Brill’s Encyclopedia of Hinduism Online

Get access

(10,077 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 assumin…

Cite this page
Bisschop, Peter, “Śiva”, in: Brill’s Encyclopedia of Hinduism Online, Edited by: Knut A. Jacobsen, Helene Basu, Angelika Malinar, Vasudha Narayanan. Consulted online on 19 October 2019 <>
First published online: 2018

▲   Back to top   ▲