SIVA, in Hindu mythology, a god who forms the supreme trinity with Brahma and Vishnu. As Brahma is the creator and Vishnu the preserver, so Siva is the destroyer. His name does not occur in the Vedas, but in later Hinduism he is an important divinity. Though Siva's personal appearance is. fully described in the Puranas, it is in the form of the linga (phallic emblem) that he is almost universally worshipped. Death being a transition to a new form of life, the destroyer is really a re-creator, and thus Siva is styled the Bright or Happy One. He is exclusively a post-Vedic god, though he has been identified by the Hindus with the Rudra of the Vedas, and numerous features of Siva's character and history are developed from those of Rudra. See further BRAHMANISM and HINDUISM.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)