Shiva is arguably the only really cool god. He sits around in a loincloth, gets stoned and meditates for thousands of years with cobras around his neck. He’s inclined to do the dance of destruction once in a while and just check out his taste in women – Durga and in particular, Kali, are not goddesses most would want to wake up to.
To his followers Shiva is sometimes seen as everything in one – Creator, Preserver, Destroyer and tooth fairy all in one. His traditional role as the Destructor is not seen as something negative. It’s more seen as the process of change and passing away so that new things may come.
Shiva is the god of yogis as such a steadfast ascetic and celibate. Although with pure Indian logic he’s also a passionate lover and the snakes around his neck represent his kundalini sexual energy. He’s often worshipped through the lingum, a huge clay phallus that will be drenched in milk mixed with bhang, resin from marijuana leaves.