in Hindu mythology, is the third member of the Hindu trinity, the terrible destroyer. According to the doctrine of the Sivaites, he is, next to Brahm, the highest god, to whom Brahma and Vishnu are subordinate; but the worshippers of Vishnu and Brahma rank Siva lower than either of these deities. He is commonly represented as riding on the ox Nundi (the symbol of wisdom), and holding his beautiful consort Parvati on his lap. Painters and sculptors have sought to introduce into his countenance every imaginable repulsive element, and he is regarded as cruel and bloodthirsty, so as to require the most terrible sacrifices; but he is nevertheless filled with tenderest love towards his wife, and has established her in one half of his own body, to the end that she need never be separated from him. He is, accordingly, the god who presides over the generation of all living beings. To renounce the joys of love is to act contrary to his will; for he himself passed a hundred celestial years in the arms of the fascinating Uma, an earlier form of Parvati. He consequently awakens all, life, as he destroys it — a contradiction whose solution must be found in the fact that the natural and religious teachings of the Hinduis do not recognize any real annihilation, but simply a transformation, change, the passing from one condition into another. Siva appears as an immeasurable pillar of fire whose dimensions Vishnu and Brahma cannot estimate, and as Mahadeva (the great god); and also in a large number of additional avatars, in all of which he promotes the welfare of the world by means of destruction. The worship paid him is accordingly both cruel and lascivious. The frequent devedashies celebrated in the pagodas of India are chiefly in his honor.