The Image of Shiva was found in the ruins of the Indus River civilization. The parallel of worship of Shiva is the worship of shakti or the power of the active forces of the universe. The source of the power known as shakti is thought of as Shiva. The power of Shiva is something that flows out of his consort Durga or Kali as Radha is the source of Krishnas potencies. The prakrtis or potencies are of Krishna who is the sarva-drk, the overseer and also the upadrasta the great advisor. Shiva is adored among the devas. It is said that Shiva can take on the form of Brahma or Vishnu. Also of his forms are tortoise, fish or conchs. The coral of the ocean floor is also an outcropping of Shiva.
The focus on Vishnu was an offshoot of Shiva. Vishnu is often noticed as Krishna or Rama. The devotees of Krishna or Rama are in fact working for Vishnu. Vishnu can lift one up out of the sea of the world.
Brahma is known as the source that sprang from the waters of the cosmic ocean. In the principle of creation Vishnu is the element of preservation where Shiva is that of destruction. The great waters or the source of Brahma are the highest of all. It is for certain that Shiva is also a god of preservation as well. Krishna as the Buddha is also one of the creations of Vishnu in the Hindu outlook on the devas. Ganesa often traveling with Shiva is the master who removes great obstacles.
The devotees of Shiva are often the most opulent in material aspects. The devotees of Vishnu sometimes are said to sometimes lack material gain. Shiva who dwells at the base of a tree in the mountains makes those who fall at his feet rich where as the devotees of Vishnu or Krishna the devas who reside in an infinite abode tend to be poor. One who has the main focus of Vishnu-tattva has the greatest spiritual gain. How is it that one who serves Shiva has fewer to gain in spirit if there is a contrast to the concept? A devotee of Shiva must must be granted spiritual energies as high up as someone who is a devotee of Vishnu. In order to get to the higher planets one must go through Vishnu. The planets of Krishnaloka are the highest level of the spiritual plain. The devotees of Vishnu are looking to attain niaskarma when ones actions are free of material effect. Durga or Kali represent all material energies. Shiva is the master of the material plain. Brahma or Shiva are known to ask their devotees to adhere or hold to certain qualities.
Shiva is the absolute bearing the mark of the crescent moon with his consort Durga or Kali the sacred mother of the earth, he is the thief of the soul, the one who brings meaning, and the light that shines forever.