What is Difference Between Shiva and Shankar in Hinduism

Mahadev, the God of Gods, has special importance in Hindu religion. Sir is one of the Trinity. Sir has many names but here we try to understand the difference between Shiva and Shankar. In Hindu mythology and philosophy, Shiva and Shankar are two names that are used interchangeably to refer to the same name of Mahadev, yet there are subtle differences between the two. Understanding these differences sheds light on the multifaceted nature of God and increases our appreciation of Hindu spirituality.


Shiv is someone who is 'formless', having no particular form. He is the only truth of this infinite universe. Shiv is emptiness. We know that we come from emptiness and return to emptiness. Shiv is nothing. Everything comes from Shiv and goes back into Shiv. Shiv is the creator of the Trinity (Brahma, Vishnu, and Mahesh). You must have seen that there are three lines made on the Shiva Linga. This means that Shiva is 'trikal darshi' (who can see and control the three parts of time), 'trinetri' (who has three eyes of knowledge), and 'triloknath' (the lord of three worlds). Shiv is the one who bestows auspiciousness upon humanity. Shiv is beyond contemplation, with no identity and limitless.


Shankar is a part of the trinity of gods from which this world is created. In this context, he is known for a very specific task, which is destruction. He is also known by another name, Mahesh. With a complex character, he can represent goodness, benevolence, and work as a protector. However, he also has a dark side, being the master of evil spirits, ghosts, and demons, as well as thieves, villains, and beggars. He is also associated with time and especially known as the destroyer of everything. Shankar is the one who concludes the cycle of time, initiating a new creation in return. So, that's one aspect of him.

Distinctive features

While Shiva and Shankar are essentially different names for the same divine being, they are often invoked to highlight specific qualities or aspects of the deity. Shiva, as the destroyer, symbolizes the transient nature of existence and the cycles of creation, preservation and dissolution in the universe. He is worshiped by ascetics, yogis and seekers of spiritual liberation who wish to transcend the material world and attain union with the divine.

Shankara, on the other hand, symbolizes the merciful and benevolent qualities of Shiva, emphasizing his role as protector, healer and giver of blessings. Shankar is worshiped by devotees seeking security, prosperity and well-being in their lives. As Shankara, Shiva is often portrayed in a more accessible and human-like form, engaging in acts of compassion and grace towards his devotees.

Unity in Diversity

In Hinduism, the multitude of names and forms attributed to the divine reflect the diverse ways in which the ultimate reality is perceived and worshiped by devotees. While Shiva and Shankar may be called with different names and attributes, they ultimately represent the same transcendent reality beyond all dualities and distinctions. Whether worshiped as the fierce and awe-inspiring destroyer or the benevolent and compassionate giver of blessings, Lord Shiva symbolizes the infinite manifestations of divine grace and love in the universe.

The difference between Shiva and Shankar in Hinduism highlights the multifaceted nature of the divine and the different ways in which devotees understand and relate to the ultimate reality. Whether worshiped as a fierce ascetic meditating in the Himalayas or as a merciful father showering blessings on his children, Shiva, Shankar symbolize the essence of divine wisdom, power and grace that guides and maintains the universe.

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