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Shiva is the
third god in the Hindu trinity. This triumvirate consists of three
gods who are responsible for the creation, upkeep and destruction of
the world. The other two gods are Brahma and Vishnu.
Brahma is the creator of the universe while Vishnu is the preserver of it. Shiva's role is to destroy the universe in order to re-create it.
Thus 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.
He has many forms, including Panchavaktra (with 5 heads, a combination of all Shiva energies), Aghora (who resides in the creamation grounds), Ishana (who most often appears as the shiva lingam), Tat Purusha (meditating), Varna Deva (the eternal Shiva) and Saddyojat or Braddha Rudra (the old wrathful form), which also forms his connection to the Rudraksha mala.
Another well-known manifestation of Shiva is Nataraja, the lord of the dance. Yet another form is Hanuman, the ultimate karma yogi, while the Mahamrityunyaya form of Shiva is the great conqueror of death.
Lord Shiva has authority over death, rebirth and immortality. He is also the father of Ganesha and Murugan.
It is Shiva's relationship with his wife, Parvati which brings him balance. Hindus believe Shiva and Parvati live in the Kailash mountains in the Himalayas.