Lord Shiva is known by various names which refer to His various characteristics. He is Bholenath and also Mahadev. He is Neelkanth as well as Someshwara. Often referred to as the destroyer amongst the holy trinity, Trimurti, He is not only a destroyer. Through destruction alone can there be a new creation. Destruction essentially paves way for a new beginning. He destroys fear, greed and all malice to cleanse the soul and give a fresh start.
He is worshipped by all, be it humans, animals or demons. One of His most famous followers was Ravana, who worshipped Him ardently. Lord Shiva bestows His blessings upon whoever worships Him selflessly. He is easily pleased.
Lord Shiva is representative of vairagya, a state of detachment from all material things. It can be seen in His life. He lived on Mount Kailasha, ate raw fruits and vegetables, and did not wear any special attire. Loved by all His followers, when enraged He can be fearsome. His third eye is dreaded by all.
Shiva is completed by Shakti. Lord Shiva represents consciousness while Shakti embodies energy and power. When the two come together, they form the universe. Lord Shiva holds a trident which represents Ishwara, Purusha and Prakriti. Ishwara is the Almighty, Purusha means consciousness while Prakriti is Mother Nature. Shiva and Shakti are inseparable and often worshipped together as Ardhnarishwara. Shiva is the masculine side and Shakti embodies the feminine aspect.
The Hindu calendar month of Shravan or Sawan is devoted to the worship of Lord Shiva. Worshipping Him during this month gives auspicious results.