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The Vedic literature refers to a minor atmospheric deity, with fearsome powers called Rudra.The Rigveda, for example, has 3 out of 1,028 hymns dedicated to Rudra, and he finds occasional mention in other hymns of the same text.Shiva is also known as Adiyogi Shiva, regarded as the patron god of yoga, meditation and arts.The iconographical attributes of Shiva are the serpent around his neck, the adorning crescent moon, the holy river Ganga flowing from his matted hair, the third eye on his forehead, the trishula as his weapon and the damaru.The Vedic texts do not mention bull or any animal as the transport vehicle (vahana) of Rudra or other deities.However, post-Vedic texts such as the Mahabharata and the Puranas state the Nandi bull, the Indian zebu, in particular, as the vehicle of Rudra and of Shiva, thereby unmistakably linking them as same. Both are associated with mountains, rivers, male fertility, fierceness, fearlessness, warfare, transgression of established mores, the Aum sound, the Supreme Self.
In his fierce aspects, he is often depicted slaying demons.He characterizes these views as "speculative", but adds that it is nevertheless possible that there are echoes of Shaiva iconographic themes, such as half-moon shapes resembling the horns of a bull.Asko Parpola states that other archaeological finds such as the early Elamite seals dated to 3000-2750 BCE show similar figures and these have been interpreted as "seated bull" and not a yogi, and the bovine interpretation is likely more accurate. Possehl in 2002, associated it with the water buffalo, and concluded that while it would be appropriate to recognize the figure as a deity, and its posture as one of ritual discipline, regarding it as a proto-Shiva would "go too far".Dualistic Shaiva Agamas which consider soul within each living being and Shiva as two separate realities (dualism, dvaita), are the foundational texts for Shaiva Siddhanta.
The monist Shiva literature posit absolute oneness, that is Shiva is within every man and woman, Shiva is within every living being, Shiva is present everywhere in the world including all non-living being, and there is no spiritual difference between life, matter, man and Shiva.
The latter were either taken to represent the multiple facets of the same god or else were supposed to denote different forms and appellations by which the god came to be known and worshipped.