The triad is constant. There will always be the ultimate natural forces of creation, mitenance and destruction. These three forces are inseperable, and this is why there is a triad of gods: Vishnu, Shiva and Brahma.
Brahma is known as the creator of the universe. He's related to Shiva in two commonly known ways. First of all, for Brahma to do his job of creating the universe, Shiva must first destroy it so that it becomes the cosmic particles that Brahma will work with. Destruction is essential for creation to occur The second way that Brahma relates to Shiva ties into why Brahma is not as popular. Brahma ended up falling in love with his daughter, and tried making love to her. Shiva intervened of course, and punished him by cutting off one of his five heads. Brahma will be forever scared and in awe of Shiva, because of that.
Vishnu is the protector, and he is the most popular god in India today because of his protection of humans. Vishnu is related to Shiva because he preserves what in turn will be destroyed, and was created by Shiva. They are the two most popular gods in India.
Shaivists are those devotees of Shiva that hail him as the Supreme Being. They consider Shiva the most sacred god, and this is the oldest sect of Hinduism.
The Pashputas are the oldest group of Shaivites. The main regions that they reside in are Nepal, Kashmir and Gujarat.
Kashmir Shaivism believes that Shiva is real but much more abstract as a preserver, destroyer and creator. This form of Shaivism is mostly practiced in Kashmir.
In Shaiva Siddhanta, the soul is created by Shiva and it will eventually merge back into him. This sect believes that Shiva is more material. Most followers are located in south east India and Sri Lanka.
People of the sect Siddha Siddhanta believe that Shiva is both transcendent and imminent. Souls break off from him and change to enter the world, and then change back to reenter him. The most influential areas are Nepal, West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar.
In Lingayatism, Shiva and the supreme being are one, but Shiva is also beyond his creation. It is most practiced in Karnataka.
Shiva Advaitas believe that the soul shares all excellent qualities with the supreme being, but it will never perfectly become a part of it. Karnataka is the main region for these people.
The Family of Shiva and Parvati are said to live in the Himalayas. Shiva and Pavarti had two sons, Ganesha and Skanda. Skanda is also reffered to as Kartikeya. Durga is also related to Shiva because she is considered another consort of shiva. Durga is the warrior goddess.
After Shiva's first love died, he was devastated. He isolated himself and stopped performing his duties. The demons, led by Taraka took this opportunity to drive all the good spirits out of the heavens. Brahma knew that the only way to defeat Taraka was with a warrior birthed by Shiva, because he would be the only one strong enough. To help convince Shiva of this, the gods called upon the mother goddess. She promised to make Shiva have a son.
Ganesha is one of the sons of Shiva and Parvati. He is known by many as the the remover of obstacles and he is evoked for every hindu ceremony. The images of Ganesha are special because he has an elephant head. Some legends say that he got this because when Shiva came home from meditating, he didn't know he had a son. Ganesha was guarding the door for his mother because she was bathing. Angered that he couldn't enter his own home, Shiva cut off the boy's head. After realizing it was his son, Shiva went into the mountains and got a head from an elephant that had offered it to him.
Kartikeya is also known as Skanda, and he is the second son of Shiva and Pavarti. Kartikeya is the immortal warrior, and he is often associated with Agni and Indra. He was the son that the gods tried to convince Shiva to have, in order to kill the demon Taraka.
According to the Shivapurnas, the best way to worship Shiva is in his Nirguna form. Worshiping should take place somewhere sacred, like the bank of a scared river, one's home, or a temple for Shiva.
This night is the most important for the devotees of Shiva. It happens annually, and is also known as the wedding anniversary of Pavarti and Shiva. The day before this, all the devotees of Shiva will fast all day and meditate. Women especially will pray hard, either for their families if they're married, or for a husband if they aren't.
These are all different ways of worshiping without giving your life away for committing to the gods.
Lingm worship is direct worship of the Shiva Lingam.
Shiva is the god of destruction, but the reason that he's so popular is because he destroys evil. Destruction is often helpful, because to make room for new things to be created, things must be destroyed. Shiva controls the destruction of the earth at the end of a cycle and when it can be remade. He keeps watch over the souls before Brahma puts them back into a body. He's also known for being the leader of many other things.
Shiva is also known as Nataraja who was the creator of dance, and he was the first one to speak the 16 rythmic sounds. These sounds are the origin of sanskrit, the ancient sacred language of Hinduism.
Dances of Emotions
Dance of Creation
Shiva is known as the god of the wind, and he breathes life into all living things.
There is the symbol of Ganga Ma in Shiva's hair because he was the one who offered his hair to the river when it was crashing down to earth. Because of this, the earth was saved from being destroyed by this massive river. Shiva also represents fertality and so does Mother Ganges, so they go together.
Shiva's eight names represent the 8 elements and conditons that he controls. They are: Rudra, earth; Sharva, water; Bhava, fire; Urga, wind; Bhima, sky; Pashupati, a yogi called Kshetragya; Ishana, sun; Mahadeva, moon.
Saguna is the form of god with characteristics and properties.
Ash Covered Body
Half Open Eyes
Nirguna is the form of god that doesnt have any properties. It is beyond any kind of thing that the human kind can imagine, so people can only know it.