Shiva is one of the great Gods of the Hindu tradition. The name Shiva means the “Auspicious One,” although Shiva deliberately embraces and transcends what is considered inauspicious as well. He is also called Mahadeva, the “Great Lord,” or Vishvanatha, the “Lord of the Universe.” Shiva is seen as both creator and destroyer, the one who pours forth the universe from himself and draws it within, once again, at the end of time. As a Divine dancer, Shiva is Nataraja, the “Lord of the Dance,” whose energy and balance of his dance are a perfect emblem of Shiva’s relentless activity. Shiva is also imaged as both male and female, sometimes in an anthropomorphic image: the right half of the body male and the left half female. In abstract form as well, the simple stone shaft called the linga is sometimes seen as a male/female symbol of cosmic wholeness.