Brill’s Encyclopedia of Hinduism Online

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(10,047 words)

Possessing nothing and the source of all wealth,

lord of the world and denizen of the abode of the dead,

dreadful in form he’s called “Gentle” Shiva.

No one knows the Bearer of the Pinaka bow as he truly is. (KumSambh. 5.77; trans. Smith, 2005)

Śiva almost by nature defies definition and is, if anything, an ambivalent god of contrasts. Although he is often presented as the third aspect of the Hindu trinity (trimūrti) – with Brahmā assuming th…

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Bisschop, Peter, “Śiva”, in: Brill’s Encyclopedia of Hinduism Online, Editor-in-Chief Associate Editors Knut A. Jacobsen, Helene Basu, Angelika Malinar, Vasudha Narayanan. Consulted online on 21 October 2021 <>
First published online: 2018

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