shiva has great purifying power, both on a more personal level when problems make us see reality more clearly, as on a more universal level. Destruction opens the path for a new creation of the universe, a new opportunity for the beauty and drama of universal illusion to unfold. As Satyam, Shivam, Sundaram or Truth, Goodness and Beauty, Shiva represents the most essential goodness.
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