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Classical Hindu ThoughtAn Introduction$
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Arvind Sharma

Print publication date: 2001

Print ISBN-13: 9780195658712

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195658712.001.0001

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(p.87) Chapter IX Śiva
Classical Hindu Thought

Arvind Sharma

Oxford University Press

This chapter focuses on Śiva, the third God of the Hindu trinity, responsible for destruction. In order to understand his role properly, we must shed the negative emotional reaction associated with the word destruction. There is nothing perverse in the process of destruction associated with Śiva. First of all, the process is a natural one. At its appointed time, the universe must dissolve into its subtle form, from which it will manifest again. Not only does destruction possess a natural aspect, it may also possess a beneficial one. Thus, not only can evil be destroyed, but illness, misfortune, even radical metaphysical ignorance, and the cycle of births and rebirths to which it leads, can be destroyed. Thus, Śiva is far from being just a horrific god; he is a salvific god too.

Keywords:   Hindu trinity, Śiva, salvific god, destruction, dissolution, re-manifestation, universe

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